Blog #3 – Ice Cream Goals
Thursday, 20 January 2011

This morning was another early one…of course, of all events, the senior dance practice had to be first this morning! So I was the first person in the media room at the rink this morning and then shot three small groups of senior dance from the boards. It’s strange that none of the groups have five teams, but I guess that 11 is a difficult number to group for a dance roster. With Tessa & Scott’s withdrawal, though, they are down to 10 teams, so I wonder if they will regroup the skaters into two flights. I’ll try to research this.

I also arrived at the rink before they turned the lights completely on. The first two teams, Audrey Dupont & Marcus Connolly and Anne-Chloé Bissonnette & Dylan Lockey, practiced with only half the lights on. I think they had enough light to see, but my camera had to work extra hard to find the skaters against the dim, blue ice! The lights went on for group two, though, and I got some great shots from the boards. All the senior teams look polished and ready to compete. I’m starting to get really excited for tomorrow, especially after the junior short dance last night.

Let’s talk about the juniors, shall we? Just…wow! I was so impressed with how well everyone skated. Quite a few teams skated better than I’d ever seen them skate before. I was just so proud of everyone. A few teams didn’t have their absolute best skates, technically-speaking, but everyone performed well. I know the free dance tonight is going to be fantastic.

Unfortunately, it’s a little rainy today—the one day where I have the most time to go for a walk. I’m not going to let that stop me, though, mostly because I don’t eat unless I venture outside, and I’ve already made a date at the ice cream soda shoppe. Since I know how important it is to set goals in skating, I’m setting goals for each day I’m here at Canadians. Yesterday, my goal was to eat dinner: accomplished at 10pm! Today, my goal is to sit down and enjoy a strawberry ice cream soda with friends, so I’m off!


Blog #2 – Novice Dancers Rock!
Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Well, I wrote a blog last night, but I never got it posted because there isn’t any wireless internet rinkside, which is where I spent the very end of a very long day. And now it’s all old news, so I’ll just start fresh. After five competitive events, I decided that, since I’d already been at the rink for 15 hours, why not go for 17? So I stayed and shot junior dance practice. I think some of the dancers were as tired as I was, but overall, it was a nice way to cap off the first day at Canadians.

Now it’s day two already, and the first champions have already been crowned! Congrats to Madeline Edwards & Zhao Kai Pang, who topped off a fantastic season with their third national title in as many years. Unfortunately, the novice free dance saw quite a few uncharacteristic tumbles, but the teams that struggled all popped back up and got right back into their programs. And afterwards, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and taking the whole experience in stride.

Novice dance tends to be one of the highlights for me, and this year was no exception. Novice free dances are always so full of joy and expression—the teams are getting a sense of who they are, and it’s always so easy to tell how much they love to be on the ice. I’ve been so privileged this year to follow most of these teams throughout their seasons and it’s been wonderful to see the journey in progress. So thanks, novice dancers, for a delightful morning of free dances. I enjoyed every single one.

I ended up being busier than I expected in these first couple of days, so I apologize for the delays in getting content posted. Don’t worry—I have a ton of photos and they’ll go up eventually, along with reports from all the dance events. For now, it’s back to the press box to get a bit of work done before novice pairs. The novice men just finished—congrats to Mitchell Gordon, the new Canadian champion who gave a delightfully charming performance in his free skate.

-Mel


Blog #1 – Hello from Victoria
Monday, 17 January 2011 

Blog #1

Hello from Victoria!

Lovely sunshine and no-coat weather greeted me when the ferry docked in Swartz Bay today. Of course, then I spent the best part of the day inside the rink. By the time I left, it was dark and raining.

I don’t have time to write much tonight because I want to get some novice practice photos sorted before I head to bed. I made it to Victoria in time to watch the novice dancers practice their compulsories. I think that most of the teams wore their Paso costumes, so it was so funny to see the Westminster done in fierce bullfighter gear! Overall, the practices went well tonight. I didn’t see too many signs of nerves, and I hope that tomorrow morning will be a great competition for them!

Not much else to report from practice. In true Mel tradition, I ran into many dead ends and locked doors trying to find the media room today. No one could tell me exactly where it was, so I’m going to have to get to the rink early tomorrow morning to sort that out. And getting to the rink early might be a bit of a challenge, considering that I also failed to get a shuttle schedule. I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those “make it work” mornings. Good thing I have lots of practice in this area. I just have to trust my training and attack — kind of like the Paso, right?

~ Mel