This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
A man must love a thing very much if he not only
practices it without any hope of fame and money,
but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.
(apparently written by G. K. Chesterton)
(from Judy Tyrer)
Let's look at the process of learning to skate. First of all, if
skating were easy, it wouldn't take 10+ years to learn the sport. So
get over the notion that you will get results, any kind of results,
quickly. You absolutely must fall in love with the process of skating.
And the process of skating involves a lot of self examination. You
will learn to face your fears. You will learn perseverance like you've
never experienced it. And you will have the greatest highs in the
world when after months and months and months of working at something
without any indication of improvement you have an "AHA!" moment and
suddenly find yourself gracefully and seemingly effortlessly doing
that which only a month ago seemed impossible.
Skating involves complete control over every single muscle in your
body. Learn to focus NOT on getting the trick, but one gaining a
greater sense of awareness of your body and increased control of it.
The ice rink is the skater's laboratory. It is where we go to
experiment. What happens if I turn my head this way? What happens if I
lean a little more that way? What happens if I drop my shoulder
another 1/2 inch? If you go to each skating session with the goal of
learning more about how your body affects your skating, you will never
leave frustrated. You may learn 1001 and things that do not help you
with this trick. But you will have learned some interesting things.
Have fun and keep working at it. Because if you work at it long enough
and have patience, the skating gods will visit you with a lovely
"Aha!" and all the pain and suffering will instantly be forgotten.
(adapted from "What I get from skating", by Janet Swan-Hill)
Peace --- the intense feeling of inner stillness that comes from fully
concentrating all of the body and mind on something
Excitement --- the rush of excitement before, during, and after
performance. Also the excitement of FINALLY having something go right
after you've been working at it a long time
Solitude --- the privacy of concentration, especially during patch or
while working on dance footwork, but also on any other aspect of
Companionship & camaraderie ---
- the special connection you have to other adults working to succeed
at something purely for the pleasure of it
- the special comradeship of watching each other's progress, sweating
out test results, etc. with other skaters .... no matter what their
age, gender, or level
- the "teamness" of working on a precision team, the process and
results of working hard as a group, compromising, analyzing, helping
each other, figuring things out, sharing the success and the blame
among you, "pulling off" a move that seemed impossible just four weeks
- encountering and getting to know a group of people I would never
otherwise have encountered
Exercise --- Of all the types of exercise I have ever done, only this
and skiing didn't feel like exercise.
Body awareness --- becoming aware of where the bits and pieces are and
what happens when you move them (and how to keep from moving them if
you don't want to)
Sanity --- I can't really think about anything but skating while I'm
skating, so it provides a wonderful breather in the middle of the day
Perspective --- skating puts my work into perspective. work puts
skating into perspective.
Flying --- the wonderful frictionless sensation of flying (not just
during jumps ..... maybe MAINLY not in jumps)
Goals --- a never-ending supply of goals to work toward: a growing
list of goals reached. they don't even have to be big things:
Facing up to fear --- working at something that scares you until
finally one day you realize that you are doing the move without even
thinking about it. Also doing something that scares you even though
it's still scary, and realizing that you CAN do it and you WILL.
An appreciation of what goes into skating:
- a greater appreciation of the skaters themselves and what they do
- an astonished and continuing appreciation of the thousands of
volunteers who make the organized sport of figure skating possible:
judges, accountants, ice monitors, organizing committees, costume
crews, fundraisers, music crews, registration people, the mothers who
braid hair and patch up each other's children, the "rink moms" who
play tapes during sessions, and many, many more.
An opportunity to serve and be useful --- knowing how badly you are
needed, because skating IS run by volunteers, most of whom also have
jobs and families that make volunteering difficult.
A (moderately) harmless obsession-cum-addiction.