Success on the rink


Courtesy of Janet Yang

Seventh grader Janet Yang at the Onyx Skating Competition on 8/20/2022 at Onyx Ice Rink in Rochester, Michigan.

Janet Yang, Staff Writer


“Mom, will you be mad at me if I can’t get a good place in the competition?” I asked my mom on the way to Rochester for the Onyx Skating Competition. She looked at me and smiled, “Relax, Janet. All you need to do is try your best and let the judges decide the rest.”

It was early morning; I was in the middle of a beautiful dream but was woken up by a rough shake. My mom told me to get ready and come downstairs to eat breakfast.

I put on my beautiful purple shimmery costume and purple makeup to compliment my outfit. I got in my mom’s car, and she drove 1.5 hours to get there just for my 2-minute program. I felt a rush of adrenaline because it was my first time competing at the preliminary level after the pandemic.

I put my skates on, put my hair into a braid, and waited patiently. Soon, my group was called. After warming up, I immediately went back on the ice because I was the first to perform. My name was called. Now it was my time to shine. My parents, friends, and coach cheered me on the ice, “Go, Janet, go!” I took several deep breaths. I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time.

When the familiar music started to play, I calmed myself down. (I chose the piece “Castle in the Sky” because I felt touched when I listened to this music). First, I did a clean axle followed by a toe loop then into a lutz. Up next was my most challenging element, the double salchow. Go up, spinning 1.5 rotations in the air and land. No, I fell; I’m not supposed to lose. I had practiced skating for 1-2 hours every single day, but I fell in the competition. I was very disappointed in myself and ended up getting 6th place out of 8 people. I almost cried.

I went up to my mom and said, “Mom, I fell on the ice. I am such a loser and I can’t be successful.” My mom rubbed my back and comforted me, “Janet, what do you think is success?”

“Winning others and getting first place in competitions means success,” I answered.

“Don’t think that way, Janet. If you define success like that, your life will be a sickness, and you will never feel happy because there is only one champion; many times, you are not that one. Success means you put in 100% effort. In our life, things often don’t go as we want.  Many good skaters fail in the competition even though they have practiced a thousand times. So no matter which place you get, once you put 100% effort into it, then you succeed. You compete with yourself, not others.”

“But what is the purpose for me to attend this competition? I am almost in last place, and I bet my Coaches (Coach Amanda, Coach Valentina, and Coach Sandy) would be disappointed in me. And I feel ashamed of myself” My tears were dropping.

”The purpose for you to come to compete is to see the gaps between you and others. It is your first competition this season. Let’s regard this competition as a pre-test. We will compete again in August 2023, and that competition will be your post-test. Let’s compare the pre and post-test as evidence to prove your skating skills growth.”

Now, I understand that even though I only got 6th place, I worked so hard at the daily practices, and I put 100% effort into my competition. I am successful, and I should celebrate today’s achievement. When I left the Onyx rink, I said, “Bye Onyx Ice Rink, see you next year!”