Monday, February 16, 2009

Meet Review: Roanoke

The biggest indoor meet of the year. (Yes I am claiming it is bigger then Indoor Nationals). The general review:
The floor in my opinion was great. I will not fault the floor for dust/dirt that accumulates. In the mornings the floor was flat out great. About as tight as a floor can be. They dust mopped it throughout the competition but with the construction going on outside nearby, and having 400-500 skaters plus parents and family members in one rink will create particles that make their way on the floor. Every morning the floor was once again great so I commend them of cleaning it again after we left every night.
The competition was good for just about every division which is what you want to see. A couple things that stand out to me are that some periods of time they seemed to let a lot go in races, which in other periods of time they wouldn't allow anything go. But that is just the way it is, nothing that can really be fixed, it all depends on who the official is and how they feel, if it sounds wrong too bad it's the way human nature works. Other then that I was a little disappointed that for some reason there just wasn't that one athlete that really made a difference to me. No one seemed to really come out of know where which is a sad thing in my opinion.
The pro dilemma I will only talk briefly about, the action that was taken I would stand by. Some of the technicalities that went with it were not handled appropriately however. Not allowing the two involved skaters to continue was a decent call. It was more of a blatant foul and even when there is a slight retaliation you cannot look bias by taking harsher punishment to one. They were allowed to stay in the rink which was good, the public apology was great and the end of it.
On the topic of wheels I will just say by the end of the meet I thought it became more apparent that one was much more dominant then the others. I can tell you I never skated on anything like I did at Roanoke and it was impressive.
I hope there isn't a single person that walks away from Roanoke feeling proud or accomplished because anything that is important is a long ways away and there is always something to work harder on and train more for. So keep training!
I hope to see most of you during Easter and those in my region on the 1st.
P.S. Remember nutrition and sleeping are just as important as practice.

Professional Athletes

Not skaters. Considering I can count the number of them on one hand. But actual professional athletes that are making much more then a living being an athlete. What has been going through their minds as of late?
I firmly believe that a portion of the best athletes never make it because of off-the-field problems. So knowing the ones that do manage to make it to the big leagues why are so many of them having trouble with guns now? If you need to honestly have a gun, get it registered. You are a professional athlete, you have a lot to lose compared to most. Most of all just leave your guns (registered) at home. If you have a body guard let them do their job. Or just don't go to places where you need that much protection. I understand having a gun in your home especially after an incident like Sean Taylor last year. But carrying them on you (Plaxico Burress) or having them in your trunk (Marshawn Lynch) is not the way to go about things.
This is a big one. First, Steroids, if you were scouted and drafted and signed that was all done because they thought you were good enough the way you were. There is no excuse for steroid use. They say they didn't know and that is the biggest lie I've heard. They say that they had to be the best no matter what, and that is just crap. Want to be the best, become the best don't cheat the world and your body to earn a quick route. I can not respect someone that will not put in the time to become the best but would rather cheat. Plain and simple, nothing in life is easy and you must work for it. I want to be the best at everything I do, so I will work hard day in and day out and I will study day in and day out and I will get there in due time.
Illegal Drugs
So many athletes go on to admit that they smoked marijuana or something like that. It's wrong, plain and simple. You make so much money doing what you do, don't put junk in your system. Don't sacrifice your body and state of mind for junk. I would rather see athletes drinking because it's legal. I believe there should be some type of punishment, a fine or something. You have admitted it, which means by your own standards you did it. So what if you didn't get tested during the 10-30 days it's in your system you still did it. Michael Phelps is the worse case I could have ever imagined. You hear so much about his nutrition and dedication to be in the best physical shape he can be and then he is smoking marijuana. Unacceptable. A record 8 gold Olympic medals in Beijing and 14 overall. Every child has in some shape seen Phelps win a race, and they have heard this. How many people want their kid looking up to him now? You must have better judgment. If I have better judgment at 17 years old then his 23 years are no excuse. The apologies and the 3 month suspension does not take back the fact that he made a gateway for the youth of America. A student in my school just got a DUI for smoking marijuana and he told his mom don't worry an Olympic champion did it. Unacceptable. Plain and simple.
Professional athletes should be held to a higher standard then an average joe. Whether or not they signed up to be a role model is irrelevant, they are one. You make a ridiculous salary (and still worry about how much you are making), you are showcased on national television, and you want to be a household name so grow up and take the responsibility that comes along with it. It is easy to be a winner, it's difficult to be a champion and athletes like these show exactly why.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I will be there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Plain and simple. Friday I will show up late because I do not skate so I'll sleep in and eat breakfast.
Then I will be at the Rink watching the Novice events and my teammates. Feel free to stir up a conversation I do not bite and will not mind. I talk to everyone that approaches me. And I have plenty of opinions so I can talk about anything.

See you there.

The Season

One of the most difficult features about skating: The never ending season. Well, it does not have to be that way, at least not for everyone. We skate worlds in September and then by October it is back to training and for some racing. Why? To my understanding we allow the season to continue. But in a recession like this isn't shortening it reasonable?
Look at athletes, an off season is not a period of time in which you do nothing. If it is then I think most sports have it wrong. It is a period of time where you do not compete, which in our sport means a period of time in which you save money. Yes, strange, saving money. An off season is a period of time where athletes continuing to improve themselves and work on fundamentals/strength/conditioning among other things. So after nationals allow the athlete 2-3 weeks of rest time. Rest in which they can do as little as they want, in fact you should encourage them to downsize their skating for the purpose of rejuvenating their will or drive to succeed. After that time period is up you begin fundamentals including everything, take them back to the basics. Now, many people do this but you also compete in this period of time. Don't compete. Plain and simple, there is no need to. If you are working on technique and fundamentals why have your athletes lose confidence in their abilities by racing.
Why not have Roanoke be the first invitational they attend. You work on fundamentals from September - November. In December you begin training harder, if that means more practice, pushing yourself harder, or harder practices you start in December. Then by Roanoke you have been working harder. You are now back to skating shape with refined technique, which is what usually is missing. Then you have plenty of meets they can attend, Mr. Blair's meet, one of the three Easter Meets, all working towards regionals and nationals. They get the time off, and the rest. Just he physical rest. Especially for you older athletes. You give them time where the only skating fee is monthly practice dues so they can save money. What do you get from skating a meet in October? Yes, it is a judge. It judges how much work you have to do in the next eight months. But if a skater is skating great in October, isn't there reason to worry? Can that athlete sustain a level of greatness until June? Doubtful.
This year Roanoke is my first big meet. I skated league meets, which are fun, smaller meets with local skaters. As if it is a open practice. But now skaters are going to meets in October getting down on themselves and spending the money that they wont have to go to an Easter meet or regionals later in the year.
As the skaters/parents/coaches, if you decide to go to an October meet they will have it every year, if you decide not to they will stop having it which would shorten the season.

Monday, February 9, 2009


As I continue to search for where I may have put my usars card I stumbled across my clinic evaluation from my first and only bank track clinic from back in March of 2004. It's weird to think how I stumbled may way through this sport thus far.
When I first started I was bad, and I was so small. Not that I am any bigger really but I was ridiculously small and there weren't really all the three wheel frames there are now so if you stood my frames up against my leg they went up to my knee at least. I remembering just wanting to get a 5x80mm frame because that meant I was going to be faster. All the older kids were no it so I wanted one. I saw video of me skating on those things and they were huge on me, like the 4x110's look like on Sara S. that was me. I couldn't cross very good lol. No novice then either, it was JO back then. 3 years and your done, that's it. Three years of JO or novice whatever you called it and I never managed a medal. I did however get a JO relay medal, back when they had JO relays at nationals. That was cool, I admit I was the weaker one on the team but either way I still threw the pass into first place. haha. I remember being in JO racing with the same people I do now. I remember meets with Hank from forever ago. I actually have a video of me racing Mariah Richardson in a Juvenile 4 person (there were no juvenile 4 boys and 4 girls and mixes it was just one four person) to say the least she beat me off the start and beat me all together. I remember my first regionals all I wanted to do was make it out, and sure enough I managed to get fourth place overall and qualify for nationals.
I remember coming to SOS back in the 2000-2001 season. I was little, young. I remember one of my first practices we were doing circles (our floor was still wood and had circles) and Jeff paired me up with Dante Tuscai so I could follow his technique. That made me happy, he always won at the league meets, him Dominic and Chris Semus where the fastest so if I followed one of them I could get faster. I was the little kid, smaller then he should be. At first I was so quiet at SOS I probably only talked to Ben Tuscai for my first 2-3 years in Reading, I never even talked to Jeff. Back then Jeff used a stop watch and Steve Carter was still coming to practice regularly. I remember the first time I ever ran a 10 second lap. I was so happy. I hurt my leg on that lap but I managed a 10 second lap and I was second year juvenile. That just goes to show how good our floor use to be.. uncoated. I remember every time Steve would run 9's and I just couldn't imagine how he did it.
I was the little kid at practice that if Jeff gave one of his lectures I sat down on the wall, because the big kids did it. If they were quiet, I was quiet. I use to listen to every word. I can remember getting the chills when Jeff talked about skating hard and how it can make you the best.
2003 was my first year of standard in a sense I grew up that year. Somehow I got fast. I think it was probably because of Kelly Archie. After I won a relay medal in 2002 I got a shirt that said national champion on it and he would always joke about my shirt and make me feel 'cool' and good about having a national medal. Things like that just made winning seem like the only option. Practice was fun, the fast guys like Steve were there so it always the funnest place to be.
in 2003 I placed at nationals in my division, my very first year of standard. My first race though I fell down in my heat and I just remember Jeff not necessarily yelling at me but I was so small I thought of it that way. He told me how if I would have just gotten up and started running again I probably could have caught up and made it out but instead I stomped my feet and took my time getting back to speed. Then I managed to place it was awesome. I probably smiled forever.
Back to the evaluation.. Jeff told me parents we should go to a clinic and attend Outdoor Nationals because everyone else was doing it and it was my last year of freshman (outdoor). So we went to the clinic and then I went to Outdoor Nationals. I got so mad after my first race, the 300m I got 4th place and only three got medals. But that was where I would say it all started. The story of my life, lol. I always wanted everything a race to soon. Every single time. Jeff tried to tell me that there were 5 more races and I had plenty of chances to get a medal but i didn't want to hear it. I wanted it now. It never feels better to say there is another race when you lose. I ended up getting 3 national medals there at outdoor nationals and a national record. It was great lol.
I always wondered why no one knew who I was. When I was freshman I thought I was like older and people she realize who I was if i was winning. But even Bob Justice got my name wrong at nationals. He never gets names wrongs lol. I was winning a semi and he announced me as Dominic and I heard it, that made me so mad lol.

Time flies, even when you are young.