By Meghan Quigley
I have competed at nationals for the past ten years, but last year’s national competition was by far the most exciting. Last season (2011-2012) marked my first year coaching for the Crystallettes and performing my duties as captain of the senior team at the same time. Emily Chase-Naperkoski and I coached the intermediate team and both found it difficult to manage coaching and competing at competitions.
But the season went better than expected. Since the intermediate division was one of the first divisions to compete at nationals, we were able to focus on coaching first, and then take the rest of the weekend to prepare ourselves to compete.
Since I was competing with the senior team, I traveled with them to Boston instead of with the intermediate team. I remember running off the plane, jumping in one of the parent’s rental cars and rushing to the intermediate official practice. I knew we were cutting it extremely close but I promised the girls I would do my best to make it to their official practice, and luckily I arrived at the arena the exact minute they were scheduled to take the ice. I ended up watching and attempting to coach the girls from the second level of the arena. Thankfully, the rest of the competition schedule was less grueling.
Watching the girls take the ice at nationals was a moment I will never forget. It was one of the most frightening, yet proud moments of my life. I was terrified that I had not done enough to help prepare them, but I knew they worked hard all season long and qualified for the competition on their own. The team finished ninth. But the results did not mean much. Looking back at how far the team had come was something that a placement could not define.
After the intermediate championship concluded it was time to focus solely on the senior competition. The Crystallettes cheering section was massive and, of course, the intermediate team was sitting in the front row. I became instantly nervous when I spotted them. I spent hours over the season correcting them but suddenly I had 16 pairs of eyes on me! It was then I remembered what my coaches Shannon Peterson and Holly Malewski said to us: “Always stay in the moment.”
The key for me to surviving such an eventful weekend was focusing on one event at a time. While this was by far the most tiring nationals I have ever experienced, it was the most memorable. It was stressful to balance coaching the intermediate team and being one of the captains of the senior team, but I am glad my last nationals played out the way it did.