Having an injury in the sport you love the most is difficult for anyone. A positive mindset is always helpful to have during the recovery. When somebody gets hurt doing the sport they love, it often puts a damper on their attitude. Even though senior Roseclaire VandeVegt is in a boot because she has developed painful bunions on her big toe, she is ready to get back into the swing of things soon. “I know that after my foot is healed it will take me awhile to get back to where I used to be; that is super frustrating, and I am not excited for it,” VandeVegt said. Her comeback will be a tough challenge, however, she is ready to get back out on the ice.
Figure skating is a unique but challenging sport. VandeVegt was around 5-years-old when she first began figure skating and has been skating on the ice ever since. “I was hyper-active as a child and my parents wanted me to be calm, so they decided I should try figure skating,” VandeVegt said. While she was encouraged to give ice skating a try by her parents, she is the only one in her family who skates.
Figure skating is a sport that requires consistent practice, like any other sport. Whether it is repetition of a move or skating in the rink for hours, practice truly does make perfect. “When I started out, I was really bad, but then I started taking private lessons, and I got a lot better,” she said noting that her talent developed with practice. VandeVegt’s willingness to practice and courage to risk the chance injury is what makes VandeVegt truly an athlete.
Since figure skating is a year-round sport, VandeVegt frequently practices and competes. She is a member of the Figure Skating Club of Omaha and usually practices at Ralston Arena three or four times a week, however, after she gets her boot off, she will start practicing five or six times a week because she will have to get used to skating on her foot again. She’s having surgery on her toe due to shoving her toes in small skates as a child and developed bunions, a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions are a pain and stiffness in the big toe that can develop overtime and needs to be taken care of right away. VandeVegt has been off the ice for six weeks and should be good to go in about two weeks. “I am not really nervous to get back on the ice, I had the same procedure done on my left foot last year, so I know how it should go.” VandeVegt said. “I guess the only thing I am truly nervous for is getting my jumps back up to where they were which will be frustrating.” she said. VandeVegt is eager to get back out on the ice in two weeks and knows that it will take a lot of hard work but is willing to put in the work.
Bedazzled leotards and nude tights are often associated with figure skaters, and VandeVegt competes in that attire. “At competitions, the colors of the dresses we wear along with the rhinestones match the song. […] I had a Latin song, so I had a Latin stylized dress,” she said. When not competing, VandeVegt prefers to wear an athletic jacket, T-shirt, and leggings to every practice.
“I skate through a [co-ed] club, and there are no technical teams. At competitions we get ‘points’ for getting medals that go toward a club trophy at the end of the year.” In terms of scoring, if her team were to earn four points they would get first place. If they earn three points as a team, they would get second place, two points would get third place and one point would get fourth place. In the case that a skater earns zero points for the routine or a certain move, he or she would get fifth place or lower.
Though VandeVegt is still in a boot, she is excited to be out on the ice soon. Through all the hard practices, discouraging moments, repetition of a double lutz and amazing friendships, figure skating has taught her many lessons.. “It has taught me how important friendship is when you are having a rough day. For instance, when a skater is having a hard time on the ice, we all will be like ‘you got this!’ and encourage them. We are constantly talking off the ice and texting throughout the day. We are literally a family,” VandeVegt said.
Figure skating created memories that will last Vandevegt a lifetime. Even after getting injured, she chose to not give up. “If you put your mind to it, and trust yourself, you can land anything,” VandeVegt said. Figure skating will always have a warm place in VandeVegt’s heart, without a doubt.