By Lyla Bhalla-Ladd '21
"Oh, you do IP? That’s great! I wish I could; I’d have so much more time!"
Haha! Oh yeah... except no.
I blame whoever did Yoga as an IP that one year for all the misconceptions that I go home every day at 2:45pm. Let me let you in on this. I started doing IP for ice skating this year and it has honestly improved my quality of life — that doesn’t mean I’m slacking though, believe me. I have been skating for 6 years, and I never fully gave it the attention it deserved. Like any sport, skating takes practice. For the past years, I have wanted to improve, but I could never put the time in, at least not with NCS’s schedule. Now, I’ve joined a team that pushes me to prove my dedication and achieve my best. Every day, around 3:15, my teammates drive me from NCS to the rink where we practice. From 3:30-5:30 I have what’s called Freestyle. Freestyle is open to anyone who has passed a certain skill level of skating and when skaters, like me and my team, come to practice on their own. During this ice time, some skaters have private lessons with their coaches, and others practice their choreography and skills. I have learned this Winter how much I can go in two hours. Along with practicing my team’s program choreography, I also train for upcoming “Moves” tests. I just passed a Moves test earlier this month, so now I am learning the new drills for the next level. I have 2 group lessons a week, Power and Elite. These classes are really important for solidifying old skills and learning new tricks. Power is all about producing speed without running on the ice like hockey players do. Elite class is where we take old drills and make them a lot harder in ways I could not really explain. These classes are required to take for everyone on my team, so that we all maintain our skills in case we add aspects of a drill into our program.
Now that’s all just basic weekly classes. Skating is really all about Synchro for me. Ten other girls and I form the Open Juvenile Team. In our practices, we learn and perfect the program that we compete with three times a year. Our first competition is in a week, so we have more intense practices filled with run-throughs and fixing every little mistake. The thing that shocks people (except for swimmers) most about skating is the times. One or twice a week I have morning practice with my team. Morning practice is a synchro practice before school every Tuesday from 6-7am. Now, that would be pretty nice if it wasn’t a) a school morning or b) winter. Now you may not know (because hopefully you’re sleeping at that hour) that it is almost always below freezing at 6am. Oh and I think I forgot to mention that my rink is outdoors! Yessir! I’ll never forget the 11° morning one fateful February day. Still, we are always more productive as a team in the mornings because getting up that early and then wasting that time is even more painful than actually waking up at 5am.
So now, hopefully, that educated you a little bit on the intensity of IP sports. I am really glad NCS has made a place for those who have serious sport commitments outside of school teams to still count as sports credits. If not for IP, I don’t know how I’d manage to get the wonderful 6 hours of sleep I’m currently getting.