Monday, 15 June 2009

Skating vs School

There have been a number of skaters recently who had decided to sit out the upcoming season to devote themselves to their studies (Brittney Rizo, Katrina Hacker) as well as some who have prioritized skating over school (Emily Hughes). Many have, and continue, to manage both (Alissa Czisny). This poses a very interesting question - what should get priority? It's difficult to have a proper college experience if you're constantly training, and in the same way it's hard to train properly, especially when you get to National level or higher, if you're constantly having to catch up on assignments. So it's seems like a natural decision to take time off from school or work part-time/from home to get in the necessary amount of training. This technique has worked for a number of skaters; both Michelle Kwan and Sarah Hughes have recently achieved university degrees at 28 and 24 years old respectively.

However, does this all-to-simple conclusion actually hold a large number of drawbacks? By being at the rink whilst all their peers are at school, elite skaters are missing out on some valuable experiences, and some might say a proper childhood. Going to school is could be deemed too be necessary for them to have some sort of escape from the sport and to associate with people who aren't skaters.

Obviously it depends on a skaters' circumstances, but if you were an elite skater (or the parent of one) would you take the route of Hacker or Hughes? Personally I would be more inclined to do as Emily Hughes does; her attempts to balance skating and a full college course last season had very little success, and school will always be there in the future, whilst the probability of being a successful skater declines with age.

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