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Rebecca Bennett reached a point where she wanted to walk away from figure skating.
She says she had lost her confidence.
The 14-year-old Corner Brook figure skater is glad she found the strength to pick herself up and move forward towards her pursuit of excellence in her sport.
A few months ago, she had been competing at an event being used as a warmup for the 2018 Sectionals — the provincial championship that would see the top three skaters represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2018 Skate Canada Challenge this week in Edmonton.
It didn’t go well for her. She was very disappointed in her skate because she expected a better result. She thought she was at the end of the road and felt lost.
She thought about giving up a sport that she’s really embraced since she was four years old, but she started to think about how tough life would be without skating filling a void. She remembered all the long hours she has put into her training regime to achieve success at the highest level possible.
She struggled to make up her mind, but she had a change of heart after having a conversation with a sports psychologist she had met while in Montreal earlier this year.
“He told me everybody struggles and it takes confidence and effort to come back, but once you do it then it’s worth it,” Bennett said.
It was advice that would motivate her to push herself to get her confidence back. She just kept working hard.
She regrouped in time to skate at the 2018 Sectionals where she turned in a solid performance to earn second spot in the pre-novice women’s division to earn her a trip to Edmonton to take on the best 16U skaters in the country in an event that serves as the national championship for that respective age group.
She has no visions of being a Canadian champion. She is proud of the way she persevered and earned a trip to the national stage and that’s what kept her going with her hectic schedule that sees her skate six days a week with two trips to the gym to work on her physical conditioning.
Skating is a sport that has allowed her to grow as a person and keep active, so she’s thankful for the opportunity. She also knows there are people who think skating is not a challenging sport, so she would like to see attitudes change.
“With all the hours we put in at the rink sometimes things don’t work out as planned and it’s hard to do the jumps that we do and people don’t see that,” she said.
With all the missed jumps and spins over the years, Bennett has never broken a bone or suffered any injury that kept her away from the ice.
There’s nothing to protect her from a fall because skaters don’t wear any protective equipment. Bennett says there are risks involved in the sport.
“You just got to trust your training and your jumps,” she said.
Meeting new friends and getting to travel to cool places are all part of the lure to sports regardless of goals and Bennett isn’t any different.
It has taught her so many life lessons, how to be a leader and how to be a team player among them, that she would have missed out on if she didn’t develop a passion for skating.
She knows she would have lots of free time on her hands if she didn’t skate. She’s glad she found the strength and received the encouragement to stay connected.
She didn’t want to find out what life would be like without putting on her skates.
Slight and slender, the quiet girl goes about her business with grace and style. A smile shines through as she moves across the ice.
She’s happy she didn’t let something so special get away from her.
It’s not about winning or losing; it’s all about seizing the moment. She’s ready to celebrate each momentous occasion that almost disappeared when she felt like she had nothing left to give and nowhere to turn for support.