The Secret Life of an Ice Skater


Freshman Breanna Jacobs practices four times a week. She practices for her performances called programs.

Mackenzie Bisdorf, The Flash Staff Reporter

Sharp ice skates, costumes smothered with jewels, and cold ice rinks. A foreign sport to many. Freshman Breanna Jacobs and Anna Griessel are quite familiar with the secret life of an ice skater because they live that life every day.

Ice skating is a sport that is not commonly offered in schools. This means that Jacobs and Griessel are both on club teams. Jacobs skates for The Detroit Skate Club, while Griessel skates for the St. Clair Shores Skate Club.

Griessel finds both positives and negatives about skating in a club sport.

“If your grades are not so good, they’re not going to kick you out because of that, but there’s also the fact that no one knows what ice skating really is. So a lot of other people don’t do it,” Griessel said.

Jacobs enjoys participating in a club sport. She believes that participating in a club sport is, in some ways, better than partaking in a school offered sport.

“[Ice skating] not being a school sport makes complete sense because you’re out there representing yourself and your name not a school’s name,” Jacobs said.

Griessel and Jacobs are both dedicated to their sport. Jacobs spends around ten hours a week at practice, and Griessel spends about three to four hours at practices in a given week. Balancing school work, friends, family, and such an intense sport is not always easy.

“Balancing skating with still having a lot of friends and getting school stuff done is not really easy because a lot of times you have to tell your friends ‘no I can’t do this’ or ‘no I have a practice’ or ‘no I’m doing homework,” Jacobs said.

Griessel also understand how hard it can be to balance such an intense sport with other daily things, but she has learned to balance her time by procrastinating less.

“If you really want to keep doing the sport, then you have to find an equal amount [of time for everything] you want,” Griessel said.

Tina Griessel, Anna’s mother, has a front row seat to the struggles her daughter faces. She tries to be a supportive mother by helping her daughter in the best ways she can.

“At times Anna gets stressed having a lot of school pressures. It definitely is a balancing act. But she is faithful and loyal to her team, and she does a pretty good job of balancing both,” Mrs. Griessel said.

Griessel enjoys the sport and her mother enjoys watching her progress in her skills. Her mother was initially concerned with potential dangers, but she was put at ease when the coaches taught her daughter how to properly and safely fall.

“Ice skating is a very unique sport and one that Anna took to right away. She was a fast learner and was able to move up to next levels easily. At first, I was very nervous about her falling and severely injuring herself, but she is in the right hands,” Mrs. Griessel said.

There are different kinds of ice skating. There are figure skaters who are solo skaters in the singles division. Both Griessel and Jacobs figure skate. Their routines are referred to as programs. Each program is around one to four minutes and is performed to a song. There is also a division of skating known as ice dance. This consists of two skaters performing without jumps, and lifts cannot be above the shoulder. In addition to the previously mentioned types, there is also pair skating. This involves two people throwing each other in the air.

“I do solo skating, but I actually also do synchronized skating which is when you skate with a team, and you all have to be in synch,” Griessel said.

When competitions come, Griessel and Jacobs get dressed up in their fancy costumes.

“For competitions we have dresses. There are basically shortened prom dresses. They very are bejeweled,” Griessel said.

Jacobs knows that the costumes can get pricey due to their elaborate looks and stunning jewels.

“Costumes can consist of two things for a girl. They can either be like a jumpsuit or a dress of some sort. It is normally covered in literally a billion jewels. It’s expensive,” Jacobs said.

Every competition is judged by a panel of judges who look for completed turns and proper synchronization. Judges score using a point-based system. Points are also given for presentation which includes facial expressions and costumes.

“Judges score different ways, but you will mostly see there is a point-based system for each element. They take the main bases that they have set and depending on how well you did, they will add or deduct points,” Jacobs said.

Once at the competition, events are run on strict time schedules. Skaters must be sure to report to the judges when their event begins.

“For competitions you get there an hour or two early. You warm up with your coach, then you have an hour to do as you please. Then you have a report time, so you go to the locker room to put your skates on, and then they put you on the ice,” Jacobs said.

Griessel’s mother tries to attend every competition. She is at these events to both support her daughter and to be a team mom.

“I am a team mom, so it requires me to be at every competition but even if I wasn’t a team mom, I would do my best to be at there.  My husband and I fully support Anna for giving her time, energy, and hard work towards the sport,” Mrs. Griessel said.

Skating is a unique and interesting sport that both Jacobs and Griessel appreciate. They are both hardworking and dedicated ice skaters. They put in hard work in order to progress in their skills and move up in the sport. Most students at Fraser high school don’t know about the sport; however, because it is not offered in school.

“It’s sad because [ice skating] is such a great sport, but the school doesn’t offer it because you can’t exactly rent out a rink,” Griessel said.