Starting a new sports team doesn’t happen every day—especially from a group of established adults who are living jam-packed lives and juggling a thousand conflicting priorities every week. But, sometimes there’s the right combination of talents and a touch of magic, and it all comes together. Today, I’d like to share the story of RIU’s origins.
Our adult synchronized skating team is a collection of some of the smartest, most talented, and most driven women leaders I’ve met in my life, so it’s no surprise to me that this is precisely how Central Pennsylvania’s newest synchro team, Revolution Ice Unity, came to be.
After a long and happy run with our former team, several teammates (including me) stepped away from competitive adult synchro skating for a variety of reasons in 2019-20. We all agree—that was a terrible year, and we felt an important piece of our lives was missing. Phone calls and text messages kept us connected, but we desperately missed the ice, practice, and being together.
During our year off, we had lots of deep conversation about the parts of skating that meant the most to us. We reflected on the many ways we each serve as leaders in our professional fields and how we run our lives as thriving adult women. These discussions yielded a collective urge to apply our leadership skills and creative expression towards our shared experience on the ice. All roads pointed to a revolution, of sorts, and we made the bold choice to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.
The pandemic hit, but our group conversations continued—resulting in officially registering our new team with US Figure Skating on July 7, 2020. Then, we spent hours on Zoom calls, discussing operational structure, budgeting models, US Figure Skating timelines and rules, and program elements. We investigated management structure and simple accounting processes. We scrutinized how we might conduct a training season safely and what COVID-19 mitigation elements needed to be in place. We signed a really big annual contract for ice rental. And we finally returned to the ice, choreographing and learning a new program including new elements some of us had never skated before. Whew! For a year that will be remembered as having such sadness and distance, RIU was a light in the darkness that brought us back together.
Reflecting back, I stand in awe of what this group of skaters with passion and intention has been able to do. Revolution Ice Unity is now a thriving, growing program with so much promise and excitement for the future. We’re thrilled to be planning for a competitive season in 2021-22. I feel gratitude for the coaches, clubs, and teammates who grew us as skaters and positioned us to take this next step. We’ve made it to this point because of them, and RIU is a testament to their training and support. But now, it’s time to embrace our adult-ness, be brave, and stand in our own truth. We’re ready.
Beyond my talented teammates and our skating mentors, I’d also like to give a shout out to some colleagues who have helped us fill in the missing pieces of the RIU effort: EmCo Productions (video and photography), Skallywag Designs (logo design), ParrotJOY (SEO consultation), and Doug Burlew (program music)… we appreciate you! Thank you. For anyone looking to support small creative services businesses (and a super cool handmade bird toy company) with quality people behind them, I highly recommend these folks.
“Of the skaters, by the skaters, for the skaters.” Together, I’m convinced we can do anything!