Dancing on ice: Sophia Chang

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When she’s not busy studying for the next exam, she’s gliding on the ice rink, maneuvering in a series of spins and jumps on the edge of her blades. Senior Sophia Chang is not afraid to pursue her passion for ice skating. She sat down with The Howler to discuss her experiences with skating and how it has impacted her life.

Victor Chang: When and how did you start skating?

Sophia Chang: I started skating when I was 7 years old. I used to rollerblade when I lived in Taiwan but after coming here, rollerblading wasn’t popular, so my mom suggested that I try ice skating. It was different from rollerblading since the ice was slippery, and it was also super cold, but I really enjoyed it. Since my first time on the ice, I knew that it was something I wanted to do.

VC: What is your practice schedule?

SC: On most days, I go to Anaheim to practice, but sometimes I go to Yorba Linda or Lake Forest depending on their practice schedules. I practice on weekdays, usually 2 hours a day in the afternoon and a few early mornings. I also do ballet on the side to improve my posture and positions on the ice.

VC: What motivates you to continue ice skating?

SC: The main thing that motivates me is being able to complete a jump or spin. It takes a long time to learn and fully complete elements, but the time put in is worth the results. In the rink, I am not judged by what kind of student I am, but what kind of skater I am. Knowing that I can be myself on the ice keeps me going.

VC: Were there any challenges you had to overcome to continue ice skating?

SC: Skating takes up most of my time outside of school which has made it difficult to balance out my schedule. Another thing is injuries. I twisted my ankle twice last year and hurt my back several times. It was like 2-3 weeks off at a time depending on how serious the injuries were. After taking time off, it is really difficult to get back into skating since I didn’t feel the same. My jump positions felt different, and I had to backtrack and relearn some elements in order to get them back. These are times when I wanted to quit since it was so frustrating not being able to do what I could do.

VC: What is your favorite part of ice skating?

SC: My favorite part of skating is being able to perform to the lyrical music I like. Being able to stay in the moment and express myself, my feelings and emotions, all together in one program.

VC: How has ice skating defined you as a person?

SC: Because ice skating is an individual sport, I’ve learned to be independent and patient since improvements in skating can’t be seen on a day-to-day basis. It’s over months and years that I see myself change and improve. Skating has shaped me into the person I am today. Skating’s taught me to persevere through the difficult times because even if it takes months to land a jump, the reward is worth the time and effort.

VC: Do you have any future plans involving ice skating?

SC: My hope is that I can join a skating club in college and be able to teach kids who love skating.

VC: What is one piece of advice for those who are considering ice skating?
SC: Be ready to fall a whole lot!