Anna Marie Seifert, a "Creativeskater", for May/June 2009
By: Elizabeth Hollett Shackett
Anna Marie Seifert started ice skating at the age of 4½ in Learn-to-Skate group classes. I have been her figure skating coach since her first day on the ice. I can still picture her grinning while doing the obstacle courses that I would draw on the ice for the Tot skaters. She would repeat the pattern over and over again with self-assurance and fascination and giggled when I would beg her to stop! Recreational skating was a short stint for Anna Marie as she swiftly skated through badge levels, won her first competition, and became a dedicated competitive figure skater.
To some of us, the word “competition” is somewhat taboo and carries a stigma of being ruthless and unforgiving. So, the fun of attaining new skills, achieving goals and personal bests drives the learning progression for all my skaters including Anna Marie. The personal and physical struggle of competition preparation lead to the healthy self-discovery from pushing your limits and in turn boosts self-esteem. The cycle of success becomes endless this way, and Anna Marie is living proof! Now at age 10, she trains 4 days per week after school and one day per week in the early morning hours before class. I coach her in tandem with Mojca Kopac-Tiernan who works on her jump and spin technique. Anna Marie’s wide grin shines on regardless of the time of day, the dropping temperature of the rink or the crunch time of competition.
Anna Marie can tell you she has experienced the joy of triumph and the agony of defeat. Regardless, she holds fast that medals or bad performances do not define her value as a human being but rather; it is how she uses these experiences to shape her dignity and self-image.
This 4th-graders perseverance extends beyond the rink. She holds a Presidential Athletic certificate and Virtue of the Month Award for Hope from her school. She has also been nominated to attend the National Junior Leaders Conference this summer.
All in all, Anna Marie has grown up in figure skating learning valuable life lessons. So while the word “competition” may evoke negativity, it is competition that teaches Anna Marie Seifert about the ups and downs of life itself. All this and lots of smiling along the way.
Anna Marie’s upcoming events:
May 2009: May Day Open, Laurel, MD
Oct. 2009: South Atlantic Regional Championships, Washington DC.
I have choreographed a variety of figure skating programs for her ranging from “Hakuna Matata,” “Jazz Machine,” “Cats,” to songs by Nuttin’ But Stringz, Barry Manilow, and Gloria Gaynor.