Disclosure: Jodie Ng is a member of NUFSC.
An ineffable joy truly does overwhelm you every time you step onto the rink at Matthews Arena. You skate around once and your blades understand just how smooth the surface is. Every glide is elegant and speed gives almost every skater a liberating feeling.
The Northeastern University Figure Skating Club (NUFSC) is a team of dedicated skaters that compete at the collegiate level. Although it’s considered a smaller club than most, there is not a more supportive team on campus.
“It’s so great because we all grew up skating and obviously that’s such an individual thing but we’re bringing all these people who still want to skate,” Courtney Byer, NUFSC president said. “We have new priorities now like work and school but it’s nice to be like ‘this is what I used to do every Saturday morning.’ Now we’re all doing this together.”
Although not mandatory, NUFSC members compete every year and encourage skaters of all levels to participate. However, sometimes it is difficult to recruit competitors as people recall the competition stress back in middle and high school. According to Byer, “it’s not like that anymore.”
These Huskies will be travelling to Cornell for their first competition of the year on November 17.
“I think a lot of intimidation comes from not understanding collegiate level skating because if you are a skater and you have been a skater for years, you spend your entire skating career being taught the end goal is being a senior,” Laura Sims said. “At collegiate level, you want skaters of all levels because that’s the only way your team gets point.”
Both Byer and Sims say that collegiate level skating is a stress-free environment and this is when the individual sport transforms into a team sport. Sims said that it is at competition when you have the opportunity to get to know the team as well as other teams because when you’re practicing, it’s on your own time and everyone is in their own zone.
“I used to hate competition,” Byer said. “I actually stopped competing when I went to high school because it was too much stress but I love collegiate competitions because it’s so low-key and no one is training like they used to. It’s so much fun and it feels more like a show.”
However, this year, NUFSC has divided the team into two different tracks to encourage more competitors — a competitive and non-competitive track — something that is new to the team.
“We wanted to make our competitive team more solid,” Byer said.
The team also introduced a new coach, Monica Stubbolo, former president of NUFSC.
“She’s so dedicated. She’d be up at 5am just to skate before the rink even officially opened up,” Byer said. “Besides her being a really talented skater who can teach us a lot, we also know she won’t mind coming to us at 6am so we brought her on.”
Sims recalled that last year she realized she needed a flying camel spin, a spin she hasn’t done in years. She went to Stubbolo for help and in the end, according to Sims “the flying camel wasn’t as good as [she] wanted it to be but in practice, [she] really did get it down.”
“[Monica] wasn’t even a coach then,” Sims said, “but she was willing to sit there and help me with it.”
“I think a mark of a great coach is listening to your student and that’s exactly what she did, Sim said. “She went around the rink with me and listened to my goals and always told me that if something I’m telling you doesn’t work, talk to me and we’ll figure something else out. I think that’s what we need in a coach.”
With a new coach, a new e-board and a new season, NUFSC is excited to be back on the ice. For more information, you can visit their website at http://neu.orgsync.com/org/nufigureskating