Synchronized skating team considers spring show after nearly a year off the ice


Courtesy of KrPhotogs

The Purple Line at the Synchro Illinois competition in January. Their competitive season was later halted due to COVID-19.

Alexa Crowder, Reporter

After nearly 11 months off the ice, The Purple Line, Northwestern’s synchronized figure skating team, is preparing to resume practices and performances.

President and Co-Captain Gabi Boone said all competitions have been canceled since last winter quarter. However, the team still hopes to hold its annual spring show in late May, after having been cleared to start off-ice training in campus gyms this month.

Weinberg sophomore Sarah Germer, the team’s secretary, said off-ice training will likely include a combination of workouts and choreography.

Boone is particularly looking forward to meeting the team’s freshmen in person.

“I really appreciate them joining the team, even though we haven’t been able to skate yet,” she said.

Returning skaters were pleasantly surprised by the uptick in team membership, from 13 to 23 skaters. According to Germer, one event last year only ran eight skaters.

The newly expanded team met multiple times over Zoom in Fall Quarter to get to know each other and discuss music and costume options, according to Germer. Skaters also had the opportunity for a Zoom Q&A with two-time U.S. national champion and Olympic team bronze medalist Gracie Gold. Gold took the team on a virtual tour of her apartment and walked them through her daily schedule.

Bonding has always been central to the Purple Line experience, according to Boone. In pre-pandemic times, these bonds were formed through traditions like creatively the med practices, post-competition fast food runs and holiday parties. One essential competition day ritual involved the entire team holding hands while visualizing their program routine.

“We’re all very good friends and we’re very close,” the Weinberg senior said. “Skating is something that a lot of us have done for our entire lives, so we have that in common.”

Weinberg junior Julia Yoon, the Purple Line’s treasurer, saw the team as “a way to keep skating,” since the sport is a “really, really important” part of her life.

While she has been able to skate a few times a week at her local rink in Maryland since September, Yoon struggled with overcoming her absence from the ice during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring and summer.

Yoon is currently living off-campus at home, so she isn’t sure how she will fit into the Purple Line’s Winter and Spring Quarter plans.

“It’s definitely hard just missing out on experiences that you know are valuable to the team in order to strengthen those bonds,” Yoon said.

While the future looks brighter than it has in a while for the rest of the Purple Line, Yoon said there are still some financial concerns. The team lost last season’s biggest fundraiser with the cancellation of the spring show.

And even though in-person, off-ice training is planned for this quarter, the pandemic is unpredictable, so there’s no guarantee that on-ice practice and the spring show will proceed as planned.

“We’re gonna have to wait and see,” said Boone. “The only factor isn’t just if the school lets us skate, or if the rink lets us skate. It’s also that all of the members feel comfortable doing that, because we don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable skating.”

For Boone, this season is personal. She’s been skating since she was three. She wrote her college admissions essay about it. This year is set to be her last.

“It does suck to have to go out like this if we don’t get to have the spring show,” she said. “But at the same time, skating has given me so much. I’m just appreciative that I had it in my life.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AlexaCrowder

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