Exploring Espoo: O'Shea blogs from FinlandiaU.S. pairs skater chronicles team's adventures at first event of season
U.S. pairs skater Daniel O'Shea is competing at the 2016 Finlandia Trophy with partner Tarah Kayne. He is keeping a blog for icenetwork.
Thursday, Oct. 6/Friday Oct. 7
We got up early for practice at 8 on Thursday and then waited around for most of the day to compete. The day became a mixture of trying to stay hydrated and fueled, rested but not groggy, and just distracted enough to not overthink what we had to do later -- but not too distracted. Normally, the day of competition consists of playing some games on my phone, eating a good early lunch, going for a small walk, taking a short nap and watching some Netflix. When I write it out like that, it looks like a pretty awesome day. The only thing is, all day you know you have to go out there and perform. You have to perform this program that you have been perfecting for hours and hours every day of the last several months, and sometimes as long as a year.
This is both exhilarating and nauseating. It is what I live for. I absolutely love to compete. I put in all of those hard hours and make those sacrifices that elite athletes do for that 2:50 or 4:40 on the ice, the only time it really matters.
But the nerves never really go away. Someone once told me that nerves are just your body's way of sounding off and telling you that everybody is there, in working order, and ready for duty:
Heart pounding ✔️
Lungs working hard ✔️
Legs sore or mind racing ✔️
Time to take the reigns, give the orders and do your thing. Just that easy, right?
No, but honestly, I don't think I would want it to be that easy. If it was, then it wouldn't have as much meaning. Without the hardships and the mistakes, the victories and successes wouldn't feel quite so sweet.
This week was not what we would consider a victory or a success. To be completely honest, we are disappointed, but we are taking everything that we possibly can from this situation and using it to move forward, get better and hopefully not have this same experience next time.
If there is one thing that skating has taught me over the years, it's not to take myself too seriously. I think Miley Cirus said it best: "Everybody makes mistakes... Everybody has those days."
Anywho, we have a day off Saturday, and we'll hopefully fit in some time to see Helsinki around watching the ice dancers and the men, and rooting for our friends! #TeamUSA
Wednesday, Oct. 5
We started our day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. The crowning glory was the juice iPad: a dispensary of juice that was somehow connected to an iPad via app. You selected the kind of juice you wanted and out it came! Amazing.
Then we went over to the rink to get used to the arena. We had a good first practice. Above each end of the rink, looking out over the ice, are two restaurants, which seem like they would be pretty cool places from which to watch the skating.
We went to a quaint little restaurant for lunch. Everything we have eaten here has been delicious!
Our draw is tonight at about 8, so wish us luck!
Tuesday, Oct. 4
Hey, everyone! Tarah and I just got to Finland, and I'm not going to lie -- I'm pretty excited for the start of our season!
If you follow either of us on social media, then you probably already know that I was having a case of the "first-time flyers." If you don't follow us, well, shame on you. You should because we are hilarious, and there are puppy pictures (@Doshea213 and @TarahKayne). I digress.
We started off the day with a practice at home. As we were getting ready to put our suitcases in the car to go to the airport, Tarah jokingly said, "Everyone has their passport, right?" Needless to say, sheer panic took over and I raced home feeling the adrenaline rushing. Have any of you ever sweated from sitting down in an air-conditioned car? Lucky for us, or should I say me, the apartment is only a five-minute drive away (when you are driving like a sane human being). I made it back, and we only left five minutes late, and other than me being slightly damp, I was no worse for the wear.
We got to the airport, and as we were checking in, I got distracted by a United worker doing his job all too well. I checked my bag, showed my passport and got my bag tag, but somehow I forgot to finish the process and print my boarding pass. Now, Tarah, Mr. [Jim] Peterson and I were trying to go through the checkpoint at Tampa airport to get on the train to the terminal, and I was desperately trying to get the wifi to work on my phone so I could pull up my United app and get my boarding pass. I held up the line, and then was told, "Please step to the side, sir." We ended up missing the train, which prompted a "Have you ever traveled before, Danny?" General mockery ensued. You get the idea.
I made it through security without any issues and, boy, oh boy, was the day looking up! My confidence was coming back, and I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm going to get some Auntie Anne's and a lemonade." I told Tarah that after she got some Starbucks she should wait for me "down by 14" because that was our gate, as I could see from my boarding pass and that I can now see nice and easily on my phone. I got my pepperoni pretzel without incident and went back to meet Tarah, only to have her mock me for yet another rookie mistake: We were sitting in row 14, not boarding at Gate 14.
The good news was that we made it all the way to Helsinki with no further issues, and I got all of my costumes and both of my skates!
The hotel is great, and somehow I was lucky enough to score a room without a roommate. So, there you go. Life is really about the small victories, and I think that should be the moral of our story here today.
Thanks for reading, or listening, if someone is reading this to you.