CeCe Long’s Need For Speed (Skating)

CeCe Longs Need For Speed (Skating)

Emily Obermeyer, Staff Writer

Sitting in 6th hour AP Environmental Science, junior CeCe Long is required to utilize her intelligence and knowledge. You may think that this AP class would be the most challenging psychological task for her; however, her most strenuous mental task is not found at school, but at the speed skating track.

“There’s so much weight you can lift with your legs and there’s so much [muscle] you can [use to] push yourself,” CeCe said. “But if you’re halfway through a race, the second you think ‘I can’t do it,’ everything just drops. So, you have to keep your positivity up.”

CeCe participates in a sport that is very unfamiliar to students at FHC. While most kids play soccer, basketball, or other sports that are offered at a varsity level, CeCe takes great pride in her sport: speed skating. In fourth grade, after playing soccer for several years, CeCe realized that she did not have a passion for it. While she was trying to find a new hobby, CeCe’s dad would speed skate every Thursday, without her knowing. When she finally asked where he was going, CeCe’s dad took her to one practice, and she was immediately hooked.

“It was just the fact that it was racing and it was competitive,” CeCe said. “It was also such a safe environment. Everyone there is so nice and so supportive. It was comforting.”

Ever since then, CeCe has become more committed to skating. She is part of the West Michigan Skating Club. When preparing for competitions, she trains with a team but races individually. Her season goes from October to March, during which CeCe attends many out-of-state meets in places located in Wisconsin to New York. Not only is CeCe extremely committed to skating, she also is very dedicated to her school work and job. This leaves her with an exceedingly busy schedule. Even though she sometimes thinks about what life would be like having a free schedule, she loves the sport too much to give it up.

I never regret going to a practice. I love the people there, I love the sport, I love the adrenaline it gives you, and it’s just a rush.”

— CeCe Long

CeCe’s love for skating has brought many great moments to her life. CeCe has ranked first in the state in her division, ranked 7th in nationals twice, traveled to numerous different places in the country, and lived in Milwaukee for a month to train. However, these are not the only opportunities that have been given to CeCe; she has also been given the opportunity to create new friendships. The skating community is very tight-knit group of individuals with a common passion for the same sport. CeCe has formed many friendships through skating. Since CeCe often competes against the same people many times, she has become very familiar with her opponents.

“These are the type of people you can be best friends in the locker room with,” CeCe said, “but when you get up to the line, there is no friendship. It’s cut throat.”

CeCe has created connections with people from all over the midwest region. Since skating is a very regional sport, some of CeCe’s close friends live out of state. One of her close friends, senior Elena Swircek, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to train at an intense level. Elena and CeCe met when CeCe first starting skating.

As CeCe became more dedicated to the sport, she grew closer to Elena. Before Elena moved, she was training partners with CeCe. Training partners work together and train together. This relationship not only requires two people to work together very closely, but by skating with a partner, it blocks some of the wind resistance when training.

“You [have to] have someone else who pushes you,” Elena said. “You can’t do it by yourself. Even though skating is an individual sport, having someone there makes you better.”

Even though Elena now lives out of state, she and CeCe have stayed in touch. They also see each other at out of state meets. Even though they no longer skate for the same team, Elena believes CeCe will continue to improve everyday.

“Even though I’m not there training with her anymore, I know CeCe [is going to] work really hard and do the best that she can,” Elena said. “That’s just who CeCe is.”

Skating has always been a very small sport; CeCe would love for more people to endorse it . She does not believe that speed skaters get enough credit for what they do. These drawbacks aside her family and friends are very supportive of her dedication to skating. Not only do her friends and family encourage her, but they act as her motivation.

“Whenever I get tired, I always hear [my little sister] in my head,” CeCe said. “She’s my great motivator.”

Alongside her family, CeCe’s friends also support CeCe and come to her meets. Senior Payton Walli has attended one of her meets. Even though he did not think much of the sport, he was pleasantly surprised when attending a meet for the first time.  

“I didn’t really know what to expect [at the meet],” Payton said. “When I went in there, I started to appreciate it more and think it was really cool.”

Even though skating is not as appreciated as other sports, CeCe believes that it provides an experience that is very different from other activities.

“This has impacted [me] in such a positive way,” CeCe said. “If I have a bad day, I can go to the rink. Even if I just walk into the rink, my day is ten times better. The people there [and] the experience is just so positive.”

With an experience is as positive as speed skating, it’s a simple decision that CeCe is going to continue to skate for the rest of her high school career. When the time comes for her to stop skating, she would like to stay involved and become an official or coach. While CeCe is still not sure of what the future holds, she pushes herself everyday to strive for greatness.

“I’m going to skate as far as my legs will take me,” CeCe said. “I love it.”