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Sylvia
04-26-2012, 10:56 PM
http://www.jenniferkirk.com/about/

...
Today, I am finishing up my bachelorís degree in communications and am getting ready to embark on a career in broadcast journalism. This blog is my opportunity to share with you what skating has taught me and hopefully inspire readers to live life with a focus on the lesson to be learned from every experience. As you will read, skating taught me far more than winning and losing.

I'm glad to see her blogging again! :respec: Prison of Perfection (http://www.jenniferkirk.com/2012/04/25/60/) (April 25, 2012)

Angela-Fan
04-26-2012, 11:08 PM
That was really interesting; thanks for posting it. :)

feraina
04-26-2012, 11:36 PM
Wow, I wonder if every successful skater has to be as much of a neurotic perfectionist as what Jennifer Kirk is describing. A bout of self-abuse triggered by an A- seems over-blown... but then I was a perfectionist when I was younger too. I was lucky that my college recorded only A, B, C, ... with no +/- modifiers, so I didn't have to worry about the details most of the time. But these days I seem to have really mellowed up, just don't have the energy to be a perfectionist anymore. :P

IceAlisa
04-27-2012, 12:30 AM
It's so candid and brave. Good for Jenny. I hope she finds fulfillment in journalism.

Yazmeen
04-27-2012, 02:33 PM
Her section on Michelle Kwan may tick off some of Kwan's most ardent fans, but it was a great example, and she hit the nail on the head. Michelle allowed herself to be taken over by "Perfection" and as a result, she couldn't let go and just skate with her heart.

That article on "Perfection" really hit me, because I've done that to myself many times, with my skating, my work and other things. That was very insightful and well-written, and a good reminder not to fall into that trap. I look forward to future installments from Jennifer.

skatesindreams
04-27-2012, 05:43 PM
Most skaters are not at the level where they could even aspire for "perfection".
Michelle was.

To her eternal credit. she coped beautifully when she didn't reach the goal.
Most do not.

Sparks
04-27-2012, 05:46 PM
I'm so happy for Jenny. She comes by her writing skills honestly.
As an ardent Kwan fan, I'm not ticked off.

Triple Butz
04-27-2012, 06:13 PM
Her section on Michelle Kwan may tick off some of Kwan's most ardent fans, but it was a great example, and she hit the nail on the head. Michelle allowed herself to be taken over by "Perfection" and as a result, she couldn't let go and just skate with her heart.

That article on "Perfection" really hit me, because I've done that to myself many times, with my skating, my work and other things. That was very insightful and well-written, and a good reminder not to fall into that trap. I look forward to future installments from Jennifer.

I always find it fascinating to hear about the internal struggles athletes and people in high pressure situations have to cope with. Jenny is very brave to share this information with us. I think her example of Michelle is a good one, and Michelle has admitted to being so afraid of mistakes that she was "eaten by the monster" in 1997.

Perfectionism can be both a hindrance and a blessing. Think of how many achievements would have been missed if there weren't perfectionists out there determined to get it right. Maybe they never achieved perfection, but they certainly moved things forward by trying.

When I had just started taking music auditions, I remember one of my professors telling me that to win an audition, you have to "want it more than anything in the world, but at the same time not really give a damn."

In that respect, I think it's all about balance. Have the highest goals in mind, but don't forget about your personal goals and small victories along the way.

JILEN
04-27-2012, 06:25 PM
Most skaters are not at the level where they could even aspire for "perfection". Michelle was. To her eternal credit. she coped beautifully when she didn't reach the goal. Most do not.


Word!


Well, Jenny came back swinging.

I wish her much success! 21st-century journalism is going to be a toughie. Hope she can get more out of it.

taf2002
04-27-2012, 06:57 PM
I'm so happy for Jenny. She comes by her writing skills honestly.
As an ardent Kwan fan, I'm not ticked off.

Me neither. I think Jenny will do well in her new career. I really liked her online blog & I think she's an excellent writer.

overedge
04-27-2012, 08:47 PM
When I read this blog, the first thing that sprung to mind was the nasty comments that Phil Hersh made in 2009 about Kirk's skating and her journalism:

(from http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/sports_globetrotting/2009/10/by-philip-hershi-apparently-made-the-mistake-of-taking-2006-olympic-silver-medalist-sasha-cohen-at-her-word-when-cohen-announ.html)


Former U.S. world team member Jennifer Kirk joined that chorus, writing in her Blog, ``Something about her statement doesn't add up.'' Although Kirk stopped short of doubting that Cohen is injured, she insisted it would be no surprise if Cohen did not compete at all this season: ``However, it seems to me that maybe Cohen didn't realize in May just how tough this comeback was going to seem in October,'' Kirk wrote. ``My guess? Sometimes the fear of failure can be more painful than any injury.''

(Failure is something Kirk is familiar with, having slopped to 17th and 18th-place finishes in her two world meet appearances and quitting a year before the 2006 Olympics; Cohen, by comparison, has an Olympic silver, two world silvers, a world bronze and no finish worse than fourth in five world and two Olympic appearances.)

But the question about the show and the timing of the withdrawal is legitimate. Unlike Kirk and those who sent comments, I had the advantage (and responsibility) of raising it the way a real journalist does -- by letting Cohen give her side of the story before commenting on it.

Imagine the extra amount of pressure that she must have felt when she was competing, knowing that there were attitudes like this out there ready to jump on her. Even if she was too hard on herself, there were lots of other people willing to be hard on her too at the slightest opportunity.

I know her blog post wasn't written for this reason, but to me it shows Hersh how oh so very wrong he was about her not being a "real journalist".

skatesindreams
04-27-2012, 08:56 PM
Now that she's finished her degree, he may take her more seriously!

RD
04-27-2012, 09:07 PM
^ What Hersh fails to acknowledge there IMHO is that at the time Cohen achieved those world silvers and Olympic silver, they were considered failures by some journalists since she was in position to take gold and slipped. She was totally in Kwan's shadow. And she was asked tough questions, too, one I believe asking point blank if she saw her career as a failure. It's all relative.

Honestly, I think what Kirk said about chasing perfection might apply more to Cohen than to Kwan- I'm surprised Cohen wasn't mentioned (although I agree re. Kwan at SLC), because it seemed as if she was just waiting/hoping for that perfect LP to happen, and kept sabotaging herself in the process. This was most evident at 2006 Worlds, IMHO.

Actually, I think there is one notable difference between a blogger and a journalist. The former writes about his/her experience(s), or reports on current issues, usually from a personal standpoint; the latter tends to seek answers to pressing issues by asking tough questions. Maybe Jenny will get there, but as of now, based on her writing style, etc. I don't consider her a true journalist. She's a great writer though- has a good way of putting things, taking care to make sure it's readable by a general audience and not just skaters.

overedge
04-27-2012, 09:24 PM
Honestly, I think what Kirk said about chasing perfection might apply more to Cohen than to Kwan- I'm surprised Cohen wasn't mentioned (although I agree re. Kwan at SLC), because it seemed as if she was just waiting/hoping for that perfect LP to happen, and kept sabotaging herself in the process. This was most evident at 2006 Worlds, IMHO.

I think if Kirk had wanted to talk about Cohen, or say that Cohen had the issues she was talking about, she would have done exactly that.


Actually, I think there is one notable difference between a blogger and a journalist. The former writes about his/her experience(s), or reports on current issues, usually from a personal standpoint; the latter tends to seek answers to pressing issues by asking tough questions. Maybe Jenny will get there, but as of now, based on her writing style, etc. I don't consider her a true journalist. She's a great writer though- has a good way of putting things, taking care to make sure it's readable by a general audience and not just skaters.

People who write opinion columns and personal pieces are journalists too. Not investigative journalists or beat reporters, but they are still journalists. And Jennifer has written for newspapers, not just in her blog.

viennese
04-27-2012, 10:52 PM
Good essay by Kirk.
I had enjoyed her blogging from a couple of years back, and was disappointed when she took a break to focus on her college studies. I think she'll do well at sports commentary. And I hope she puts together her autobiographical essays into a book.

She'd do well, I think, to interview other athletes on the subject of perfectionism and other issues she touches on here - there is a really fine line between the intense focus it takes to train and win and the negative stuff that can come with over-focusing.