Navarro's 'BOTB' blog: The end of the road

Ice dancer says her farewells as she and her partner are voted off the show

Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall were voted off <i>Battle of the Blades</i>.
Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall were voted off Battle of the Blades. (Courtesy of CBC/Insight Productions)


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By Kim Navarro, special to
(10/11/2011) - This weekʼs theme was "the beat." Not only did we have to find the beat of the music, but we would have to skate to it. And as if that wasnʼt challenging enough, we were also required to include some footwork in our programs.

It was a frustrating week. We laughed, we cried, and at one point Curtis Leschyshyn (Elena Berezhnaya's partner) announced he was quitting. Of course, he didnʼt; instead, he left the hotel the next day at 6:30 a.m. to go practice his footwork by himself.

Footwork. It is something we take for granted as figure skaters. We have varying degrees of difficulty in terms of footwork, but the idea of footwork itself is not foreign.

Nor is the name.

But just the day before the show, during camera blocking, my partner, Russ, was going through his steps aloud. He said, "Okay, crossover, then pump, then ... what is that thing called?"

"Footwork?" I asked.

"Yeah," Russ replied.

In his defense, he might have been looking for the specific name of the first step in his footwork, which would have been "bunny hop," and equally funny.

Russ told me that Sandra had called one of his turns something different than what Renee and I had been calling it. The turn in question was a bracket, but Russ said, "She called it a block! Or maybe, an eagle."

I am not sure I have ever laughed as hard as I did in that moment. A block? Well, I thought, maybe there is a Canadian footwork step that as a whole is called a "block" and includes a bracket.

Or an "eagle"? Well, maybe she was referring to his spread eagles later in the footwork?

Because I found this too funny, I had to ask Sandra about it. She said, "Oh, at first I thought Russ was doing a rocker, but it was actually a bracket."

Ah, a rocker! That was the name Russ had been looking for. But somehow he remembered it as either a block or an eagle. Who could blame him? None of these words make sense to anyone outside of figure skating.

But let's figure out the train of thought. Block, pretty easy -- rhymes with "rock." Rocker -> rock -> block.

But eagle? That was a little more out of left field. But here is how it happened: Rocker -> rock -> rock music -> rock band -> The Eagles -> eagle.

And I am so inclined to say, "You gotta love hockey players!" Yet I really think we -- figure skaters -- are the weird ones in this situation. Rocker? Bracket? Choctaw? Bunny hop?

So, after I wrote the above, I went through another "horrible" Monday night elimination, and it wasnʼt so bad, even though I did end up skating and being voted off.

Having seen it once, I knew much better what to expect. Many kudos to Marcy and Todd for being the guinea pigs last week.

Something I have learned throughout this experience is that it is really fun to work on a television show. But, it is still a television show. On Sunday, Russ and I were tied for first, based on the judges' votes, and on Monday we were in the bottom two and eventually voted off the show. Completely unpredictable, but completely television, huh?!

I have a wonderful friend who says, "Be open to outcome, not attached to it." When I started this journey, I think I was far too attached to the outcome. And things were looking so good in terms of the "outcome." Of course, very quickly the roller-coaster ride began that took this perceived "outcome" from the top of the highest height, crashed down to the lowest low and then came to a screeching halt. And it was then that I realized my mistake.

Outcome is unpredictable and, therefore, it is completely useless to be attached to it.

But being open to outcome? Well, that doesnʼt seem like a bad plan.

And this is what being "open" to outcome has awarded me in this instance: I got to participate in a show that I never thought I would. I got to skate amongst men and women of the most elite level. I got to pay tribute to a very special athlete. And I have gained a friendship that has taken me by complete surprise (Hi, Russ!)

I hope the rest of the skaters can enjoy their time on the remaining weeks of the show, and I look forward to the finale when we all meet again and celebrate. Our celebration is something I will try to be very open -- but not attached -- to!

And in the event I do not blog again until the finale, I must say, once again (and again and again), THANK YOU to the Courtnall family for making this experience possible. Thank you to the Battle of the Blades production team for continuing the show in memory of Wade. And thanks for letting me spill my beans to you!