For the Love of Skating

by Mary on May 4, 2018

Sometimes you can go home again. Even when some of the people you knew and loved are gone, others are still there and glad to see you. That’s what it feels like skating at my home club lately. I trained there regularly for many years, but many of the friends I skated with have quit and some of my favorite coaches have moved. But others are still there.

I’ve been showing up there to see one my my oldest skating friends. She quit after a move, but after some life changes has decided that actually, skating was essential. And isn’t that how it is for those of us who don’t quit or return to skating? We love it and find we have to do it despite everything. 

One thing I’ve learned is that some skaters love skating, others don’t. Some people can train and compete for years and then walk away and not follow skating at all. Maybe their parents loved skating. Or maybe they loved something about it, the competing or the friends, but not the actual skating itself. Bullying, abuse, or excessive competitiveness may have poisoned their experience. Or fear or pain after an injury takes away the fun.

One of my training companions from past years quit recently after feeling a lot of fear practicing difficult moves.  When she thinks of skating now it just brings fear. I feel sad that after all that time it’s not even a pleasant memory for her.

Patrick Chan is one of those who loves skating enough to stay in even after he’s done competing. In an interview on his retirement, he says, “I love jumping but not as much as I love skating and just feeling the ice, feeling the glide, feeling the interaction I can have with an audience.”

For me, the skating glide has always been in my dreams throughout my life whether I was actively skating or not. I hope to skate for a long time yet, but on the ice or off, I know I will always have snapshots of skating’s beauty in my mind’s eye.

Yesterday I took a skating seminar for the adults of my home club, and two of our club’s long-standing coaches joined us. They are survivors in the skating world, competitors, then show skaters, then coaches, making a living through skating all along. During edge class they were our first group down the ice, skating especially lovely swing rolls side by side. When class was over, one said to the other, “That was beautiful.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo May 5, 2018 at 3:31 am

What an inspiring post, Mary. I aim to be one of the ones who is still at it even though I’m not particularly in “training” mode (and my only audience is me, thank goodness). I think it’s just remarkable that I can still feel the love! As Paul Simon might sing, “still crazy after all these years!”
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Eva at Eva Bakes May 5, 2018 at 11:30 am

Great post, Mary. I am glad that becoming friends over the Internet over the years, that we are still here and still skating. While I will miss watching Patrick Chan compete, I will look forward to seeing him share his love of skating in other ways. He truly has a gift and we are lucky to be recipients of it.
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