Skating success is not easily attained. It takes years of hard work and dedication. Family commitment and support is a critical and essential element is helping a skater to reach his or her full potential. Over the past 20 years (time really flies) – I have had the pleasure of seeing Alexandra, her mom and dad, aunt, grandmother and two brothers at the rink skating, playing hockey, reffing games, and now coaching young skaters. Watching them grow and succeed as athletes and individuals has been especially rewarding to me. I\’m glad to have had a small part in this story.
Skating has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. At just 3 ½ years old, I took my first steps on the ice. I started with group lessons and mixed in private lessons as I grew older and became more serious. After elementary school, my mom would come home from work, pack dinner and take me and and my younger brothers to the rink. I would rush out of the car and into the rink, Fred would say hello, punch my card, and onto the ice I went. She would then take my brothers upstairs and feed them dinner while I skated. Once my session was over, they would get on the ice for hockey practice and it was my turn to eat dinner and do my homework.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I began skating several times a week, became serious about the sport, and I passed my Senior Moves in the Field Test.
My family was always there to support me. I really believe that it takes a village to make it work. Some days my grandma would pick me up straight from school and I would have to change and tie my skates in the car in order to make it onto the ice on time. Other times, I would take the bus home and my mom would drop me off at a middle point so that my dad could get me on his way from work and drive me to practice and she could go back to take my brothers to hockey practice.
As I improved, the competitions became more serious and the level of dedication intensified. In 2008, as a sophomore in high school, I successfully earned a spot on Team USA. I joined the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team and competed as Team USA for 3 consecutive years. After graduation, I attended Miami University (OH) and made the Synchronized Skating Team, which was unique in the fact that it was both NCAA D1 and part of Team USA.
My junior year in college, I took a break from Miami and seized advantage of a unique opportunity to skate for Team Germany. I moved to Berlin and lived there for 15 months. I attended The Berlin School of Economics and Law, as well as competed for Team Berlin- the German National Synchronized Skating Team. My family was able to travel to a couple of different competitions and see me compete as part of Team Germany. Although I only skated for Team Germany for one season, I was able to learn so much more about myself, and the strength it takes to compete. For the first time I truly understood sacrifice and dedication. Being away from my family and becoming a custom to a brand new training regimen was something that I was not prepared for- this was one item that I had overlooked. I knew things would be different but I had never imagined that my training style would change. I learned though this experience that obstacles and other unexpected hurdles may jump in the way but you can always get through it. My favorite childhood book is The Little Engine That Could– by Watty Piper reminds readers about the value of optimism and hard work. I still refer back to the story this book tells. Now as a coach, you can ask any of my students, I’m sure I have told almost all of them to read it. I believe that with a little hard work and determination you can set your mind to anything and accomplish it.
After my season in Germany and 15+ years of competitive skating, I retired. I graduated from Miami University in 2015 and moved back to New York. I now enjoy coaching my students, hoping to pass along the love for skating, and cheering on my youngest brother who plays for the Edge. No matter if I am at Port for coaching, practice, or my brothers hockey games, it always feels like a home a way from home.