I have decided that the adventures of a figure skating family are so very entertaining. The entire world needs to know the ups and downs, and the joys related to ice skating. As often as possible I will update this blog with my figure skating family's unusual and unique day to day ice skating adventures!
“It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, the rule for getting up is the same. You just get up!”
Scott Hamilton – 1984 Olympic Figure Skating Champion
US Figure Skating launched its Get Up campaign in late 2016. The campaign’s theme and idea is that everyone falls, not just in skating, but also in life, and although we all fall, what is important is “getting up.” Participating in skating teaches individuals life lessons that include the importance of “getting up” and moving on. A famous quote by Olympic Champion Scott Hamilton has become the theme of the campaign.
Yes, everyone who skates knows that falling is a part of skating, but also those who skate know that after a fall, that getting up is a must.
Recently, the Professional Skaters Association asked its coaches to submit their own personal “get up” stories related to skating and life. Some of the most inspirational stories were featured and recognized at the 2017 Professional Skaters Association Conference.
When I heard that the Professional Skaters Association and US Figure Skating asked for submissions, I submitted my own family’s story. My story was not one of the stories recognized at the PSA conference, but I do feel it is inspirtational and should be shared. I’ve pasted my submission below.
Tragedy and Triumph
In September of 2005, I was a busy skating coach and also the mom of three young children. On what seemed like an ordinary day, on September 16, 2005, my husband Dan, was in a horrible accident. The doctors gave him less than two weeks to live.
I was advised by one of my former adult skating students, who was a nurse, to keep my children active during such a difficult and uncertain time in our lives, so I began to take my children to the rink every day (although I stopped teaching skating for pay during that time) before we went to visit my husband in the ICU at the hospital.
While the children played and skated on the ice on a public session, I’d go into “my own little world” and do compulsory figures in the center of the rink. Doing figures, I discovered, was my way of “getting up” from what was “more than just a horrible fall.”
Miraculously, my husband recovered!
For six months, he could not walk or work, but I continued to take my children skating during the time of rehabilitation and I continued doing figures every day. Then, I began to teach my own children all I knew about skating.
To make a long story short, my kids went on to work with some of the best figure skating coaches in the USA and became competitive ice dance and pair skaters.
Annabelle became a US Figure Skating Sextuple Gold Medalist in Moves, Solo Free Dance, Free Skate, Pairs, Dance, and Free Dance. Rebekah earned five gold medals in Moves, Solo Free Dance, Pairs, Dance, and Free Dance, and Joel is also a Gold Medalist and has toured the world for three years now with Disney On Ice Frozen. He’s about to begin his fourth season with Disney On Ice and my daughters are now working on testing their International Ice Dances.
All three of my children have helped the disabled learn to skate and have helped me teach learn to skate classes. Joel has assisted me with coaching hockey ice skating skills and played hockey himself.
My husband Dan walked again. He gave up using a wheelchair and a walker during the 2006 Broadmoor Open when he said it was too much of a hassle to use any aids as he went from ice sheet to ice sheet to watch the children compete during that competition!
He’s walked without assistance ever since and works hard at his full-time job.
We’ve done many other things besides skating together as a family including downhill skiing, nordic skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and kick scootering! We also sing and laugh together and are very grateful that Dan is still with us.
That past seems like a dream, but the entire Schneider-Farris family knows that skating certainly helped us to Get Up!