Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Essay from Grad School Writing Class About How My Competitive Skating Career Ended - Written September 17, 1981

I found this essay I wrote for a grad school writing class in 1981.  It sums up what skating can do to a young person.  Wow...only other figure skaters who obtain the elite level can relate to this...hope this helps others...I was 25 years old and married when I wrote this...it was before I began teaching skating when I was 26.....



------------------------------------------


Jo Ann Farris
9-17-81
Essay #3

I was a competitive figure skater for fifteen years.  I retired from the figure skating world five years ago, at the age of twenty.  Durng my years of figure skating, I faced many tests of character.  I was constantly faced with the threat of losing, which tested my attitudes towards myself.  My whole self-worth was based on winning or losing.  I was under extreme pressure.  During my last competiion, in January of 1977, I faced the ultimate test:  we (my partner and I) came in last in the Midwestern Figure Skating Championships.

My partner, Richard, and I skated together for five years.  During our third year together, we placed second in the United States National Figure Skating Championships.  After that, things seemed to be going up and up.  Many officials in the skating world looked at us as Olympic hopefuls.  We too, expected to be top national contenders.

Disaster occured the following summer after our victory at the Nationals.  Richard had an accident. He was off the ice for two-and-a-half months.  We never recovered completely from that time off the ice.

For the next two years, we struggled with many losses.  We worked hard, but many skaters passed us up. We began to fight during practice periods.  Skating became torture instead of pleasure.  I remember crying all the time.  I was being torn apart.

During the summer of 1976, we went to Toronto, Canada, to get special choreographic instruction from a world-famous coach.  Going to Canada was our last hope.  We felt that we needed better choreography than our coach in Colorado Springs could give us.  We left Toronto with many new ideas, movements, and steps.  We were looking forward to a sure comeback.

Competition season in skating is during the winter.  We worked extremely hard that winter.  As the time for the Midwestern Championships approached, we grew excited.  We had high hopes.

We arrived at the competition site, in Ohio, a week early.  We could tell that people were surprised at our progress.  Our competitors definitely looked at us as a threat.  We were confident that we'd make a comeback and be going to the National Championships.

I still don't really know what went wrong on the day of the preliminaries.  All I know is that we placed last.  I remember smiling to keep the tears back.  My partner never left his hotel room until our final performance.  He'd lost hope; his self-worth was destroyed.

After that competition, I decided it was time to retire from skating.  The test I faced was a tough one: Was I worth anything without skating?  I knew nothing else, and I'd lived my whole life basing my worth as a person on my skating accomplishments.

After I quit, an entirely new world unfolded.  Unlike most young people, I had not had much social activity.  The world of people and activity opened up to me.  For the first time in my life, I went to parties, football games, and out to eat with people.  These people weren't all skaters.  For the first time in my life, I was an ordinary person.  I saw that I had some worth without having to prove it by winning a competition and a medal.  I felt as if I'd been reborn; each new day was so exciting.  Life was exciting!

It's been nearly five years since that dreadful competition.  One thing I'll always remember is that we did skate our best that day.  I look back on that experience as a meaningful one.  My life changed that day.  All that the world had to offer came into my life.  I had a chance to learn and find out about what life really is; I certainly passed the test.  I definitely respect myself now.  Winning is no longer everything.

----------

Here is the response to this papeer from my college professor:

Hooray for you, Jo Ann.  This was handled beautifully: it was both fascinating and convincing. Do you realize you wrote five pages in an hour?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Annabelle Schneider-Farris - Adagio Skating 12-1-16

Annabelle Schneider-Farris shows off some of her adagio skating skills in this video. (The two of us made the video together tonight and it is so much fun to watch!) Note...as usual, I'm so proud of my sweet daughter!

 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Annabelle Passes the Silver Samba International Dance Test Partnered by Ben Agosto! 11-13-16

Annabelle passed the Silver Samba international ice dance today, 11-13-16, partnered by one of her ice dance coaches Ben Agosto! (Non-skating friends: Ben is the 2006 Olympic Ice Dancing Silver Medalist! - pretty cool, huh?)


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Make America Skate Again!

A Facebook friend shared "Make America Skate Again!"

I agree...going skating or thinking about skating will take your mind off the recent election...my recommendation is go do something fun today!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Skating With Rhonda, Gabriella, Daniel, and Yossi Gordon 11-7-16

Rhonda and I have known one another for something "like 15 years" online, but finally connected only recently face to face. She's a busy home school mom and her kids are great. It was fun to skate with her and her kids and give them a few pointers too!






Monday, October 24, 2016

Joel in Stonehenge, United Kingdom! 10-24-16

My son Joel shared this photo today from Stonehenge, United Kingdom! He's have an amazing time in this European Disney On Ice Frozen tour!  He says these rocks have been here for 4,500 years!  Also, he commented that the English countryside is so beautiful and that he feels like he is in Narnia!


Lakewood Ice - Ice Hockey Skating Fun - Monday, 10-24-16

I skated today at Lakewood Ice. I started out in figure skates, but when this little four year old boy in ice hockey skates got on the ice, I changed into my hockey skates and had the best time playing with him and helping a young 21 year old man who had just begun to skate and hopes to play hockey.

The public was really empty (only about 5 or 6 people on the ice!), so all of a sudden, all of us on the ice that were skating began socialzing in our hockey skates and I had the best time.

What was fun today was that I just shared my love of skating without thinking about getting paid ...and that made it extra fun!

This photo was taken by the very friendly and nice skate guard. Lakewood Ice is a really fun ice rink!