In my blog of two weeks ago about the value of outstanding coaches, I wrote that my December blogs would be a little more personal, and in writing about my figure skating coach Paula McKinley, I promised to follow up with this blog “Finding and Pursuing a New Passion.”
As I approach my 60th birthday I could not fathom that I would start something totally new. I already have plenty of hobbies and activities including my new consulting practice. But indeed I took the chance to try something new and frankly outside my comfort zone, and discovered something that is giving me unbelievable joy.
A real highlight of my skating journey has been skating with American icon Olympic Champion Dorothy Hamill at her skating camp
With retiring from full time work to being a part-time entrepreneur, I had the time to start attending the entire week of the US Figure Skating Nationals every year and I even traveled to Finland to watch an international competition. Earlier this year, I thought I might want to get off the couch (or out of the stands) as a spectator and try figure skating myself. I am in good health, do a lot of hiking and have a slender and somewhat flexible body conducive to skating.
In May I was fitted for custom skates and secured a private coach at the Central Carolina Skating Club in Hillsborough, NC. I also signed up for the week long Dorothy Hamill Adult Fantasy Figure Skating Camp in October, which provided me extra incentive to get serious about starting lessons so the camp experience would be more worthwhile.
The figure skating journey started in May with getting fitted for the boots.
From those first extremely tentative steps on the slippery ice as a beginner skater, I have made fast progress and am now very comfortable on the ice. My coach Paula McKinley
taught me the correct basics and prepared me for the week long camp where we would spend five hours each day on the ice. I was a little nervous about the length of days and the advanced skills of the other skaters, but by the second day I was discovering the sheer joy of skating and after 5 hours did not want to leave the ice at the end of the day! Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill and the other world-class coaches were very encouraging and told me I had a real talent for skating and was learning very quickly.
Now I am very comfortable on the ice, and hate to leave once I start!
The week culminated in performing for the local people where the camp was held, and I discovered that skating while hamming it for an audience was great fun. I was in tears by the end of the week, realizing that 6 months short of my 60th birthday, I have found a new love, a new passion! I cannot wait to get on the ice for practice and lessons, and I look forward to jumping and spinning, and even competing in the adult ranks in the future as well as participating in more ice shows.
NOTE: This week my coach and I are skating a duet number at the Central Carolina Skating Club’s annual production of Nutcracker on Ice Dec 19 and 20th after which I will start training for my first competition in May.