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Figure Skating Is About Getting Up

Figure Skating Is About Getting Up
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“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!

Happy Skating!

JO ANN Schneider Farris

Further Reading:

Jo Ann Schneider-Farris Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in figure skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author. Jo Ann was the Figure Skating Expert for About.com for 10 years. Jo Ann began skating as a young child. She won a silver medal in the junior dance event at the United States National Figure Skating Championships and is a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. She coached figure skating and has trained skaters of all ages and levels. In addition, Jo Ann taught hockey players to skate and gave instruction in power skating. She is the author of two skating books: How to Jump and Spin on In-Line Skates, the only book of its kind on inline figure skating, and a personal memoir, My Skating Life: Fifty Plus Years of Skating. Jo Ann also has contributed articles that have been included on the US Figure Skating website and the icenetwork.com website, in SKATING Magazine, Ice Skating Institute's magazine, the Professional Skaters Association magazine, and she also wrote about ice skating for Examiner.com. She is a member of the Professional Skaters Association, The Broadmoor Skating Club, and U.S. Figure Skating. Jo Ann is a graduate of the famous Hollywood Professional School, a school that once was in southern California where many serious figure skaters attended, including Peggy Fleming. She is also a graduate of Colorado College and holds a teaching credential from California State University Long Beach. As a figure skating competitor, she trained under World Ice Dance Champion and Olympic Coach Doreen Denny and also Darlene Gilbert, who has trained international and national teams. From JO ANN Schneider Farris: Hi and Happy Skating! Yes, Happy Skating is my motto. I hope to share my love of the sport and my knowledge of it with you and my goal is to link skaters from all over the world on this site. Happy Skating! Please join me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Google+ and Pinterest. Email me at joannfarris@yahoo.com

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