Written by Sarah Hughes, editorial@AntonNews.com Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
While each family celebrates the new year in their own way, skating enthusiasts and members of United States Figure Skating (USFS) have their own tradition: kicking off the year with a National Skating Month event at their local rink.
Throughout January, skating clubs across the country celebrate the sport by hosting a myriad of skating-themed activities to create a fun-filled afternoon, or in this case, morning. On Sunday, January 13th, Great Neck Figure Skating Club (GNFSC) kept over 120 skaters and their families entertained during two hours of festivities.
USFS is thrilled with the success of this initiation, saying 2013 is the largest participation in National Skating Month they’ve ever had.
“I couldn’t be happier with how our clubs, Basic Skills Programs and rinks across the country have embraced this golden opportunity to promote ice skating, inviting families in their communities to give skating a try,” Susi Wehrli-McLaughlin, Senior Director of Membership at USFS, told me.
One of the highlights for many children at GNFSC’s event was receiving a gift bag upon arrival, which included, among other things, a decorative towel to clean their skating blades and Snowplow Sam souvenirs.
Starting at 7:45 a.m., coaches Farah Gholamazad and Celeste Estrada led an on-ice skills class followed by a free skating session, with skaters of all levels gliding and dancing on the ice to popular tunes streamed through the speaker system. A bagel breakfast and hot chocolate was especially popular during breaks.
Last year, my sister Emily (2006 Olympian in Figure Skating) and I went to Albany, and skated on an outdoor rink at one of the National Skating Month events. Other National Skating Month events I’ve participated in over the years include ones in Atlantic City, Chicago, Sugarland. Tx., and New York City.
However, this was the first one I’ve been to where synchronized skating teams performed in an exhibition. “Team Image” and two teams representing the “Skyliners” dazzled the audience with their footwork, turns and moves done with great precision. The pre-juvenile “Skyliners” team entertained the audience with their Elvis Presley medley, fittingly dressed in matching white and gold dresses.
Following their numbers, I skated to “What I Did For Love,” from A Chorus Line.
One of the things that made this event special for me was being able to share it with my young nieces, who skate recreationally. “I really liked it,” Natalie Parker, 8, said. “It was so much fun. I loved the raffle and the freestyle skating. It was the best thing in the world!”
Alexandra Parker, also 8, agreed. “I just loved it,” she said. “It was great. If I could, I would’ve stayed at the rink for the rest of the week!”
A big thank you to Parkwood Pro Shop owner Phil Zhukovin for donating raffle items and to GNFSC President Cindy Zubli, Andy Rimar and Gigi Politoski for making this event a great success.
All portions of the morning were provided free by the Great Neck Figure Skating Club at the Parkwood Sports Complex on Arrandale Avenue.