Skating not just for the young
Brigit Ferry and mom, Greenfield endocrinologist Margaret Ferry, performed together during Sunday's Holiday Exhbition at the Collins-Moylan Skating Arena in Greenfield. Recorder/Trish Crapo
Mia Snedeker, 6, jumps into the air during Sunday's Holiday Exhibition at the Collins-Moylan Skating Arena in Greenfield. Snedeker was one of the youngest skaters in the exhibition. Recorder/Trish Crapo
Brandi Weyers skated in the Holiday Exhibition at the Collins-Moylan Skating Arena in Greenfield on Sunday. Recorder/Trish Crapo
GREENFIELD — The local ponds may not be ready to support skaters but the winter pursuit is well under way at the Collins-Moylan Arena, where a figure skaters displayed the fearless grace of endless practice in a brief ice show Sunday.
All students at the rink, the 13 skaters took turns weaving across the ice, separately or in pairs, in glides punctuated with spins, jumps and the occasional gracefully recovered fall.
Skating Director Suzanne McCaughtry narrated as Brandi Weyers of Northfield performed a series of layback spins, arched backward on one foot, a one-and-a-half revolution axle jump, camel and seated spins. A camel spin has the skater supported on one leg, the other leg and torso parallel to the ice.
“I tell people I’m more comfortable on the ice than on the land,” Weyers said, adding her friends are always amazed she skates, given that she is prone to walking into things when off skates.
Weyers, 17, said she gave skating a try because a friend did it and has continued for 11 years, eight or nine of those under McCaughtry’s coaching, because of the relaxation it brings.
No matter how much she doesn’t feel like it, or doesn’t think she has time, Weyers said that disappears once she’s on the ice.
McCaughtry said the purpose of the mini ice show, 40 minutes stolen between the public skating time and lessons, was to display the potential and variety of the sport to those who show up for the public skate, with performances by skaters of various experience levels and aged 6 through their mid-60s.
Linda Lopatka, 64, of Sunderland, and Ruth Morse, 63, of Hadley, perform a routine prepared for an earlier competition, taking the ice with a sled and pantomiming a snowball fight and other winter pursuits to the tune of “Let it Snow.”
Both say they’ve been taking lessons for about ten years and occasionally team up for competitions.
“I’ve always wanted to skate,” Morse said.
“I guess the same goes for me, when my daughter took lessons I took lessons, then stopped for a long time and started again, and I took it up as something to do in retirement,” Lopatka said.
“And we get to have pretty sparkly dresses when we go to competitions,” Morse added.
Both enjoy other sports as well but find skating a good addition to the mix.
Morse dances and used to do gymnastics, but gave it up.
“Gymnastics was not a lifetime sport; skating is,” Morse said, citing the amount of equipment required and usual loss of flexibility with age.
At the end of the 12 performances, some of the 13 are back on the ice for lessons with the arena’s Learn to Skate program, whether as students or instructors.
The day’s public skate was also a food drive, with donations of nonperishables bringing free admission to the next public skate at the 41 Barr Ave. arena, by Greenfield High School.
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