Time and time again, as I interview people for my book, (Taking the Ice) I realize that many of us who are ‘in skating’ feel the same way…and that is that skating has taught us valuable lessons about how to be in the rest of our lives…namely taking pride in one’s job more than one’s accomplishments and the importance of generosity and volunteerism in today’s world.

Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Coach Extraordinaire, Carol Lane – part of the coaching team responsible for Canadian Ice Dance sensations Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier. She told me about being at a seminar recently and being asked how she could explain the success of Vanessa and Paul. “It’s simple” she says “I coach them every day the same way that I have been for the last 10 years.” She demonstrates commitment to her job and her desire to help her students improve. She could be seen just as proudly at the local Winter Glitters competition with her Pre-Preliminary Ladies as she was at the Olympics or Worlds.

I have had similar experiences when people have expressed surprise at seeing me announce at home club North Toronto’s club show. I am always surprised at the questions. I am delighted to be asked. It’s great when people think you do a nice job at something even nicer when you can offer that skill in your own backyard.

Last week the coaches at my club hosted an Awards evening for the first time where we invited all of the kids and their families. We asked them to bring a pot-luck dessert for our table and a non-perishable food item to be donated to a food bank for someone else’s. We decided as a group that we would nominate and vote on a recipient for the first ever “Skater of the XXX Session”. We had a great time doing it and we think that the kids were also delighted to know that they had been observed and their hard work acknowledged. The biggest problem was trying to come up with a small token for the 5 winners – fortunately for us Jason Dietrich of the Figure Skating Boutique kicked in some goodies for really cool gift bags for the kids.

On Saturday night, I was asked to fill in as an announcer for Kevin Frankish, a wonderful Toronto-area morning TV guy on Breakfast Television. He was to have announced the COS Margaret Garrison Memorial Show at the Hershey Centre and had to pull out because of a familly emergency. Kids from Canskate level to Patrick Chan all dontaed their time and energy to this wonderful cause and it was a great show. Here is something that stood out – The Icemen performed and we determined that along with their predecessors, Ice Nightmare, these guys have raised about $45,000 for breast cancer esearch during their history. Way to go guys!

As an aside, if I could go back and answer a question differently that was posed to me in an oline interview recently, I would:

“Have you ever coached anyone of any note?”

I wish that I had said: “Yeah – every last one of my skaters.”

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