by Jenni Klock Morel
I step onto the ice wearing a nervous smile and a pale, pink dress. The competition announcer cajoles the audience to welcome Jenni and David to the ice. We share a final okay, we’re really doing this glance, bend our knees, and take our first stroke in near-perfect unison. At center ice, we settle into our intro poses. The music begins …
“Now I’ve had the time of my life, no I never felt like this before…” The iconic song chimes from the speakers. And in that moment a lifelong dream of mine came true.
As a pre-tween, I dared to dream that one day I would recreate the last dance from “Dirty Dancing.” Through the years, that last dance never ceased to mesmerize me. Bad boy Johnny Castle and his bold proclamation that “nobody puts baby in a corner,” never failed to inspire me.
I never pictured performing my last dance rendition on the ice; however, I didn’t grow up skating. Six years ago, I took to the ice for the first time and from that first beginner’s class for adults, I was hooked. There is something magical about being on the ice that grips me. Gliding effortlessly across fresh ice is pure freedom. No sound satisfies quite like the rip of a deep edge. Stepping onto the ice ignites a part of me that I never knew existed.
I was fortunate to be introduced to ISI early on; I believe this made all the difference in my skating. ISI laid a skating path for me, even as an adult. ISI gave me testing goals and the opportunity to compete as a solo skater, a pair skater and as part of an adult production team.
I once read a quote, superimposed onto a photo of a tattered figure skate, that deeply resonates with me: “First you are a part of it, then it becomes a part of you.”
Figure skating is a challenging and rewarding sport for all ages. This sport has brought more joy in my life than I can put into words. I have not only met some of my best friends at the rink, but I have also learned so much about myself. Skating brought out a tenacity and grit I never knew I had.
“Cause I’ve had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you…” As a little girl, I had a dream, and that dream developed into a pairs skating goal. In those two minutes and eight seconds on the ice, that goal came to fruition. David and I skated a routine we’re proud of and although it wasn’t perfect, it didn’t matter — skating is about the journey.
Stepping onto the ice demands bravery, a willingness to be vulnerable and an opportunity to overcome your fear. Ice skating has taught me many things, but most importantly it’s taught me that it’s never too late to do what you want to do, become who you want to be.