Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Place for Memories

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that my life basically revolves around 4 things - my faith, my family, stamping and skating. My daughter Emma has been ice skating since she was 4 years old, she's 12 now, and has been competing both in singles and with the National Blades Synchronized Skating teams for the past 4 years. So, each week, 3 to 4 days a week, all year long, we make the 1/2 hour trek to our local rink, Prince William Ice Center. It's a pretty easy assumption to say that a good part of our lives revolves around available freestyle sessions and team practice ice.

The photo below shows our home rink on what appears to be a beautiful Summer day. It's one of the most familiar sights to our family and I can't begin to count the number of times we've been in and out of those front doors.

This is the front entrance to our rink as it stands today.

I have no words for this.

Usually I can be counted on to find something appropriate to say in whatever situation, whether witty or comforting, but today, I am just beyond sad.

It is a fortunate thing, I think, that in my life, I've been blessed to have never experienced the devastating loss of home or property to the extent that so many countless others have when disaster strikes. My heart always goes out to them, but somehow that always seems so far removed from me too.
Today, I think I understand a little bit better.

Our record setting snows this past week were just too much for the roof to handle and it collapsed under the weight of it all. No one, fortunately, was inside when it gave way, but what remained was the intangible feeling of home.
While this building didn't 'belong' to me and my family, we feel as if we've lost, at least temporarily, our home. To see it this way, so broken, just tears at my heart.

This ice rink was more than just a building, it was home to our community of families and friends brought together because of our collective love of skating and hockey.
Some of our dearest friends were made there. We shared joys and heartbreak, injuries and illnesses, births and deaths. You knew that when you were there on a Monday, you'd get to visit with one set of friends and on Wednesday, another group.
I have so many memories from this place - Emma's first skating lesson, holding the hands of her instructor, Marina; her first ice show performance in her blue velvet skating dress that made her feel like a princess; her first synchro team practice/try out where she left the ice crying because it was so hard - and the little girl who convinced her to come back and try it again.
Emma earned her first singles Gold Medal at this rink, and I got to put it around her neck.
Our ice rink was a constant in our lives, a place of wonderful memories and those yet to be made, a place where friends and families met - laughed together, cried together and stuck together.

And we will stick together.
The rink owners have said they are committed to rebuilding - and quickly. That makes my heart happy.
So, over the next many months, our 'family' will be scattered to whatever rink we can get to for ice time and coaching, but we have the knowledge that we will all be together again. Under a new roof, assuredly, but the spirit will be the same. Home.
To quote Emma's synchro coach, "Tough times don't last, tough people do."



  1. Robin, I am so sorry for your loss! My daughter was an Irish step dancer so I know how one's life can revolve around the less "common" sports activities -- I also had a girl scout who was home schooled so she could skate. Anyway, I'm up in Alexandria, an arbor we had over our deck collapsed with the storm last week, we're hoping the trees hold out today!

  2. Oh Robin, I'm so sorry! What a tragic loss. It's amazing to me how something so beautiful (the snow) can be so destructive. :(

  3. WOW! That is terrible! I am so thankful that no one was hurt! I love that saying: Tough times don't last, tough people do!

  4. Hi Robin. I heard that a skating rink had collapsed and i wondered if that was the one where Emma sorry to hear that it was. At least no one was hurt! With determination from the owners and help from the insurance company, they'll be able to rebuild. And the meantime, you members of the skating community will pull together to keep that spirit going in a new, temporary home. Best of luck!

  5. Hi Robin, I can sort of understand your attachment. Since you directed me to the rink for my kids I've been there too - although no where near as often as you! My son's current teacher is Marina and she is so sweet that I can imagine how precious your memory of your 4 year old daughter with her would be.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Emma and her team rise to the challenge and do better than ever this year!

  6. Oh my goodness I can't even believe that terrible. I was so happy to read that nobody was inside, that in itself is a blessing. I can't imagine how heavy your heart is right now for the loss of your rink. Thinking of you today.

  7. Robin, I am so sorry to see this. I was worried when I saw your post yesterday. I am so thankful that no one was in the building when the roof collapsed. Your family and community are in my thoughts.


  8. That is unreal. Praying for a quick rebuild to get life back to normal. Wishing you bright sunshine and 70 degree weather to melt some of that snow. ((hugs))

  9. OMG! When you told me about the rink, I had not even imagined this much devastation. I was just thinking the roof would need to be redone. But that is not the case...the roof didn't just cave in...almost all of the building went down with it...I know this is quite a blow to Emma and all the other skaters. Tell her to keep her chin up and for all of them to just do their very best and they will come out on top, despite the hardship of having to jump around to find a rink with available ice time. I am just glad that no one was in the building at the time of collapse, so their were no injuries. Let Emma and the others know that they will be in our prayers for their competition this weekend in PA.

    Cindy Ferenz
    Proud Parent of 2 Soldiers

  10. So sorry to hear about the loss of your rink home! My daughter is a figure skater too, but on roller skates, and we too spend three to four days a week at the rink. It does become like a second home. I hope that things go smoothly with the re-building of your rink.

  11. Oh my dear, Robin~ I am so sorry. I have read about Prince William Ice Center has collapsed and did not realize that Emma practiced there. Thanks God that no one is hurt. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Angel Hugs!

  12. Oh wow, Robin...I missed reading about this earlier! How sad. Hard to believe snow could do that much damage! I'm thinking about you and hope they get the new one up quickly!

  13. Robin, when you mentioned the rink's roof collapsing, I never envisioned it as devastating as those pictures show!

    Thank God there wasn't anyone inside.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Oh my goodness, that is awful, but while devastation is so traumatic, at least no lives were lost!! God is good, huh!!! Keep hanging in there!!!

  15. Oh Robin, my heart is aching for you and your family with this horrible loss!! Those pictures and your story brought tears to my eyes!!! I am sure you guys will get through this and will come out with a even more beautiful place to call home!! Take care!!

  16. Robin, I am so sorry.
    I pray for you every Monday. Tomorrow will be no exception.

  17. Oh. My. Goodness. I am SO sorry! That is so horrible and I feel awful! Glad they are rebuilding...but oh so sad. Keep us posted!!!!

  18. I am so sorry for what happened to your ice skating rink. I lived in Squaw Valley for 10 years and had the pleasure of skating in the ice rink that was built there for the 1960 Winter Olympics. In 1982 that rink was also destroyed by snow load, but never rebuilt. There's a parking lot in it's place. I know your story will have a much happier ending.


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