Figure Skating: A Visit To The Silicon Valley Open
I often find it odd that I am a father of two figure skaters. I didn’t grow up in a winter climate. I live in Southern California. I played only team sports, none of which involved ice. And other than the major crush I had on Dorothy Hamill during the 1976 Olympics (and a little beyond), I knew very little about the sport. But my wife and daughters love it, so I’m learning to love it as well.
It was an easy task today, since both daughters medaled in their respective events at the 2008 Silicon Valley Open in San Jose.
Erin earned the gold medal, placing 1st out of 15 competitors in the Pre-Preliminary Group. Each of the five judges had her in first, a pretty rare feat. She was also awarded the Kayla Dopp Memorial Trophy (pictured above), which is given annually to the girls competitor with the best technical performance in the Pre-Preliminary group. The award is named for a talented and popular young skater who tragically lost her life in July of 2005, and Erin was honored and humbled to receive it.
Emily also skated wonderfully, and earned fourth place among a dozen other skaters in the very competitive Preliminary Group. Two of the five judges had her in second, but such are the vagaries of the scoring in ice skating. But Dad isn’t bitter. Really.
The two have been skating for a little more than three years now. They took it up later in life than most of their skating friends, but really took to it. They started in ISI competitions in and around Orange County (their home ice is the Westminster Ice Palace, and they skate for the All Year Figure Skating Club), and recently stepped up to skate at the USFS level, where everything is much more intense. Their current coach is 1975 World Champion and 1976 Olympic Silver medalist Dianne DeLeeuw. Last week they placed 2nd (Erin) and 5th (Emily) at the Glacier Falls competition at Anaheim Ice. The trek to San Jose was our first family ice skating road trip.
The SV Open is a four-day event held at Shark Ice, the training and practice facility for the San Jose Sharks NHL team. It’s an impressive place, with four rinks (or “sheets of ice” as the coaches and skate moms call them). Best of all, there is a great sports bar/restaurant (a warm island in the midst of all that cold) with windows on all sides so you can keep an eye on the action. The event itself was huge as well. More than 500 skaters representing 31 skating clubs took part.
It was a great first road trip experience!