Saturday, May 20, 2017

Toria, We're Going to Miss You

There are lots of challenges I didn't think about when I started taking figure skating lessons several years ago -- the expense, the incredibly slow pace of progress, the sheer work it takes to master a skill that others make look so easy.  But on the plus side, one of things I also didn't bargain for was gaining a whole new set of friends.  With the very significant exception of my friend and colleague, Laura -- with whom I compare notes regularly and practice off-ice jumps in the hallway to the great amusement of our colleagues and students -- my ice skating hobby has yielded a wealth of new friends I would very likely not have crossed paths with otherwise.

One such friend is Toria, who skated on the University of Vermont skating team, and also majored in physics while she was an undergrad there.  To the good fortune of the Leddy Arena skating community, she stayed in Burlington the year after she graduated, and, among other things, helped run the skating programs for younger skaters.  During that year she also became a regular on our Tuesday night rock climbing adventures at Petra Cliffs climbing gym, and pursued a love of all cats, and of her own Arthur in particular that was so highly contagious I see her as more than a little responsible for the fact that I recently adopted Cat One from another of our mutual skating friends, Jackye.

Sadly for her Leddy crew (and Burlington friends generally) but happily for her boyfriend Sam, and the University of Lowell, Toria is leaving us.  She has been accepted into a graduate program in medical physics, and will be applying her 24-karat intellect to a new course of study.  We'll do our best to lure her back from time to time, but for now, as part of her sendoff, I put together a list of a few of the things about Toria I will miss the most:
1. Her uniquely dramatic landings (lying on her back) when being lowered from a tiring climbing route.
2.  Her amazing hair -- platinum blond, blue and purple.
3.  Her awesome sense of style.  Here for instance, she and Jackye model the crazy cat lady sweaters they wore to my birthday-on-ice party this year.

That's Toria on the left rocking the Christmas cat sweater.

4.  Her incredible skating.  Here are two of her of her favorite things to do on skates.  The first, her split leap, is in all her programs, and the second, her layback spin, is one she has been working on this year.

5.  And finally, perhaps the thing we will all miss the most is Toria's friendly, open and encouraging personality.  In a world that sometimes has a reputation for being snobbish and competitive, Toria always made being at the rink fun -- for everyone.  She will be deeply missed. Good luck in the next chapter, Toria, and thank you so much for your friendship, on-ice encouragement and great sense of fun and adventure; come back and visit and skate with us often!