Jimmy is a 13-year-old figure skater who skates in events organized by the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped
(SABAH). At the age of three, Jimmy was introduced to figure skating by a skating instructor who visited his school (a school specifically for visually-impaired kids) to tell them about ice skating, and how to get involved. Jimmy says, "I went home that day and told my mom all about it. She thought it was cool, and that's when I got started!');return false"
Take 1,400 performers, more than 10,000 fans, costumes, and some really great moves, and what do you have? SABAH stars! Skaters practice all year for this annual ice-skating extravaganza. Jimmy says he practices every Saturday for at least an hour. "We perform at the Amherst Pepsi Center in Williamsville, NY. Every year, our coach picks people to do solos. In 1998, I had a solo. I was Fagin from the musical Oliver!" Jimmy also had a chance to show off his skating abilities in Pennsylvania and Rochester, New York when he traveled there to perform.
Jimmy and his skating buds in the ten-and-over division are hard at work practicing for this year's performance, SABAH's 25th Anniversary Celebration "Holiday Skate." "One really hard routine we are working on is we start out in a pinwheel shape, and then we have to form into one huge line it will be hard!" Professional figure skater Brian Boitano is also taking to the ice to perform with SABAH's super stars!
Although Jimmy practices hard, he admits his favorite part of the Saturday practice sessions is free time. "I love to just skate around!"
Jimmy says he has almost ten years of experience skating, but anyone can try it out. "SABAH has three different skating groups. In group one, the kids have to use walkers and braces. Group two has kids who can do some things by themselves, but also need help. Group three is the kids that can skate on their own I'm in group three." Each skater has a special volunteer to hang out with each Saturday. The volunteers make sure the skaters are learning and having a great time!
But, the most important thing to remember is to be safe! Jimmy says he knows from experience. "I was skating too fast I tried to do a hockey stop with figure skates on, and I fell. I had to get off of the ice for the whole day I had to wait to skate again for a whole week!"
Take Jimmy's advice...anyone can do it! Whether you're looking for lessons, or an afternoon hang out for you and your friends, ice skating rinks have lots of opportunities for learning and fun!
more info on figure skating!