by Rosie Emerson
The Wissahickon Skating Club is a favorite place of mine. It’s not just the wavy glass panes that let the morning light in or the cheery attitude of everyone there that makes it so special. The Wissahickon Skating Club has been in our community for more than 60 years. My mother skated there during high school, and now, so have I. There are so many people at the rink that have seen it blossom from a community project into the successful club it is now.
The Wissahickon Skating Club was founded in the early 1950s by a group of prominent Chestnut Hill families who felt strongly that an ice skating facility should be a part of their community. The Club opened in October of 1956. For the first several years of operation, the Club operated on a 7 month season. Additional equipment was installed in the late ’50′s to permit summer operation and by 1960 the Club provided aspiring figure and hockey skaters the opportunity to hone their skills year-round.
The rink has quite an exciting history, from hosting the 1998 United States Figure Skating National Championships to having an alumni hockey player, Mike Richter, goaltend for the United States in the Olympics.
My personal connection to the rink is through its strong Synchronized Skating Team, Philadelphia Symmetry. I skated on the team for almost seven years, starting when I was eight. I never knew about “synchro” until my mom convinced me to try out after hearing good things from other parents whose daughters loved it. Unlike what you might have guessed I didn’t love it at first like I do now. I didn’t know any of the girls who were on the team and the idea of being with them for a whole season scared me. However, I was soon to find out that choosing to skate on the team would quickly change my entire view on skating and on friendship.
My new teammates became my best friends. I could talk to them forever after practice and we would have sleepovers after Friday night practice. A girl named Sarah was like a big sister to me. We all worked so well together that at one of our first competitions of the season we won gold!
I learned to love having the support of a team. It wasn’t just the constant talking or the joy of winning that kept us together. We all bonded over the one thing we had in common, we loved the ice. We were like one big family. Some of the friendships I made on my first few years on the team, I will never lose. Now, even though I am on a different team, I can’t wait to see all of my friends compete. I think the most special part of synchro is actually the friendships that you make that are impossible to have if you were competing against them.
Wissahickon Skating Club is like a second home to me. I learned so many things there that I hold onto so dearly now. I saw how to be passionate, hard working, strong and wise. The atmosphere of a joy for the ice is what makes this place in Chestnut Hill so special.
All of Philadelphia Symmetry’s teams will perform in the rinks spring show, “The Wisscapades”, alongside some of Wissahickon’s most talented adult skaters and kids. This years show is called “A Tribute To Philadelphia” and is going to be a great time.
If you or you’re child are interested in ice skating, come to Learn to Skate. In these sessions you learn the basic skills of skating. There is also an intro to synchro class that you can join for free if you skate at basic level 1-4.
The 2016 Wisscapades Ice Show will be held on April 9th at 7:00 p.m and Learn to skate is Fridays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:45 am. For more information visit Wissahickon Skating Club’s website at http://www.wissskating.com
Rosie Emerson ’17 is a Junior at Germantown Friends School and a member of Team USA in Synchronized Skating.