In case you missed my post during our “high school throwback week” awhile back, I’ll sum up my high school experience for you here in three phrases: national Latin conventions, lots of babysitting, and figure skating obsession.
I spent years of my childhood ice skating at various rinks across Connecticut. My very patient mother will tell you we spent hours, days, actually in the freezing cold listening to skating routine songs blasting on repeat (mix-tape style, as you do) for literally years. I think I skated to every song on the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack at some point, and let’s not discuss the synchronized group routine to “Tribal Dance” off the Jock Jams album. When I wasn’t skating, I was watching the pros do it. My two all-time favorite skaters were Nancy Kerrigan and Kristi Yamaguchi. I remember watching the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics at a party with my fellow skaters and wishing I could grow up to be exactly like Ms. Kerrigan. She was so graceful and such a strong skater. Especially after her amazing comeback following the attack plotted by Tonya Harding, I was always impressed.
Well, fast-forward (gulp!) 19 years, and I finally met Nancy Kerrigan!!!!!
Yup. You read that correctly. I met one of my childhood idols. Foxwoods invited Michelle Noehren, founder and editor of this very website, to attend the opening festivities for the Foxwoods MGM Grand Rink and Winter Patio in Mashantucket, CT last Thursday, December 5th. When she asked if any bloggers were interested in attending with her…I was a little excited, to put it calmly. My skating days are long behind me, but I still enjoy heading to the rink when I can. I live fairly close to Foxwoods, and I’m always looking for fun family activities, and …Nancy Kerrigan would be there.
First, I’d like to say that Foxwoods is somewhat tricky to navigate. Second, I will say the trickiness of the navigation was soon forgotten when I saw this gorgeous rink. Seriously, I was assuming I’d have kind of neutral feelings about the actual rink itself, as I’m not a casino fan at all, but this outdoor rink has fire pits, gorgeous holiday decor, cocoa, cider, thousands and thousands of twinkling lights…it was really breathtaking. We will for sure be back with the kids a.s.a.p.
Ms. Kerrigan looks exactly the same as she did in 1994. The woman hasn’t aged a day. I am happy to report, however, that even former Olympic athletes now wear yoga pants. This made me smile. She of course skated beautifully, and her skating was followed by an absolutely adorable routine by young skaters in holiday attire. She was wonderful and supportive to the kids on the ice, cheering them on and encouraging them. She even signed an autograph for me, and Michelle and I managed to get a professional photo with her and hockey great Terry O’Reilly.
I resisted the urge to break into this:
…and instead awkwardly blurted out “It’s so nice to meet you, and you were my childhood idol, and you skated beautifully, and could I please get an autograph?!?!” I’m known for my smoothness. 😉
So thanks, Michelle, for making a dream that was 19 years in the making come true. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy meeting Ms. Kerrigan and seeing her skate in person, but I also really loved getting the chance to see the rink…and I cannot wait to return!
Full disclosure: I was not paid to write a review of the Foxwoods MGM Grand Rink and Winter Patio. They did provide me with free passes, but I was not otherwise compensated. This review reflects my unbiased opinion of the event, facilities, and of course, Nancy Kerrigan. 🙂