It doesn’t take Kate Forget long to respond to the query of what she’ll miss most now that her three-year stint as head coach of the Rainy River Figure Skating Club likely has come to an end.
“My fondest memory? Just the skaters,” the Ingersoll native and current Devlin resident said when interviewed last week–two days after the club held its annual ice show, this year entitled “True Colours,” on March 11-12 at the Rainy River Recreation Centre.
“It hasn’t been three days and I already miss being on the ice, skating with the wind in my hair and even getting frozen toes,” she remarked.
“And certainly I miss their smiling faces.”
While not absolutely certain, Forget was almost completely sure she’ll be stepping away from the club come next season so she and her husband can, as she put it, “seek upcoming adventures.”
“This gives us some travel opportunities, which is important to us since our family doesn’t live in the area,” said Forget, who works at Brockie’s Jewellers in Fort Frances while her husband is employed as a paramedic with the local DSSAB.
When Forget first arrived on the scene, she found a collection of good skaters who had the potential to get better.
“Them having a coach with competitive experience I thought could help them even more,” she reasoned.
“I used competitive strategies that I worked into their warm-ups and techniques of their recreational routines to try and change it to a more competitive routine.”
What Forget didn’t have to worry about was the commitment level of both her skaters and their families.
“It was amazing to see them come out when it was so cold in that arena some days and improve their skill level, even when the climate is a deterrent to being out there,” she lauded.
“And the commitment of the parents, for a recreational club, is amazing,” she added.
“They’re out there in the cold watching and they’re still having fun.”
The club started the season with 77 skaters, with some crossing the border from Baudette, Mn. but mostly emanating from the Rainy River area.
“They always impress me by the time the [ice] show comes around,” said Forget.
“They always seem to make their numbers nice and clean and beautiful.
“Not only do I enjoy being out there and skating myself, but I enjoy sharing that passion with the kids and see their enlightenment when things go the way they want them to,” she added.
“When they execute the moves properly, and when they think they can’t do something and then find out they can.”
Her appreciation for the skaters is mutual–as was obvious when many came off the ice after the grand finale of the ice show and expressed their gratitude through words of thanks and affectionate hugs.
“It means the world to me,” Forget admitted. “I start to cry just thinking about it.
“Every single one of those kids has impacted my life in a positive way.”
On the down side, Forget is somewhat uncertain about the future of both the club and the arena she’ll leave behind.
“I’ve heard the arena is on its way out and might get torn down, and I also hear that it might get funding to expand,” she noted.
“The gossip goes both ways so I have no idea.
“But I have faith the club and its members are willing to, if they are not already, do everything they can to make the club everything it can be,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, getting a chance to coach the club allowed Forget to cross a long-term goal off her list that was set back when she was the same age as some of her skaters.
“Ever since I was old enough to imagine having a career, coaching was one of the dreams that I had,” she remarked.
“I’m super glad I was able to fulfill that dream and I wish I could continue on with it,” Forget added.
“But unfortunately, I want to be able to keep my season free to do other things.”