Stirling Club Finds the Silver Lining
STIRLING – It was the late John Lennon who once remarked: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…”
And that, of course, is precisely what happened just a few short months ago. Since its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to almost all countries of the world and has fundamentally changed our lives and the way society functions, at least in the foreseeable future. Social and physical distancing measures, temporary lockdowns of businesses, schools, along with restrictions placed on various aspects of social life have become commonplace in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease. These constraints impact almost all facets of life. Most days it seems like every fun-filled activity or event has been canceled or postponed.
Such was the case earlier this year when Skate Ontario made the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel the four-day Skate Ontario Provincial Championships that would have been held in Belleville from March 26 -29 at the Quinte Sport & Wellness Centre.
“We were notified of the cancelation just two weeks before the event,” explained Laurie McMurray, Stirling Figure Skating Club vice president, “and it was a devastating blow. We had been working tirelessly for well over a year with the Trenton Figure Skating Club, making all arrangements to host the competition only to see it all disappear.”
McMurray went on to describe the wide-ranging impact of the sudden cancellation of the provincials. The competition would have attracted more than 1,000 young skaters and their families to the city for at least four days, thereby making a significant impact on local businesses. Just one more casualty in the wake of this insidious pandemic. But the cancellation of the provincials was felt quite personally as well as five young skaters from Stirling, along with seven skaters from the Trenton club, had qualified for the event.
“This was just heartbreaking for these kids,” said McMurray, “they had all worked so hard to achieve this goal. I suppose our main goal for the future is to get back to whatever will be our new normal… not sure what that will look like but Skate Ontario has been very proactive in putting the safest protocols and guidelines in place for all clubs, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
The executive of the Stirling Figure Skating Club quickly realized they must try to recoup some of the financial losses from the cancelled event. And so they have made arrangements with Skate Ontario to sell the 800 commemorative pins they had commissioned and planned to sell at the provincials in March. To date, online sales of these distinctive pins have been brisk – the first glimpse of a silver lining in a very dark cloud.
“Needless to say our skaters and instructors are most anxious to get back on the ice,” stated an enthusiastic McMurray, “even though we can’t be sure what our next season will look like. But there is more good news in that we have been assured there is a strong possibility that our club and the Trenton club will be offered the chance to host the provincials in the very near future. We’re hoping for the best. Only time will tell.”