By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
Check out the latest entry from our roving reporters, Sarah Brannen and Drew Meekins.
Our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Nick LaRoche for his tragic loss. Nick is a great guy and a good friend. Our thoughts are with his family.
Gabbing with Garrett
After we caught up with Katie Orscher last week, we wondered what was up with her former partner Garrett Lucash. Katie and Garrett were the 2005 U.S. champions, and split up after the 2005-2006 season, due mostly to injuries. If you read our last blog, you know that Katie is now skating with Rusty Fein and hopes to compete next season. Garrett has left the competitive scene and he's now devoting himself to coaching. We gave him a call last week and found him out and about in Boston.
Now, when you're talking to Garrett, it's necessary to discuss the Red Sox before you talk about anything else! He went to some of the playoff games last year, as the Sox were on the way to the 2007 World Series title. "I went to the last two American League Championship games, against the Cleveland Indians. That was awesome! At this point now, Red Sox Nation is kind of expecting championships -- I think we're starting to get big-headed."
Well, maybe they'll just keep winning? "You know, Boston is the best sports city in the world. The Patriots went to the Super Bowl, the Boston Celtics just won the championship, so it's been a great couple of years here."
Last summer, Garrett was on a dating reality show, in which he had short dates with three women during a Red Sox game. He said the "reality" was quite different from the show -- they cut together answers and questions the women hadn't been responding to, and held up cue cards with questions Garrett was required to ask. "It was a lot of fun -- I got to go to a free game, but what they showed on TV wasn't really what happened during the game. One of the questions was something they made fun of me for on the show, but it was their question!"
Despite his passion for sports, Garrett says that since he has retired he's not really up-to-date on current skating competitors. What he is focused on is coaching. He and Dmitry Palamarchuk, a four-time Ukrainian pair champion, have founded the National Figure Skating Academy in Revere, Mass.
"I'm trying to set up a more affordable alternative for figure skating. When I was skating with Katie, we were skating in groups with other pair teams. It makes you more responsible for yourself, rather than coming over to your coach after every jump, like a little puppy dog! Instead of a coach micro-managing you, they're kind of overseeing you, correcting mistakes, things like that.
"Because you're in a group, it's more affordable -- you can be in a class for a lot longer. Instead of one half-hour lesson a day, you can have two hours of class a day. On top of that, you're around other skaters, so it's almost like a constant competition every day. It makes you want to step up your game and work hard and impress the coach."
The academy has about twenty-five students right now, ("No pairs, unfortunately!") all basic skills skaters.
"We're the first impression on their skating careers," says Garrett.
We felt like we ought to be good journalists and ask Garrett what he thinks of pair skating today. "It seems like instead of seeing stories performed on the ice, I'm looking at a circus act and it's really turned me off. I'm a big fan of line, stroking and edges, the story, the connection, and now it's just about how many points you can get."
Earlier this year, Orscher came up to Revere and skated with Garrett a little, for old times' sake. "We did a throw triple flip the first day," said Katie. "We did off-ice lifts, and it was like we just stopped yesterday. We really enjoyed it -- we were like, 'Wow, we've still got it!'"
Garrett has a busy summer planned, including some scuba shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes with ice dancer Brandon Forsyth. "And I'm getting a puppy! An Olde Boston Bulldoggie. It's a very cute, lovable, athletic dog, and I can't wait to get him."
Senior pair Amber Wehrle and Nicholas Kole got engaged yesterday (July 2), on Amber's 22nd birthday. She always said she wanted to be engaged before she turned 22, so Nick proposed in the morning, before the hour of her birth. Their fellow Broadmoor teammates threw them a surprise party in between sessions to celebrate the news. There were bubbles, cake, sparkling cider and even some "marital" gifts! The couple is planning to compete through the 2010 season and then settle down. Congratulations!
We were chatting with Tim Goebel the other day -- he was busy studying linear algebra, which he described as "Oodles of fun!"
Tim sported a Mohawk haircut all spring, a blue one, no less, which had become quite infamous. He recently chopped it off and went to a crew-cut look. "After several bleachings, blue dye and straightening, it looked really busted," said Tim. He realized it was time for a change when his friends "staged an intervention" to prevent the return of the Mohawk and ensure his return to fabulousness.
Curly hair is such a responsibility, isn't it? "It really is... I'm far too lazy for such nonsense." It seems a lesson was learned!
Camping at the Broadmoor
We saw bits of the Broadmoor Open last weekend; the highlight for us was MeeRan Trombley and Larry Ibarra's passionate and exciting free skate. They capitalized on a fantastic triple twist and great, easy lifts, which gave them enough points to secure the win. Nicely done! We also have to give a shout-out to Ryan Bradley's
awesome performance in the senior men's jump competition. This is an odd animal, no music, no choreography, just guys trying to out-jump one another. Ryan did two beautiful triple Axels and a perfect quad toe-triple toe-triple loop, (which he also landed in the senior men's free skate warm-up). Jeremy Abbott
impressed by trying two different quads in the jump competition, toe loop and Salchow. We've seen him land some very nice quad Salchows in practice lately.
Jeremy has a cool new costume for his free skate, but its black velvet pants and deep purple top blended in perfectly with the background at the competition, turning him into the invisible man. The costume has laces up the sleeves and he's going to change them slightly so he doesn't disappear next time.
After the competition, a few skaters went on a little camping trip to unwind. Now, our idea of "camping" would be grilling on the deck, toasting a few marshmallows, and then going inside to sleep in a bed. With sheets. As far as being outdoors-y goes, we usually draw the line at a yacht with a hot shower and a refrigerator. Nevertheless, off we went to the mountains, with about fifteen skaters. Tents and all. It was fun, kind of... We were on the lookout for bears after seeing one a couple of weeks ago but there were no wild animal sightings. We roasted hot dogs and s'mores and played some traditional and not-so-traditional camping games. Enough said about that!
Everybody stay cool,
Sarah and Drew
To contact Sarah and Drew, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org