The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - May 5

Mother's Day, Ashley Wagner and Glee

Brittney Rizo and Ashley Wagner.
Brittney Rizo and Ashley Wagner. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(05/05/2010) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins update the latest news in The Inside Edge.

Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn
Spring is club show time, and we've been going to a lot of them! On May 1, Ashley Wagner and 2003 U.S. pair champions Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn made an appearance in Boxborough, Massachusetts, at the Colonial Figure Skating Club's annual "Ice Crystals" show. The show benefits Sherry's House and Why Me, which offer help and a place to stay for families of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Scott is from Massachusetts, just like us, so she and Drew go way back. She and Dulebohn have been coaching in Delaware since they retired from competitive skating in 2006 and 2005, respectively. They told us they don't skate together very often, except for a show Scott produces that runs between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

"We do intermittent shows other than that," said Dulebohn. "We've done that show for the last four years. This show at Colonial came up and Tiffany really wanted to do it, so here we are!"

"We coach singles skaters, mostly," said Scott. "We don't have any pair teams."

"Every now and then we'll work with a pair team together," added Dulebohn. "Sometimes a pair will ask us for help and then it's really helpful to teach together. We get a lot more done that way."

Scott's husband, Brian Pryor, is a surgical resident in Philadelphia. The day we talked was not only her birthday but also their fifth wedding anniversary. She told us she graduated from the University of Delaware two years ago with a degree in applied nutrition.

"I do nutrition a little bit on the side, with skating," she said.

"Since I retired in 2005 I went to school part-time for about three years, and then this past year-and-a-half I've been going to school full-time at the University of Delaware, and I'm just about done with my bachelor's degree in finance. I might be trying to create some new opportunities for myself," Dulebohn said mysteriously. "I love coaching skating but I'm looking forward to doing it on a more part-time basis."

"I really enjoy producing shows," said Scott. "I enjoy organizing things."

Scott and Dulebohn's girlfriend, former skater Dirke Baker, have a company together called Ta-Da Ice Productions.

"Tiffany and Dirke had become good friends, and they were always hanging out together, and that's how Dirke and I got to know each other," said Dulebohn.

"I feel like we've been involved with skating for so long," he went on. "We're both really itching not necessarily to get away from skating, but just to do other things, explore other areas."

In the dressing room between shows, Wagner had an excited reunion with Brittney Rizo, who just finished her senior year at Northeastern. Rizo told her that she and Curran Oi (who is a freshman at MIT and still has a few weeks of classes left) didn't tell their classmates they were skaters.

"After a while, someone asked me if I went to the gym a lot, and I said, 'Well, sort of,'" said Rizo. "And then they saw my skates under my bed and said, 'What are these?'"

"That's just like that movie!" said Wagner, referring to Go Figure, the 2005 TV movie.

We commented that the Colonial show would have been rather short without Glee; at least four skaters skated to the soundtrack, along with a couple more numbers from the show's spiritual cousin Wicked thrown in.

Both Wagner and Rizo are big fans of Glee and we all started discussing the recent Madonna episode. Wagner (and Drew) thought it was the best ever. Sarah and Rizo are not yet convinced, but we all share an adoration of a recurring guest star: "I love Kristin Chenoweth," said Rizo. She is considering doing some musical theater at college next year.

Wagner said she's intrigued to see the Britney Spears episode, and speculated about a Lady Gaga-themed show.

"This may sound silly, but I don't even know what Glee is!" admitted Dulebohn.

Wagner's interests outside skating center on different aspects of the arts.

"I'm really interested in photography," she said. "I'm the number one fan of America's Next Top Model. Except for Stephen Carriere, he wins that prize."

"I read all the time, I love reading," she went on. "I've just read Still Alice, which is from the perspective of a woman who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. It was heart-wrenching."

We wondered what else she did for fun.

"I'm good at mini-golf! When I was younger, my grandfather took us to mini-golf and taught us all the tricks of the trade. So now I'm the master at mini-golf."

Also in the show were the U.S. novice pairs pewter medalists, Kylie Duarte and Colin Grafton. They are in the process of moving to Colorado Springs to train with Dalilah Sappenfield, so Drew is going to be seeing a lot more of them!

"Deciding to move to Colorado was a very difficult decision," said Grafton, "But after visiting the Springs in late April Kylie and I immediately fell in love with the outstanding training atmosphere and the amazing comradeship between all of the pair teams that train there under the very talented eye of Dalilah Sappenfield."

"Kylie and I will especially miss our coaches Debi Leeming and Sheryl Franks," he added.

Sarah is trying to get photos from all the shows she has attended this spring up on her website. Check out her new photos from Evening With Champions!

Mother's Day
Drew's roomie John Coughlin sent us the following heartfelt tribute to his mother Stacy, who died in February at the age of 48: "This Mother's Day will mark the first time I am without my own Mom to call, to send a card to, to give a hug, and just to tell 'Thanks' for what she did for me every day. She was never consumed with receiving recognition for her efforts. A random 'I love you' out of the blue was all she needed to keep going. But Mother's Day was one day where she didn't mind a little extra attention.

"I think my Mom was my biggest fan and supporter, and she loved the U.S. team because she knew how much it meant for me to finally be a part of it. The life experience I've gained through my sport is something I'll cherish always. If not for Mom following her heart and her instincts hundreds of times, I would have missed out on it all. I know I will honor her in how I lead the youth of our pair camp, and by giving back to the sport that gave me everything. I'll remember her every time I reach a new goal and miss having someone to brag to. When I squeeze Caitlin's hand three times before we compete and she knows it means "I Love You", I'll give my mom some credit there, too.

"So, on this particular Mother's Day I want to pay homage to all of the skating moms out there who ever braved a winter morning at 5:00 a.m. to get their kid to a figures lesson on time, and to every mom who carried two pairs of skates (figures and freestyle) in a bag larger than the child who wore them. To all the moms out there who fought to get gym credits for their child's skating so that they could miss that hour in favor of training, I say, 'Thank you.' To the moms who sacrifice their own wants and needs to make sure their little one has the same chance as everyone else, I say 'Keep it up.' All the moms who served on boards, played tapes at practice ice, made club shows feel like 'Stars On Ice,' and traveled caravan style to non-qualifying competitions in the middle of nowhere, we'll love you forever.

"It took a while, but I finally figured out that everything good in me came from my parents. Give yours a hug and a kiss today for me. Remember what you'll someday refer to as 'the good old days' may be happening right now. Find them in the crowd before you skate, say hi to them in the kiss-and-cry, and always buy the video because they don't care if you fell."

Happy Mother's Day to all the skating moms out there,
Sarah and Drew
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