Amanda Farkas was ten years old when she joined The Skating Club of Boston in 1986. While she previously had skated at another club, the time had come to focus her talents in a more competitive training environment.
“My parents said, ‘OK, let’s make the move,’” recalls Farkas, who started with the late Paul McGrath – two-time world professional figure skating champion – and would go on to her own distinctive competitive career.
Farkas’ multiple accomplishments include being an intermediate ladies regional champion, a novice ladies sectional champion, senior ladies regional champion, a six-time national competitor, and an international competitor.
Though an injury would later cause her to step back from competition and finish her degree in finance at Boston University, the Club remains, as ever, at the center of her life.
“The Club has been a second family,” she says. “I’ve called it my second home for almost 30 years because it’s always been a place of camaraderie and support for skaters and families of all levels and disciplines. I’m happy to be part of a positive environment that has brought generations of families together to skate.”
Farkas has coached at the Club for more than two decades, working with students from age 4 to 24. It’s a job that might find her drawing figure eights on the ice for her younger students or helping older ones—including junior world competitors, national medalists, and international medalists—polish their spins. Amanda is highly regarded throughout the region as a spin specialist for skaters.
Coaching, she grants, is a profession that is nothing close to a five-day-a-week, nine-to-five desk job she might have had in business, but then she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I have a passion for the sport, and I’m lucky that I can continue as a coach,” she says. “I love that I can teach not only the sport but also about life—and that’s why I continue to teach.”
Indeed, asked to sum up her coaching philosophy, Farkas says she hopes “to build confidence in [her students’] abilities as skaters and most importantly as people.”
While it’s important for her students to hone their skills, “I also want them to be respectful of others and to be responsible,” she says. “You have to skate three hours a day, but you also have math homework. You have to be disciplined enough to fit everything into your day.”
Essential to that balance, she adds, is arriving at a sense of confidence in one’s ability to strive and improve. Skating, after all, “is a sport of repetition,” and one of consistent falling and getting back up again.
“My students will practice over and over and then one day they get it just right,” she says. “That’s a great feeling and I remember it myself, when I worked hard on something and finally got it. So to me, skating is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that’s on a slow, steady incline. It takes hard work and time.”
Now Farkas is anticipating the expanded opportunities to bring skating to a wider audience with the Club’s upcoming move to Norwood. Recalling a recent tour, she says, “I got the chills. I thought, ‘Wow this is going to be amazing.’”
She and her family also donated four chairs in the performance center, “one for each of us. My family was so involved in the Club when I skated, so they wanted to join me in showing their support.”
The three new rinks will open up more rink time for more skaters, she says, and it’s a big plus that skaters will no longer have to travel for dance or medical care.
“I think it will inspire us all,” she says. “It’s likely to really push us even more. So many aspects of the facility will just make us even more focused and stronger as a community.”