Indeed, The Skating Club of Boston has exerted a powerful gravitational pull on Jane for decades: she rekindled her passion for the sport in her mid-20s, pushed herself to excel (and medal) in her 30s, and now, in her mid-50s, she’s taken up something new—ice dancing.
Still, even as she relates that long arc, she’s gives credit to late coach Tommy McGinnis, legendary in the figure-skating community, for his warm encouragement.
“Through his undying patience and my craziness, I landed my first double jump when I was over 30,” she says, “and I passed my intermediate free skating at age 35. I learned from him: you can never quit.”
That inspiration reverberates in her life today as Jane, a recipient of the Club’s President’s Award, looks forward to the Norwood facility. She is co-chairing, with fellow Club member Alisa Plazonja, an initiative called the Tom McGinnis Legacy Campaign to name a room in his honor.
“He was such an inspirational person and mentor on the ice and in our lives,” says Jane. “We wanted to do something to preserve that legacy for others.”
Jane arrived in Boston after college, and rekindled her love of skating at a North End MDC rink.
When the end of the MDC season rolled around, and a friend suggested she visit “this other place in Brighton,” she needed no convincing. Before long, she was a regular at the Club.
It wasn’t easy. With no car, she left work religiously at 4:30 and caught two subway trains and a bus to arrive in time for two hours of skating. On weekends, she was back on the rink for early Saturday morning workouts.
But it was all worth it, especially when Tommy agreed to take her on as one of his “pupils,” as he liked to call them. Under Tommy’s tutelage, Jane would go on to perform in Ice Chips—where she was thrilled to be a featured soloist—and to compete in the first US national adult championship in Delaware in 1995, winning a silver medal.
Skating became a family affair as well: starting with skating until she was eight months pregnant, through skating with her young daughter on the Ice Chips stage, and even inspiring her husband to lace up. He went onto perform the Dutch Waltz in Ice Chips, twice.
Today, Jane has embraced a new skating genre. She is learning to ice dance under Ron Kravette.
Characteristically focused on making progress on the ice, Jane, by extension, is a natural advocate for the Club’s future in Norwood. She is excited by the Club’s new potential to bring figure skating disciplines under one roof. “Now everyone can coalesce around this amazingly gorgeous facility.”
And yet, there is no bright future without a revered past. As she watched that new home rise up, she often thought of her beloved coach – his gifted technique and choreography – and his sense of humor. “One of my favorite sayings was delivered with his omniscient twinkle: ‘Be careful, it’s slippery out there.’”
That sage advice came back to her at the topping-off ceremony, where guests had an opportunity to sign the final beam before it was raised to the highest point in the new rink.
“I inscribed those same wise words on the beam,” she says. “Now he will be there looking over all our skaters for the next 100 years.”