Sally Zeghibe was in her 20’s when she joined The Skating Club of Boston in 1962, thrilled to find a place that matched her “consuming enjoyment” of figure skating, one going back to the frozen cranberry bogs of her childhood.
Two years later, she started taking her children, with all four quickly becoming skating enthusiasts as they learned the discipline that would serve them well. After college (Harvard, Maine Maritime Academy and Smith), they pursued successful careers. Doug, also a Stanford Business School graduate, actually came full circle, pursuing a career in the sport, and now returning to Boston to serve as the Club’s executive director.
“I chose skating in part because of what it taught my children,” says Zeghibe. “To do figures, you need to focus. The discipline that comes from concentrating on one thing benefits everyone – no matter how old you are.”
It’s not easy, she adds, “to take a test in front of six people staring at your feet, but that brings about poise, as well as the ability to lose and come back fighting.”
Zeghibe reminisces about how the Club provided families not only with instruction, but also a sense of community. Popular Friday night suppers catered to adults and children. “The staff made sure the children ate so the adults could skate, and then we had dinner while the children skated.”
Sally’s Club membership for more than 50 years has also encompassed volunteer roles. She was hospitality chair for two decades, taking charge of special dinners and events; she co-chaired regional competitions, served on the Club’s Board; and in 2001, she brought her characteristic high energy and attention to detail to managing a $250,000 budget and serving as hospitality chair for all of the U.S. Championships when they came to Boston. “It was never work,” she says. “It was something I loved.”
These days, Sally is looking forward to the Norwood facility. “We will be able to offer everything one needs to be a top-notch skater, while providing a more welcoming and comfortable facility for Club families. It’s exciting for those of us who have been around a long time to finally see this come to pass.”
“Welcoming and comfortable” are two words that also aptly describe Sally’s philanthropy to support the new facility with a donation for the women’s locker room and lounge made by Sally and her late husband, Faris. These amenities resonated with Sally “because we believe they are needed, and that they should match the caliber of the arena,” she says.
The new locker room and lounge reflect Sally’s vision for a more comfortable space for the Club’s adult women members, from skaters to visiting performers and officials. The locker room is double the size of the more cramped locker room in Brighton, and with upgraded lockers, and make-up counters with mirrors and the necessary lighting. The space will also offer a central lounge area with carpet and comfortable seating for those not putting on their skates. “When it is finished, I hope it might be a little escape venue, inviting and friendly, and where members can sit and chat, or bring in a cup of coffee or tea and relax.”
On a deeper level, the gift is an investment in the future of the Club. Sally knows well that friendships – and the memories they foster – have a vital place in the Club’s enduring story. Case in point: For the Club’s 100th anniversary gala in 2012, she recalls the goal was 250 people. “We got 570—and from as far away as Singapore. It was amazing!”
“You never forget the friends you make through skating. When you see them again, it’s like you’ve never been apart! Once you become a member of the Club, you become part of a family, and that family stays together.”