The first time I met Terrie Kerth 5 years ago, she was stepping off the ice after taking her Junior Moves Figure Skating test. I overheard her tell her coach what the judges said to her before she began, "Aren't you a little old for this?" Though I thought she skated beautifully, the judges didn't pass her. Let me give a little background for the non-skater followers of this blog. Junior Moves in the Field is a high level skating test. It’s only one skating level below what you see at the Olympics. It's a test usually done by young teenagers who've skated for years and who train over eight hours per week. Terrie was just about to turn 60.
Her love of skating started when she was two. Her parents placed her on the ice at Iceland, the rink her grandfather built, which opened on Nov 4, 1940. Her father learned to skate on that rink and met her mother at Iceland in 1947. They skated high-level dances together so Terrie's life was filled with ice shows - her first performance at age 4, her first coaching job by age 8 and by 21 she was producing shows at the family rink. To pay her way through UC Davis she coached skaters and today she loves to teach especially adults and those who don't have confidence in their ability.
As an adult skater she attended the first Adult Nationals in 1995 and won first place in Masters Junior Ladies (out of 72 people) in the Masters Artistic - skating to the music "Send in the Clowns." Eleven years later she returned winning second out of 6.
Terrie didn't pursue a career in skating, but instead lived in the bay area from 1977 until 2005 working in the computer industry at 3Com, Adobe and Cisco systems. She did her first sprint level triathlon in 2008 and though she had a hard time with the swim the first time, she became better with practice and completed the 1/2 mile swim in open water, 16 mile bike ride, 3 mile run. It was fun and quite challenging, her first long ride of 17 miles she had to stop half way for a nap. In September 2009 she retired from working, her plan to focus on her skating, pass that dang Junior Moves test, and spend time doing activities like Triathlons and flying airplanes. It was time for her.
But a turn of events changed her plan.
On March 28, 2010 an arsonist burned Iceland to the ground. Gone was her family's rink where so many children and adults loved to skate and made their second home. The insurance on the old building had been too high to afford and so they were left with nothing to rebuild.
But Terrie and her family couldn't let this gem go. Terrie took on the full-time unpaid job as Executive Director for Sacramento Iceland creating a non-profit. Sac Ice is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to restoring Iceland so they can teach the disadvantaged and disabled children of Sacramento to skate regardless of the skill or ability to pay. This rink is in an area of Sacramento that's tried to rejuvenate many times, but though it's close to downtown the city hasn't taken much interest in restoring the building. Every dime has come from the family, donations, and fundraisers held by skaters who love this place. Clear blocks are sold, that can be inscribed for $500/ block that will rebuild the window area.
Thanks to thousands of volunteers Iceland re-opened as an outdoor Ice Rink in Jan 2011. Volunteers still spend time helping them to rebuild Iceland each season. Without a roof, or even a lobby, the passion for Iceland is carried on. This year for the first time since 2009, the whole ice surface will be available and they've been able to rebuild flooring next to the rink.
Terrie is a woman I've admired from the first moment I met her. Warm, loving, and encouraging of others, she goes after her dreams with everything she has: getting a pilots license in 2001 at 52, flying aerobatics in 2008, participating in triathlons. She's supported me in my skating, my work, and even was one of the first donators to the 101 Dreams Come True Contest to help get it off the ground.
With everything she's taken on rebuilding her family's ice rink she's never given up on her dream to complete her Senior Test in Moves in the Field for figure skating. So this year, at almost 65, after many attempts, Terrie Kerth passed her Junior moves becoming an example to everyone that age doesn't matter no matter what anyone says, that dreams are meant to come true no matter how long or how much work you have to do, and even an arsonist can't destroy the strongest spirits. She's now beginning her Senior Moves in the Field.
Go to www.skatesacramento.com to learn more about Iceland. Donations are always welcome.