Those who ice skate know that the sport has a way of making a person happy and it seems that skating can heal a person’s soul. Rosie Finocchi’s story is an example of that.
When I recently read Rosie’s memoir, I did a lot of crying. I also determined that Rosie Finocchi may be one of the bravest women living on this planet.
I met Rosie Finocchi in 1983. She was one of the many adult figure skaters I knew during my early days of coaching. All I knew then was that Rosie was a very talented and good adult figure skater who won a lot of medals. Years later, in 2015, due to Facebook, we reconnected.
Of course the past and skating drew the two of us together when we reconnected in 2015, and since then we have become very close friends. I just had no idea until I read Rosie’s story, of all that she had been through.
Spoiler alert! Do NOT read below if you don’t want to learn some of the details that are told in Rosie’s book!
Here’s what I learned about Rosie Finocchi:
Not only did Rosie’s life crumble when her loving and wonderful father died when she was only 13 years old, but Rosie took care of her ailing mother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a year later.
Rosie’s carefree teenage years were taken away from her because of her mother’s grief and because of her mother’s cancer diagnoses; however, even when her mother was ill, her mother made it possible for Rosie to get to an ice skating rink since her mother knew Rosie deserved happiness in the midst of sadness.
Rosie was not old enough to drive when her mother was very ill, but no one was around to take her mother to doctor’s appointments and to the hospital and to chemotherapy, so Rosie had to get her mother there. Rosie was forced to drop out of school in order to keep the family together and did all the cooking and cleaning when her mother was unable.
The Finocchi family was determined to stay together even though there was little money. They lost their family home and moved all the time since her mother did not have enough money to pay the rent.
Then, at 19, Rosie’s mother died leaving five orphan children. Rosie’s sister, who was born after her father’s death (her mom was six months pregnant when her dad died) was raised by Rosie and was taken away from Rosie and her three younger brothers after her mother’s death. Later, when Rosie was 21, she and her brothers unsuccessfully tried to regain custody of her sister.
During all this turmoil, Rosie skated whenever she could. Figure skating was an outlet for her and helped her survive.
I have always noticed that skating can be the “best medicine ever” when life’s bumps get a person down, but skating gave Rosie the outlet she needed when the bumps in her life’s road and the horror that was a part of her life could have caused her to give up. In addition, Rosie Finocchi has a strong faith in God. Skating and God made Rosie Finocchi the woman she is today!
There is an entire chapter in Rosie’s book which addresses her love of figure skating. It is clear that without Rosie Finocchi, there may have not been competitive adult figure skating opportunities at all today.
I highly recommend purchasing and reading My Parents’ Orphans: The Rosie George Finocchi Story.
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