Catherine Moshcum explains her passion for ice skating and how she balances it with her professional career.
I have always been a very keen ice skater, having started lessons at the age of five, and I can blame my father for my passion for ice skating, and to be truthful, it was probably the most expensive mistake he has ever made! He decided to take me to Altrincham Ice Rink after we had been to see the Manchester Storm Ice Hockey team playing in one of their home games. I started having regular skating lessons with my coach Donna McCarthy, who I still skate with now, so I have known her for nearly 20 years!
Ice skating is a great sport as it gives everybody, no matter what age or standard, the ability to take part. Although I regularly go to the gym, I’m not really a gym-type person, so ice skating is a great way to exercise whilst having fun at the same time.
Whilst I was doing my A-levels, I was invited to captain a synchronised ice skating team, which won gold at the Scottish championships and bronze at the British championships. Synchronised skating is a fantastic team sport and gives you the opportunity to make some very close friends.
While ice skating is great fun, it can also be quite dangerous! A month before my first A level exams, I had a bad fall on the ice and had a suspected left wrist fracture, which proved difficult for me as I’m left handed! I thought it was just a bruise and carried on skating. It wasn’t until later that night that I went to A+E, and ended up with my arm in plaster! But against the doctor’s advice, I carried on skating whilst wearing the cast – I couldn’t keep away from the rink!
When I started at dental school I felt it was important to keep up my skating. Being a dentist and a skater are two completely different entities, which is fantastic as I think you need a release from work, which skating, or any sport, provides. The sport is unique in that it combines athleticism with artistry.
Skating was made more popular through the television series Dancing on Ice, through which I had the privilege to meet many celebrities including Robin Cousins, Karen Barber, Shane Ward, Colleen Nolan and many other TV stars and sports personalities.
Whilst at dental school, I was lucky enough to be offered a skating role in a film about the world of ice skating. This was a great insight into the film industry, which was completely different to my then role of a dental student. The dental school were very supportive of me by allowing me to take off as much time as I needed for if I had to be on set.
Now that I am working as a maxfax DCT, it is more difficult to make time for my skating, but as the rink opens at 6am, I will usually skate before my 8am ward round! Now the focus of my skating has changed and I now skate for enjoyment and exercise. I still try to compete and skate in shows and charity exhibitions whenever I can.
On the ice, I have skated the role of many Disney characters such as Jasmine from Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland. As my role of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, I even got to skate with a real life dog, Toto! You have to lose all your inhibitions on the ice, particularly when you are performing; some of the costumes I have worn over the years have taken some courage to wear and you can’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself! For example I have skated as the Mad Hatter, Maleficent, and even Sally Bowles from Cabaret.
Sometimes after a busy maxfax on call the night before, it is difficult to get up at 4.30am to go to the rink. But once I am in the rink and on the ice, I am reminded how much I love the sport and always will. At this stage in my career, I am planning to continue working in maxfax, and although this is a demanding career, I hope to carry on balancing this with my skating; the ice rink is a sanctuary where I can leave my stresses and worries at the door.
And now, I’m off to the rink……!