El Schader

Tova is comforted by her coach before a competition in Michigan.

Tova Shafran has been figure skating since age 5. She started because her parents wanted her to have varying fundamental skills such as swimming and riding a bike. 10 years later though, she found herself burnt-out and is now working toward a future in teaching skating. 

The mental and physical exhaustion started around 5th grade. “I lost my best friend and that triggered a bunch of emotions, then I sprained my ankle, so I couldn’t skate for 6 weeks, and then quarantine happened.”

But quitting was not an option for her,  “It’s kind of a fear to quit for me, because I’ve been doing it for such a long time.” When the pandemic hit and shut downs began, Tova began to discover what a life without skating was like. Mounting a comeback would be harder than ever. 

Now, Tova works as a skate guard and also volunteers with special needs children. She is working to reach the goal of finishing her junior and senior certification tests which would give her the opportunity to make more money for less hours of teaching. 

However, working towards the test is no small task, “I wake up at 5:30 in the morning to go and practice and it’s so unenjoyable” she says. “I’m there; my coaches are yelling at me.”

But when looking toward the future, Tova says, “I feel like I can have a different type of love for it again.” She looks forward to giving others a better experience, one that shows care for skaters’ mental health.