Skater shares his passion through teaching others

Chan brings his passion for skating to audiences in his new home state


Lexi Murray, Opinion Editor

Imagine asking the basic question, “What sport do you play?”, and hearing the words figure skating. That’s how it is when people ask senior Brian Chan.

“People’s responses are very interesting, you know, because you don’t get a lot of male figure skaters in general, so I say it’s pretty nice. They are pleasantly surprised that I don’t do any basic sport,” Chan said.

Chan has been a figure skater since he was five years old.

“My sister used to figure skate. I rolled around with my mom before then, so I thought, why not give it a try, and even though I was wearing a blue butterfly helmet before I first started, which is kind of embarrassing, I got really interested in it, and it just kind of took off,” Chan said.

Chan is a senior gold medalist in figure skating.

“A lot of people don’t know or understand the minute details of figure skating. They see the jumps and see the spins, but they don’t realize that the fundamentals are very very important,” Chan said. “I think if you start ice skating, you start to realize like ‘oh my goodness this guy is really good at bending his knees or crazy deep edges,’ so people don’t really understand those details.”

Chan also has a license in teaching figure skating.

“The time I least enjoyed figure skating was when I was doing it for myself because it’s like drowning out for something that’s just for me,” Chan said. “I don’t feel any good coming from that, but then when I’m teaching others, that’s when I feel the best.”

Chan said he has, “no fears” when he’s practicing higher jumps while figure skating, even after some hard falls.
“I’ve had some pretty bad ones, like when I was doing a flying camel one time. My right foot never touched the ground, so I basically did like a belly flop on the ice, but I don’t really fear that. I just get back up and do it again,” Chan said.

Chan moved from New Jersey to North Carolina and has adjusted his figure skating schedule accordingly.

“A lot, a lot has changed. There have been less skating opportunities here in North Carolina because in New Jersey they offered classes, at least group classes for like four days a week and because I was there for two years I could teach private lessons, so I was teaching like six days a week,” Chan said. “I haven’t really established myself yet, and I haven’t paid for the private lesson insurance, so can’t even do private lessons. However, I make up for that with camp counseling.”

Chan works at the Factory at Polar Ice House Skating. He teaches two days a week and is a camp counselor at Camp Chillin Monday through Friday.

“My favorite aspect about it is actually teaching now because I really enjoy making a difference in these kids’ lives, a positive one, not like yelling at them,” Chan said.

Chan works with kids ranging from 4 to around 12 years old.

“It is more difficult to work with the younger ones sometimes, but it really depends on what their personality is,” Chan said.

Since Chan is a senior, he’s uncertain how teaching will factor into his college plans.

“When I go to college, I’m not sure if I’ll still be teaching because I’m going to be so busy,” Chan said. “Obviously, I really enjoy my job as a teacher, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be continuing that after college either because that’s when I’ve got to pursue some kind of other profession.”

Chan said he, “Honestly probably could” see himself in a teaching career with kids.

“Ice skating has taken me to a lot of different places. For example, as a camp counselor not only do I go with the camp kids, but on the weekends they invite me to marketing events, so I can talk about the program. It’s not like the biggest thing, but it’s pretty cool,” Chan said.

Chan said he might pursue a career in business or somewhere in the communications field instead.

Chan said, “I’m trying to pursue business because I feel like there are a lot of elements of teaching like communication or what not, that I can use with that.”