Congratulations to Matt Garrison, SABAH’s August 2014 Athlete of the Month!
Meet this year’s Celebration on Ice Soloist, Matt Garrison
by Ilene Garrison (known at the rink as “Matt’s Mom”)
Matt was so honored and ecstatic to have been chosen to be a soloist in this year’s “SABAH Goes for the Gold” Olympic show! Matt is 14 years old and has been skating with SABAH at the Amherst/Northtown Center Rink since he was 3-1/2 years old. When he started skating, he wore a skating harness for support, and to get him moving we would have to use “Pepsi-Cola” as a reward to get him to skate halfway around the rink. Once Matt realized the “need for speed”—well he was off and speed skating with his walker.
Skating at SABAH every year means freedom, honor, teamwork, self-respect and self-achievement. As he has so often said in the presence of family and friends, “It’s great to see my friends skating. I like to make them laugh and smile . . . that’s very important. They are very special to me, I give them high fives, thumbs up and we shake hands.” Over the years, he has made many friends among his SABAH buddies and the SABAH staff. Year after year, Matt looks forward to skating with his SABAH family.
The last four years, SABAH volunteer Vincent Piazza has skated with Matt. Vincent and Matt have been friends on and off the ice since grade school. And when Matt’s previous volunteer Corrine Calabretta went off to college, Vince grabbed the opportunity to skate with Matt. It was a great fit and the boys have been skating every Sunday ever since. Matt says, “Vince is my skating coach, we are best friends. He stands up and looks out for me. Vincent is a nice guy. He really helps me and teaches me cool stunts.”
As Matt puts it, “My family comes to cheer for me and that makes me happy. They call my name and they love me. It gives me a chance to be famous!” Matt has no trouble being in the limelight, and yes—he signs autographs! SABAH brings out the best in him.
Matt loves SABAH!
Who will be the SABAH “Athlete of the Month” in September? Come back and find out.