Bernadine Can Skate - but this wasn't always the case!
Many of you will know Bernadine as one of the Sk8house co-owners. At 56 years young, Bernadine's zest for life is infectious, but how well do you know her skating history? When you see Bernadine gracefully glide on skates, it's easy to assume that she's been doing this all her life. Her finesse, her confidence on the rink, it's nothing short of mesmerizing. Yet, the truth is as inspiring as it is surprising.
Pictured (L to R): Current Sk8house co-owners - Kevin Geary, Bernadine Geary and Mark Hodges
Balancing a bustling life as a mother to two young adults and a successful entrepreneur running not one but two businesses, Bernadine knows the true meaning of a busy schedule. She's also actively involved in her community, serving on several community boards, including the FBC and the Skate Australia Victoria Speed Board.
But Bernadine's journey into the world of skating is where her story takes a thrilling turn. In her own words, she describes how life, like for many of us, had become a whirlwind of responsibilities. "It seemed that everyone else's needs were put first, and I rarely found time to do exercise," she admits.
However, a turning point came when her children took up skating, and her husband joined them, leaving Bernadine as the only one in the family not skating. She fondly remembers those early days watching from the rink's edge, yearning for her chance to glide on the floor. But it took a special moment to finally push her into action. When her husband performed a Christmas Show with another woman, it was the spark of motivation she needed to put on those skates and join the fun.
Bernadine's skating journey didn't begin without challenges. She vividly recalls clinging to the rink's side wall for dear life during those first three months. Every step away from the barrier sent her heart racing. But she persevered, securing a coach and donning a pair of beautiful white skates, a gift from her husband.
Countless hours of training, determination, and unwavering support from her family led to her winning numerous national and international podium spots. A pinnacle achievement came in 2016 when Bernadine clinched her first gold at nationals, competing as masters dance pairs with her husband.
However, her journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. Two accidents, one being a skating-related injury and the other a slippery staircase mishap, led to a broken ankle and three surgeries. But Bernadine's spirit remained unbroken.
Throughout recovery, she discovered the true essence of skating. It wasn't just a sport; it was her sanctuary. "When my feet glide on that floor, the slight breeze in my face, and I hear the roll of my wheels, it's the sense of 'home' and comfort that nothing else has brought to my life," she reflects. Skating became a source of serenity and vitality, something that meditation or counselling couldn't replicate.
Today, Bernadine's skating journey continues. She's back on top, having conquered the challenges of surgeries and lockdowns. But her greatest victory isn't in the medals; it's in the sense of accomplishment and the camaraderie she shares with other courageous women who embrace the thrill of skating.
Bernadine's story is a testament to the transformative power of skating. It's an invitation for you to join her, to step out of your comfort zone, and experience the joy and vitality that skating brings. Discover the sense of "home" on wheels and unlock your true potential.