EDITOR’S NOTE: While Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White have long been the parental support team for Meryl and Charlie on the road, it’s “The Dads” who have taken care of business at home. As the families prepare for the possible trip to Sochi, Russia, SKATING wanted to share Jacqui’s unique insight into “The Dads’” role.
By Jacqui White
Cheryl and I have become known to many around the skating community as “The Moms” because of our enthusiastic participation in our kids’ competitive skating
careers over the last 17 years.
It’s true, we have been to every competition and enjoyed both the travel and the thrill of watching firsthand many of the most talented skaters of the past two decades.
We both readily admit how lucky we are that we can be there togive our skaters this measure of support, to always be there for them, ready at their call. We love being part of the team.
What many don’t realize is that the team effort is made complete by two unsung heroes: “The Dads.”
The dads, Charlie White Sr., and Paul Davis, don’t get to travel the world to all the competitions. In fact, they rarely get the chance to see the kids they are so proud of skate at all. It’s hard for them to stay behind when they kiss us goodbye at the airport.
They would love to go, too, but they have responsibilities at home that won’t allow it.
So what part do the dads play on the team?
Over the years, Charlie and Paul have gotten together for dinner, or over the phone during the competitions to analyze them. They have followed and learned about the sport of ice dancing and how the judging system works. They consider breaking down the numbers fun! They are always ready with interesting facts and figures when we call home (and we always call home). They usually know more about what is going on than we do and they relay it to us in the most positive light.
When Cheryl and I travel to competitions, we often start off with a bit of anxiety before we even leave for the airport. We’re there for our kids, but we need some support, too. This is where the dads really shine.
One time I woke up in the middle of the night in a hotel in Japan. I was nervous about the next day and just being so far away, so I called Charlie at home. He soon had me laughing with his usual teasing sense of humor and I was able to go back to sleep.
And I don’t think Cheryl and I will ever forget the time we were in Korea and couldn’t call home, no matter how hard we tried. It was so frustrating and kind of surreal to be cut off that way. It’s so important for us to stay connected to home and we have the cell phone bills to prove it. The dads are our support team and we rely on their positive energy coming through the phone.
The dads keep the home fires burning while Cheryl and I are globetrotting with the skaters. They’re good about never making us feel guilty for leaving them with all the responsibilities of running businesses, keeping up with the house, and caring for the rest of the family and, of course, the pets. No small feat. We leave it up to them and they figure it out.
I think Cheryl and our kids would agree with me that the dads are an important part of the team. They want Meryl and Charlie to have their best chance at success and they have shared in the effort for all of the 17 years, generously from their hearts. We see the evidence of this after every competition — win or not — on Meryl’s and Charlie’s faces when they get the call from their dads, in their smiles when their dads say, “I’m proud of you. I love you.”
It takes a team, and the dads are definitely a big part of ours.