My First (Adult) Attempt At Ice Skating.
Well I had my shiny new Bauers in my passenger seat as Itook to the northbound
freeway. Traffic was good on that Saturday afternoon and it took a mere ten
minutes to get to the Mt View Ice arena in Washington State. From the outside
the facility looked nice and well kept. I was surprised to feel a bit of the
butterflies as I walked in the door.
I was greeted by a lady at the counter, and paid her seven dollars for the public
skate session. Meandering around the corner I found lockers, drinking fountains,
vending machines and a concession stand. Barely resisting a soft pretzel, I moved
through to find a spot along the crowded benches. I looked around as I pulled
off my street shoes. The facility was pretty awesome. Full sized ice with boards,
glass and hanging netting. No doubt this place was made for hockey!
I laced up the skates and walked awkwardly to the door. People of all levels
were on the ice. Some folks were falling down all over the place and the more
experienced skaters easily cruised right around them. The variety in ability
curbed my insecurities as I set one foot down on the ice.
Gripping what I could of the boards, I sort of glided around the first corner of
the ice. My knees were knocking and my ankles wobbled horribly at first. I
remembered the videos I had taken the time to watch and bent my knees pretty
deeply. At the beginning of the session I thought it was going to take me fifty
years to learn to ice skate, but about 15 minutes in I had found my legs. I pushed
away from the boards moved along pretty comfortably with C cuts. Without
lifting my skates at all, I was cruising!
The pain in my arches got my attention regularly, but I wrote it off as a pain
that would pass as I got used to skating. Occasionally I would sit for just a few
minutes (in the penalty box ha!) but I would hop back out as soon as the cramping
let up. I spent a good amount of my ice time pondering what sorts of insoles
would get rid of the cramping or if I was clenching my toes or if I was suffering
from flat feet.
I was distracted from the sharp cramping when a 30-something guy in a Dallas
Stars jacket skated up next to me. He grinned as he asked how I was doing. I
smiled and told him I was doing pretty well. I went on to brag about how I had
the "going" thing figured out but the "stopping" was eluding me. He responded
with some interesting advice;
"Oh, don't worry about it man! I played hockey for a year and a half before I
knew there was a way to stop other than the boards or a body."
I laughed pretty heartily as he suddenly sped off. I wondered if I had just heard
something Zen-like or if that was the most ridiculous piece of advice ever. Either
way it was funny.
The rest of the session I skated and watched others. There were a pair of kids
that I secretly nicknamed "The Terror Twins". The identical youths (about 4 or 5
years old) were playing a fun game of 'push your brother around the ice in a
chair'. Initially that game may not seem so terrible, but the rules included things
like continually speeding up until your brother and or the chair goes flying.
When a brother flew from the chair he would wildly slide across the ice. After
the out-of-control ejection, both brothers shared a loud laugh before switching
Intermission saw the Zamboni go round and round, while everyone
mobbed the concession stand. I just sat and watched with a grin. I was ice
skating, and soon I'd be playing hockey! What was not to smile about?