Saturday, July 7, 2012

Edges; Obstacle Course Style

For those my fellow USians, I hope you're keeping cool. It would seem our entire nation has been encased in a heat wave. *cough*climate change*cough*hack* Excuse me. Our little Suburban Paradise is no exception. It's been hot day after day, and I've been falling asleep to visions of tossing dollar bills out the window as I listen to the AC run.

The rink is a nice escape, but even there, the effects of the suffocating heat are apparent. The hockey glass is fogged up and the ice feels a bit softer. But that's not so bad. I can live with that.

This morning I headed out onto our small rink for my group lesson, and there were four small cones out. I thought they had been left there by the Tot class, so I picked one up to carry it off. Imagine my horror when I saw five large zits on the ice under and around the cone. Not quite big enough to be a stalagmite, so it was an ice zit. Every cone was surrounded by zits. The moist air was causing condensation to collect and fall from the ceiling.  I dropped the cone and skated off, inspecting for more. There were lots more.

The warmup coach was kind enough to mention the hazard, and had us skate on the opposite side of the rink. Backwards. Because you have to go backwards.

I push off for some backwards slalom business, and I know my left foot is acting up and my right side is being hesitant, and I can feel myself collapsing into a fearball because I know those zits are out there. They are out there, like mines, and I can't see them because I am going backwards. I feel the back of my blade catch and wobble, and I mentally mark, "Ice zit, just over the second blue line."

Warmup Coach stops us and gives some direction, noting that our feet are doing things they shouldn't, and I'm just wondering if I should say anything about the hazard behind me. Like Jaws.

By this time another lady has shown up, and, god love her, she's chronic at not being aware of herself. I know if we go backwards side by side, she's going to drift into me, and I'm going to trip over the ice zit, we'll both go down together and I'll mess up her pretty sweater as I claw for safety. As we push off for backwards half pump whatevers, I'm listening for her, noting where I am in relation to that second blue line, feeling the Fearball and hoping I have my insurance card.

Luckily this ends. Coach Snape wanders in, and while I did try to practice 3 Turns this week, I was less than successful. I'm wondering if he has some kind of harness apparatus or sparkly green jello for me that will make it happen (maybe a sedative) when he says, "Let's do Edges."

Yes, I'll take that sedative please.

He puts me on the red line and does some examples. "Outside edges."

Okay, for the record I have done outside edges. I've done them around the cones on a public session in a "Hahaha! I'm cheating death!" Kind of way. I also do them when I do forward crossovers, which had become rather daring the night previous when I decided to go for broke and just throw myself into that lean like Indiana Jones avoiding a blow dart. But Outside Edges can be scary. You're just leaning into empty space. Now I had to do them in the formal, "This is an Edge," kind of way, complete with arm and free foot movements.

Of course Coach Snape made it all look quite graceful. When I tried, I not only gave myself a solid push off with my toepick, my arms flew around and my foot flew in front, then I remembered hidden Ice Zits I couldn't see and bobbled it. Hey, I try. Coach Snape was patient, telling me to slow down, do the movements at the top of the curve lest I over rotate, which is funny because I like to see how long I can hold an inside edge, and if I can wrap some appendage around my torso in the process.

So I try again, carefully avoiding the Ice Zits as I slowly move my arms and free foot. I'd toss down that free foot at the first sign of trouble, which Coach Snape interpreted as over rotation. Eventually I figured out how to set up the half circles to avoid them, but I'm still moving my limbs too fast. By now I'm concentrating so hard on the lean, my arms, my free foot, my posture, where I am on the blade, the half circle and the Zits, that when another lady starts stomping on the ice for some reason my head almost implodes.

I resist the impulse to ask her "WHY?!" and keep going.

Snape comes back to me and starts to talk abut turning, when he glances at the clock. Our time is done. I turn to depart the hazardous ice, and to my horror Stitch (who is in town this weekend) has been photographing everything from the hockey glass.

"You didn't," I ask him.
"Oh, I did." He grins.
"You have to delete them."
"Nope. They're funny."
"I have some prime naked baby Stitch pictures. On paper. Delete them."

Stitch sighs and fiddles with his DS, presumably deleting the pictures. I'll need to make sure.

So, watch yourself and your ice this hot summer. The Ice Zits are out there, and they are terrible.

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