Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Skating

I love Summer Skating. When I remember balancing myself and my skate bag on a frozen chunk of ice against the side of the road, trying to get the door open enough to slide everything in, freezing to death in the parking lot, slipping on ice where it shouldn't be (the sidewalk), and Polar Vortex #3 where I had to fight not to cry when I looked at the temperature at 4:30 am, Summer Skating is my version of heaven.

Arriving at the rink in summer at 5:15, the birds are singing, the sun is rising, and the air is so warm and lovely. Contrast this to winter where it's pitch dark, deathly still and feels like arriving at the Rebel Base on Hoth.

Here to Skate, Winter Arrival

What's ironic about this is that there's not as many 5:15's needed. Most practice ices move their start times back a little, so sleeping in a little becomes a common luxury. The rink is warmer, and on humid days it fills up with a haze that hangs about four feet high. It's like some kind of magic, which I much prefer to seeing the snow blowing in weird formations, looking much like fingers, into the cracks of the garage door.

In winter I'd wear two pairs of tights, leggings, cotton long sleeve leotard and two fleeces, and still be chilled. Skating around in a little skirt and short sleeve leotard feels practically nude, yet I'll still work up a sweat and be thrilled with it. Cuter clothes are just another Summer Bonus.

Public Skates typically drain out, leaving only a few die hard Hockey Guys and Kids out of school who venture out. This means Publics get to be much more useful for actual practicing, and I get a heck of a lot done on the cheap.

But what I love most about Summer Skating is the Company. Adults get their own Practice Ice twice a week in summer, and it's an utter joy to share the ice with other Adults. We all chat and check in, watch and film each other on request, and these ice sessions don't have the same level of intensity as sessions shared with the kids. It's not that we aren't serious, most of us are. It's just that we're not so serious that we don't apologize when there's a near miss, or give each other dirty looks or cold shoulders, and there's just not that Competition Feeling among the other adults. Nobody has anything to prove. Okay, maybe some people do, but they do their thing.

Skating alone all winter long can get tiring. Yes, it's nice to have the ice to myself a lot, but it's lonely. Which was why I was glad when I convinced another Adult to join me on the 5:15's over Winter. We skated together all winter long, and it was so nice to have someone to chat with about how the session went, what we were working on, what we did wrong and have a laugh or three. But her ankle kept bothering her. And the problem kept getting progressively worse, and she stopped jumping.

This morning she emailed me to let me know the results of her MRI scan, because I had expressed concern over it. Stress Fracture. Caused by her pronation issues and skates that don't fit right. I'm mad about this, because I remember her telling me that she kept asking for better fitting skates, and no one wanted to recommend an expensive boot because she was "just an adult skater." Now her leg is broken, and she can't skate at all. So, I lost my company, but hopefully she will be healed up by Fall. I told her that I'd come with her, with a bat if needs be, to ensure she gets proper skates that don't break her leg.

Now give my Friend Decent Skates!

But Summer is nearly here, and while I'll miss my Early Morning Friend, it will be so great to see all
the other Adults again.

Yes kids, we *do* have more fun than you.


  1. Sorry to hear about your friend, that really sucks.

    Summer skating in Phoenix is quite the opposite. Kids are out of school and its devilishly hot, so public sessions are very busy plus there are camps that parents send their kids too. The competitive skaters are all working hard prepping for the fall. We also have a big local competition in July so it's busy.

    1. It does suck, and I'm angry about it. I'm hoping she will mend quickly. I think the memories of winter drive people outside here in summer. Fifty below was really hard!!

    2. I live in Texas, and here, it's also more crowded in the summer. It gets up to 100+ degrees, and the public sessions are usually busy, so I have to come when it's less crowded.

  2. Your summer sessions sound heavenly. I'm in the same boat as Gordon (above), my summer practice sessions get overrun by the campers and it's really tough for my coach and I to get our schedules to cooperate. Ah well...just gotta make the most of my empty ice while I have it.

    That's awful about your friend! Best wishes to her.