Sunday, June 14, 2015

"That's a lot of work!"

I overheard a conversation about how to avoid rust on skate blades. In a humid summer, it can happen in an hour if you're not careful. Once a blade is rusted, it's never the same. It's critical to take precautions against the Rust Demons.

"Once you take them off, dry the blades and put the soakers on," the coach was saying.

"Uh-huh, I did that. I still got rust!"

"When you get home, take the soakers off and let the skates sit in the open," the coach continued.

"What? I have to do that?"

I had to interject. "I have a bamboo sushi roller that I set my skates on, so they get a lot of air. And don't forget to pull the tongues out a bit so the leather inside dries out, too."

The woman looked at me like I was from mars. "That's a lot of work!"

"Right. But skates are a big investment. You want them to last as long as possible."

"I guess so," she looked hesitant.

"And don't forget to wash the soakers every so often. And put the blade guards in the dishwasher. WD40 if it's really humid." I didn't mean to take over.

"All that for skates."

Yes. This weekend my skates got some abuse, so they are enjoying some window time, airing out with a view of the courtyard and birds. Really hoping they'll be dry in time to start again tomorrow.

Maybe we should look at skating as a lot of work, and skate care as the post-workout ritual that keeps us safe!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Competition Program

Coach Fab asked me to get new music. Something similar to what I did for Ice Show, because while it was short, it was fun.

Okay. So I dug a little, and I found a jazzy little number I could wear a red dress to and something no kid would ever be skating to. Ever. I played it and Coach Fab nodded. "Yes, this suits you. It's very you."

Well, if we're going to be Adult Skaters, then let's have some Adulty music, please.

Now, the number should have this kind of feel to it:

Right now, however, it's looking kind of like this.

I played with it this morning, feeling for the music and looking for the steps. Surprisingly, some things started to come together for me.

Unfortunately, a Salchow from a mohawk was not one of those things.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Awkward Moments

So, we have to be nice to everybody at the rink. We're a community, and even though we sometimes have our little disagreements, we just have to move on... keep going... and all those quaint little sayings that pop up on Pintrest all the time. Right?

My ex-coach was subbing my skating class Saturday. Now, I just disconnected and let it go. This is about skating. Nothing else matters. We're adults. Okay, I did make some trouble during the warm up, but it was only to let him know I found the warm up boring. I had just come out of an exhilarating 90MPH Power Skating class and he was doing dips. Non moving dips. "Just like old times," the thought crossed my mind and I allowed myself an eyeroll once out of sightline.

But then, during the class, he complimented me.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: Alone, The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry

John Curry has become my latest obsession on skates. The man was a creative genius, truly, but like most geniuses, a little bit crazy. His attention to detail, his line, the way he moves, it fascinates me. There's a lot of Curry Work on YouTube, and some of it confused me until I read this book and got some backstory on the pieces and the skaters.

There's a lot of me that empathizes with Curry. He, too, felt like he was being put in a box that he didn't want to be in. And he felt that skating wasn't just about flashy jumps and spins, but about gliding and line and elegance. The '70's coaches were trying to teach him their definition of Masculine skating, and he had a hard time breaking free of that definition. And even when he was finished with Formal Competition and those Rulebooks, commercial success was hard for him.

This book goes into the financial disasters that plagued his "Theatre on Ice" attempts after his Olympic win. Truly, he operated under a dark star. Poor marketing, cramped tours, tough rehearsal schedules and bad ice. It was hard for me to read, because I so badly wanted him to do well and I've been in those situations. And again, it put a lot of what I was seeing on YouTube into context.

Curry's secretive nature and bad temper didn't make things easier. He was rough on his skaters, but he was rougher on himself. Flirtations with had drug use, a brutal sexuality, so much of John Curry is in want of a hug that he'd just turn away. Some parts of it were very tough. Especially near the end. But I won't spoil it for you, since you already know how it ends.

There's always a price that's paid for beauty, and if John Curry was anything, he put himself up as the down payment for changing how we think of male skaters today. Here's my favorite piece by John. I tried the toepick push step he does at 2:48, it's not so hard. I'm going to ask if we can fit this into my new program.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Skating Paperwork -or- I need a Skate Mom

The past few weeks I have been doing a lot of paperwork. Skating paperwork. On the ice I'm doing MIF and choreography, off the ice I'm collecting signatures and watching deadlines. Frankly I'm only aware of one looming deadline, and I think everything else is square.

USFSA Membership Renewals

This is due. This was sent early this week. Requires my signature, a few checkboxes, some confusing membership classifications, none of which are and a check.

Test Forms

This got in way ahead of schedule, just because Coach Fab wanted to be absolutely sure I got on that session. Requires my signature, coach's signature, navigating some checkboxes, and a check. "You pay to test?" my colleagues ask. "What if you fail? You paid to fail?" In a sense, I tell them, all failure involves a form of payment. Cash is the least of the things you can lose.

Ice Contracts

Summer Ice needs contracting. The Adult Sessions are on the official calendar, whereas last year they were a word-of-mouth secret. So, to be sure I get a spot, I contracted. Those forms require my signature, a check, and a pinkie swear that I will obey the five pages of ice rules including the ones that say I have to enter the ice from the Zamboni side door and I won't start fights in the lobby. (I guess if you don't contract ice, it's Game On for Lobby fights. Yes, Lobby fights do happen.)

Competition Forms

Due in a few days. Actually, "must be postmarked" in a few days. What does this mean? When does the postal service do that? Whatever. Requires my signature, a waiver, a Club Officer's Signature, Coach's Signature, a check, choosing between a zillion checkboxes (mine was near the bottom) and swearing on my grandma's motorcycle that I'm a US Citizen and a USFS member and I'm good to compete at my stated level. I'm still one signature short but I'll have that done by end of day today, and will be mailed two days ahead of the deadline.

The Home Rink's Competition doesn't have their packet available just yet, but that also will require a check, more checkbox navigation and some signatures. I'm pretty sure that one will just be a Basic Skills comp and therefore much lower key than the other one.

Skating is starting to look like the easy part. I need to memorize my USFS number, and I need to get a stamp made of Coach Fab's Signature. I ordered two yards of dress fabric, and something else to meet the minimum order level, but seriously I have no idea what else I ordered. I've been so stacked with skating paperwork, dress patterns and sewing schedules (making two dresses for friends) I completely forgot and I'm too embarassed to call and ask, "Can you tell me what I ordered please?" I guess it will be a surprise. I think next year I'm going to hire someone to be my Skating Mom.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Early Skating Influences

One of my first jobs was a drink vendor at Paramount's Kings Dominion, a theme park in Virginia. We were encouraged to ride the all the rides and see all the shows, so that when "guests" would ask us about them, we would have a valid answer. The Stage Show for that season was Star Trek On Ice. So I went to go see Star Trek On Ice.

Gentle Readers, I will not lie. I love Star Trek, and I love skating, but some things just don't mix. I laughed hysterically for forty five minutes. I wept when the "alien" creature was hefted up on a rope and spread her flourescent wings under a blacklight and was spun by a security officer underneath. The stage was so small, there were moments of NASCAR terror when a skater would land perilously near the edge of the stage. Nothing screams the 90's like ST:NG, and this was a quintessential 90's ice show.

When I got assigned the drink cart outside the theatre, the customers would ask me how the show was. All I could do was laugh, and they would walk away like I was insane. "GO SEE IT!!" I would call after them. "YOU WON'T REGRET IT!"

I never thought I'd see this masterpiece of unitards and fog and laser beams ever again. Imagine my delight when I casually googled this show, and I got a hit. Someone in their infinite wisdom recorded it, and put this beast on YouTube. So, I give you... Star Trek: ON ICE!!