Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Miss Cheerleader

Every rink needs a Miss Cheerleader. This is the person who smiles when they see you and offers encouraging words--even when you don't ask for them.

A few weeks ago a Silver ice dance/freestyle/moves skater I know saw me after freestyle and said, "Geeze, you're doing great! You and Dance Coach were really zipping along in waltz hold and your posture was great and you had super edges!" Let's call her Miss Cheerleader.

"Was my butt sticking out?" I ask. If I'm in 'ice dance posture' I feel a crick in my lower back. I honestly can't tell if that's because my shoulders are in the right place or because my butt is in the wrong place.

"No, no! Absolutely not!" Miss Cheerleader gives me a smile that lights up the lobby.
Give me a an Edge! Give me a Stroke!
Keep on skating! Go for Broke!
This is one of the times 'pass it on' really comes to the fore. Even if you're low freestyle, below you is someone in LTS who looks up to you.

There's the adult who struggles on public, who would be overjoyed if you said, "Hey, you're really making progress!"

It only takes a moment to make the rink a place of encouragement and joy.

You can be a Miss Cheerleader too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Merry Xmas to Your Skater 2012

Yes, it's early.  I just thought that some things might need to be ordered, so I'm giving you plenty of time to order.

Rink Tote--If your skater is on freestyle a great deal, then you might consider getting him or her a bag to carry CDs, tissues, water or a few odds and ends. If your skater is a young girl then you could consider a Kiss and Cry Bag. These run $40, but you can go to JoAnns or Walmart, or Target and find a bag of similar size but without the fancy materials. These are considerably cheaper. Just look for a 'craft tote'. I've seen one adult woman with one and a couple of young girls as well.

For adults (male or female), may I suggest a travel organizer, AKA a hang up toiletry bag? I've seen coaches with these, they just hang them on the glass by the hook. Brilliant! You can find these in several designs and sizes at lots of online retailers.
Travel Organizer
What to get young boys? Hmm, I've seen one with a black craft tote, but you're on your own with boys. What about a small canvas tool bag? 

ROCKERZ--I've seen these 'in the wild' at several rinks. Custom made blade guards that you can select in many color combinations. Suitable for both adults or kid skaters, men or women.You have to know the blade and size of the blade.

FREESTYLE OR PUBLIC SKATE CARDS--every one loves a gift of ice time. This is the gift that knows no gender or age.

JACKET OR VEST--Another gift that knows no gender or age, but you do need to know size and color preferences. I like a jacket or a vest with zippered pockets. Although freestyle sessions tend not to have theft problems, it's useful for an adult skater to have someplace secure to keep a credit card, cash or car key especially when skating on publics.  Thin vests with zippered pockets (not the down padded ones) are more flexible as the skater can wear the vest over or under a jacket.  If the skater gets hot enough to take off the jacket, the vest can still be worn.

Pocket Plus--But suppose you don't have clothing size information? What can you give a skater who needs a pocket while they skate? It's the Pocket Plus. As they say, "No Pocket, No Problem." A video on how it works is here. I regularly use a small one when I'm skating in a jacket without zippered pockets. Inexpensive enough as a stocking stuffer, but worth its weight in gold if you skate a lot of public sessions.

Do you have a skater who likes skating history? This book is really an adult level gift, and it's wonderful.
Figure skating: A History Buy it at the World Figure Skating Museum online store for  $8.50 vice on Amazon for $35+

So that's this year's skating present list for all of you.

(Good luck to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. Not much happening around my area except some light rain and cold. We were completely bypassed--this year.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Ice Doesn't Care" Blogiversary

It's been a whole year since I started this blog and I almost made my goal of a post every day!  So thanks to you all my devoted readers and commenters for going along with me on this amazing ride.

And as is traditional with blogs, here's a retrospective!

Single most Popular Post: Skate Bags!

Second Most?  Wrist Guards! I get readers world wide on the wrist guard post every day.

Funniest Post? This was hard to judge. I looked down at the 'Reactions' at the bottom of the blog post  (those little circles you click to tell me what you thought--Funny, Useful, Cool) The funniest post appears to be Photos from My Ice Dance Lessons!

My favorite post? Skating For Exercise!

Anyway, if you weren't here from the beginning,  have fun looking back at some of my old posts, see if there's any you like and give me your reactions.

All of you on the East Coast of the U.S. stay safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rink Collapses in Bad Weather

Usually I reserve Sundays for funny stories, but Hurricane Sandy is due to hit the US East Coast this week. Respecting that, I decided to go for a safety related post. I spent years working as a volunteer in Disaster Preparedness, it gives you a certain mindset.

Stay safe everyone. Prepare for loss of power. Remember, canned food can be eaten even if it's cold (have a manual can opener handy), get a flashlight not candles (a house a block from me burned down because the owner wanted to amuse her kids by using candles in the last big hurricane--10 years later it's finally getting rebuilt), don't open your refrigerator unless you have to (in order to keep the cold in), and if you see anything worth videoing--you'd probably be better off finding someplace safer to be. If your house has trees near it, don't stay on the upper floor if the storm is likely to blow a tree down on your house.  Have suitable clothing on. If you think you'll have to walk out of your house, have an emergency kit ready to go. Have cash. Keep your cellphone charged and your car's gas tank full. Be ready to live without power for 3 days. Don't dither.

But what about ice rinks in bad weather? Anyone on the East Coast worrying about their ice rink not surviving the storm?

Rink roof collapses due to heavy winter snows surprisingly are not that uncommon. I can imagine that a hurricane will also do damage. So, in general, what's it like being in an ice rink when it collapses?

Roof Collapses
Hallowell, Maine ice rink after collapse
Well, here's a video of a rink in Slovakia when it collapsed. As far as I know, everyone walked away (there was a youth team in the rink for a game). (Article) All the adults seem to be organized and effective in getting everyone out of the building. And, just a note, I'll never think about the boards and the barriers the same way again.

Even scarier is the collapse of a rink in Pennsylvania where the ice resurfacer was on ice when the roof went and the police called out cadaver dogs.  Or what about the one in Maine, where 'they felt the rink shake'.

Fortunately, most rink collapses are without loss of life. There are a couple of notable exceptions--Bad Reichenhall in Germany comes to mind with charges of managerial negligence being made. I believe the collapse occurred during what we would call public sessions. Given the inexperience of most skaters on public and the number of people on ice, it may have been impossible to clear the ice before the roof collapsed. In all the cases I read of where there was no loss of life, the people on ice were all experienced skaters.

In several cases I read about, there was mention of a loud snap or sound like a gunshot shortly before the collapse as structural members gave way. In most of the cases there appeared to be enough warning to get people off the ice (provided they were people who skated regularly) before the roof completely gave away. Usually it was only a short period of time (perhaps a couple of minutes or less), but one rink took several hours before the roof caved in. This last rink appeared to be an exception.

What's my survival plan?
Don't Panic. Don't Dither.
Know where the emergency exits are.
Get off the ice and out of the building if possible and next to an exterior wall if not possible, or at least get next to the boards where there's some barrier above it. Inside the boxes also might be survivable. In some cases the lobby might be under a separate roof structure than the rink. That may be safe as well.
As an adult skater, help others that need it. In other words, be a grownup and don't panic.

Or move to some state without snow. Texas has some nice rinks.

Take care in the storm and be safe!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Waltz 8

The Waltz 8 is a bastard child of a 3 turn and a Forward outside 8, with a dash of genetically engineered back mohawk (a step forward).

I broke my ankle doing a Watlz 8 in June of 2009. We didn't speak to each other for over 3 years, but we finally made up today.

A waltz 8 is supposed to look like this:

But three years later, starting again, I'm afraid my waltz 8's will look like this!

                       Left side                               Right side.

To my surprise, Mr. Frowny Face say's the ones I actually do are fixable. They aren't passable yet, but I can do them, and there's much yapping about checks, and legs, and arms. Typical.  (Okay, they don't look like the picture above; I actually have too much power in the push. They come out egg shaped! A Waltz egg-ate!)

He flips through the pre-Bronze and Bronze test material and agrees that except for Waltz 8, my mohawks at speed,  and back inside edges, everything is passable or near passable. Then he says, "What about the spiral?"

"I'll give it a try," I say, do a crossover to build up some speed and stick my right leg in the air. I can hear Dance Coach whoop from across the rink. Well, that's one down. The other one is a couple of practices away from passable.

So some time in early 2013, I test Moves.