Let me be frank, I'm a weak enough skater now with one bad knee, that it's going to be a long, long time before I get on public again (unless it's a summer, noon public) so since both my old coaches could only coach me on public, I'm looking for a new coach.
Right now the thought that some slack-jawed jackass who thinks he's God's gift to hockey, but who can't stop without slamming into the boards, will run into me, makes my blood run cold. Ditto for little kids kneecapping me. Or a teenager who will grab me on their way down. I don't want to go into injured status yet again.
The last lesson I skated on public was a nightmare. It was the rink where I skated with Cruella. Publics there had very few ice tourists. What it had were adults and kids practicing furiously, oblivious to other skaters. Think of it as an overcrowded high level freestyle combined with a hockey game. Hockey learners practicing patterns, 15 people in the jump and spin area, people jumping and spinning in the end zones, hockey guys hogging the corner circles, coaches on the boards with their little kids, little kids where little kids go which is everywhere. And the sessions were absolutely packed. Aaaaaargh!
Cruella had me in fast crossovers on the center circle, and no one is paying any attention to the fact that I'm going fast. I have my eyes moving, keeping on top of what the 14 other people inside the cones are doing, when a little girl skates into the coned off zone, directly in front of me and
Ever have that moment where your brain has sent a signal to your leg, and your limb has started its action, then you need to change that action, and your. body. will. not. respond? My brain is screaming to my leg "don't step down! don't step down!" but the "step down" message is first in the queue. I can't override the "step down" message in time. We're talking fractions of a second here. Fortunately, I was then strong enough that I was able to extend the crossover so that I didn't step on the little girl, but my blade did brush her jacket and I actually had to step over her in the cross!
When I think about it, I can still see that little pink jacket and feel the blade touch it. I don't think I could pull out of that step down now. And I'm not going to put myself back in that situation.