Saturday, October 12, 2013

Winter's First Public Skate

Today should have had an empty rink for public. It was raining. It was Columbus day weekend and the sales were on. Everyone should have been at the mall or at home playing XBox. Instead they went to the rink.

I can't describe how crowded the rink was. There may have been a hundred people out there. Adults, kids, .....toddlers...., teens. Let's just assume there were a hundred people on the ice. Three hockey players, 8 figure skaters, and 89 ice tourists.

This is what the adult regulars looked like
when they saw the crush at the gate.
It was skateable. Okay, let me rephrase that. It was skateable if you were going forwards or had someone spotting for you backwards. It's not that the crowd was rough, it was just that there were so.many.people!  And so much RANDOMNESS in their skating!

At one point, one of the other adult skaters came up to me and said, "Be careful out here." I nodded, then as he and I parted ways, I dodged a random kid and skated right into him. Yeah, it was that kind of session, there were no escape routes.

As the session went on, all the figure skaters gradually slid into the center circle. Maybe it was the fact that there were so many of us in there, doing spins, small jumps, footwork, that the public stayed out. Not even the annoying aggressive sub-teen boys in hockey skates went in the center. First there was just a coach with a student, then other figure skaters passed through for a few seconds of skating--careful to stay clear of the lesson-- but as the crush of the ice tourists increased, the figure skaters stayed in the circle a bit longer each pass through. I worked on my two foot spin and edges. Skater Guy practiced his outside to inside  spread eagles. Teen girls did tiny jumps. The coach picked up her next student and the first one stayed to practice. The tension was building.

At the end of the first session, a solid wall of ice tourists swirled around the center. All the figure skaters were now confined inside the square, each concentrating on staying out of the others' way. Now there were 12 skaters in the center area guarding the center circle from the storm of rental skates. It felt like this:

 Heavy public sessions are now in season. Don't let a five year old take you down!


  1. Yep, like falling leaves, ice tourists tend to clog the works. They do keep the door open... My strategy is to arrive early, lace up and get on the ice ASAP while it's still smooth and the tourists are still queuing up for skates and figuring out how many passes they need. With good planning I can get in 20, sometimes 30 minutes of good skating before things get too crowded. Kiddie Birthday Parties are the worst!

    1. I was expecting the rink would be quiet for a while too, but the kids were crowded at the gate the instant it opened! I was sooo disappointed.

  2. Ice skating is offered at indoor rinks year-round. Still, I think of ice skating as a winter sport.

    Ice Skates & Roller blades