Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Strange Ice Rink

A couple of times a month I skate at a rink with an evening public. This is rare around here. But this is a dedicated hockey rink with all of two hours of freestyle a week. Apparently, there's so many hockey sessions the rest of the week they don't have anyone to buy the ice and we get mid-week evening public.

I mean, it's a straaannnngggge rink. The staff knows *nothing* about ice rinks. They pass out tickets and skates. There's never any rink guard. There's no cones! There's no music!

[I've actually run into the no music thing before. It was explained to me that rinks have to pay a fee to play music, so some rinks don't play music. Or, as one rink I skated at in Texas, plays the radio. Yes, I've skated to "Achy Breaky Heart" and listened to beer ads in the rink.]

So this rink has no music. I don't mind that. I have my lap skate music playing in one ear, and I keep my eyes open.

Then the coaches show up with boomboxes and start running kids through programs.

It's an awkward mix. The coaches appear to expect all the other skaters to obey freestyle rules, but it's a PUBLIC. Aside from me and the couple of girls who look like Freestyle 1, nobody on the ice knows freestyle rules. Thank goodness there's only a handful.

I'm polite and stay out of everyone's way. It's not my rink, and I totally get it that coaches need more than two hours a week freestyle. I do my shtick and I leave without talking to anyone.

Still, it creeps me out. This place is public in the sense that a frozen pond is public. Anyone can show up and do anything. I'm half expected a couple of hockey guys in full gear and sticks show up and hit the puck around.And to be frank, the staff is so dead eyed, I don't think they'd know how to handle it.

No music, no birthday parties, almost empty ice. It's like skating at a haunted rink. If I showed up and found the doors unlocked with no one there, the desk and skate booth unmanned, I would not be surprised.

Still, like the dumb blonde in a horror movie, who is a doomed character that walks right into the killer's lair, I'd probably go skate. Mid-week evening public is nothing to be sneezed at!

"No,no, I need the mid week practice ice!"

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