Technically yesterday was the second time I went ice skating. In middle school, I was on a church retreat in Estes Park, and the camp we were staying in offered ice skating. You got your skates in a building at the middle of the campus, and then you had to carry them what felt like five hundred miles down the hill to a “frozen pond.” And by that I mean, it was an area of grass with a bunch of solid ice on it. I have no idea if that forms naturally or if they purposely freeze water there somehow, but either way, it was no good. It was lumpy and pretty much impossible to actually skate on. I ended up just taking the skates off and sliding around on my shoes, and I only stayed there long enough to do that because my friends didn’t want to leave.
That was more than ten years ago. Yesterday I finally went again. Being a hockey fan, you’d think I would have skated since then, but no. I’ve wanted to, but I didn’t want to go by myself the first time, because while I can do things like go to movies by myself or even drive cross-country sans companion, there are some things that I get anxiety about doing alone. So I got my dad to go with me.
We went to the Edge Ice Arena during an adults-only two hour skating block they have on Friday mornings from 10-12. When we paid for our skate rental the guy called it the “Coffeehouse.” I guess because it’s for adults, and only adults drink coffee…?
This beautiful thing was in the lobby.
Isn’t that reflection pretty? I love how it makes it really hard to notice that he signed it. Definitely what I was going for. I’m a great photographer.
My skates, obviously very stylish.
There weren’t many people there, which was awesome. Less people means more room on the NHL size arena for me to fall down. We were easily the most inexperienced people there. It was mostly other women having what appeared to be a skating social club of some kind, and they were all very graceful in their figure skates. There was one guy there though who skated in hockey skates, just zipping back and forth and skating the lines of the faceoff circles and making it look like it was the easiest thing in the world. It reminded me of how the pros skate. I was jealous of how good he was. He even had some pretty fancy skates; I know I’ve seen the same kind on guys in NHL games.
Someday I will be able to skate like that dude.
My dad, skating backwards. The last time he went ice skating was when he and my mom were dating. So… 1984, he said. He grew up in Chicago though, and said he went skating a lot as a kid. According to him, it was like “riding a bike.” And he was definitely a lot better at it than I was, but he told me I was doing really well for it being my first time ice skating ever (on actual flat ice that is mean to be skated upon). It was a very nice thing for him to say.
Apparently for him it used to be easier to skate backwards than forwards, which I do not understand at all. But that’s what he was doing in that picture.
View of the bench.
So here are my tips:
1. Make sure your skates fit you. They didn’t have half sizes in the hockey skates, so I went for a 9 instead of an 8. This was a mistake, because my skates kept getting loose, and apparently, when your skates are loose, it’s a lot easier to fall down. I actually only fell down once, but it was because with looser laces it got a lot harder to keep my ankles straight. I mean… I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason I fell, and it wasn’t just because I suck.
2. Prepare to be sore. Okay, so we were there for like, forty minutes tops, and today I feel like I’m gonna die. The only part of my body that isn’t sore is my back. My ARMS are killing me the worst. My ARMS. You don’t ice skate with your freakin’ arms! Even part of my hand is sore (but I think that’s from grabbing the boards so often). But I guess it makes sense, because I was trying really hard not to be a loser and hang on to the side of the rink the whole time and that meant my arms were flying around everywhere as I tried to keep my balance. I must have been really tensed up that whole time because good lord. I remember sitting there on the bench (after tightening my skates for like the third time) and thinking, “I wonder if I’ll be sore tomorrow? I mean, right now I feel fine!” I no longer feel fine. (I guess the flip side of this is that I have found a fun way of working out that does not feel remotely like working out at the time.)
3. Also prepare to get sweaty. Ha ha ha I failed at this really badly. I should have known from watching hockey for a million years and seeing how sweaty the players get but no. I am dumb.
4. Confidence. The more confident I felt, the easier it was to keep myself from toppling over or having to slam into the boards to keep myself upright. By the time we left, I was able to get almost all the way around the rink without needing any help from the boards.
That’s it. What? ONE DAY VETERAN here, people. I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’m definitely going to go back. Next Friday. Book it. By then my muscles may have recovered themselves enough for me to assault them again.