Last night was the finale of the four lesson September mini-session at our rink. While neither diaristdaughter or your old diarist advanced a level, we both improved from where we were back in August. At this point I'm working towards the ISI's Delta level and can do all the elements in passable form if I'm fully warmed up. That fully warmed up thing is not an option during group lessons. You stretch a bit during the few minutes before your group is called onto the ice, the coach lets you have a minute or two to shake the sillies out of your legs while he looks at his clipboard and then it's show time.
To pass Delta one must demonstrate proper form for inside and outside forward edges started from a T-position, do right and left forward inside 3 turns, do either a lunge or "shoot the duck", and finally show off your best bunny hop. For the non-skaters in the audience, a "hop" is a non-rotational jump. On a good day I can do all the above, but an honest assessment is that I can't yet do them at the drop of a hat with the flinty-eyed, take no prisoners elan required to pass. To steal a line from Chief Dan George (from the movie Little Big Man) "Sometimes the magic happens and sometimes it doesn't". I'm confident that with more practice and coaching the magic will happen by the end of the next series of lessons which kick off next Thursday. Mike has conflicts during Thursdays in October and I similarly can't switch to the Saturday lesson time so we shall see what perspectives a new Thursday coaching personality will bring to the table over the next seven weeks.
Diaristdaughter meanwhile has made good progress towards moving from being an ice tourist to a creditable skater in just four lessons. She can now snow-plow stop and swizzle like nobody's business and is taking those first hesitant forward crossover steps. This puts her streets ahead of any number of peeps who make up the "target rich environment" which is a public session. Quite an accomplishment for someone with just four lessons and a few practice sessions under the belt.