I skated the Friday afternoon public. It was lightly populated and I actually got in some useful Canasta Tango practice. S. a free-style skater whom I know from power stroke class, was also on-ice, working hard. She's a strong adult free-style 4 skater who's been working like forever to escape to FS-5. The only thing holding her back is that she doesn't quite have her axle. She tends to two foot the landings. Anyway, we were both doing our respective thing when out of the corner of my eye I saw her go for it and actually land cleanly. Wonderful to see after months of unrewarded work. I skated over to give her a thumbs-up but in doing so I was very inattentive to my skating and managed to trip over my own "toe peeks". In the process, I managed to deliver myself at her feet in a spectacularly inelegant, full on belly flop. I have a very small sense of shame so it was not a big deal. I looked up from my prone position on the ice and said "this is absolutely the last time I'm ever giving you a thumbs-up, so enjoy it!"
Now one point I'd like to make from this little admission of clumsiness is that when I skate my personal value literally increases several hundred dollars just in d3o ballistic padding alone; knee pads, butt pads, hip pads, tail bone, wrist guards, you name it--I'm surprised I haven't been "jacked" in the rink parking lot just for the value of my protective gear.
Honey, let me tell you--all that stuff earned its keep on Friday. My fall must have looked just as stupendous as S's axle landing, judging from the reaction of a very concerned ice monitor, but I quickly staggered to my haunches and felt pretty good all things considered. And unlike other incidents which I've blogged about this one didn't define the rest of the session (or following months). I quickly got back to productive skating and finished the session none the worse for the wear.
So, if you've been on the fence about protective gear, this post is your heads-up. Get some good gear--this is one area not to scrimp--and wear it--at least during practice sessions. The lumps and bumps to your otherwise slim, trim, sleek and racy lines are way better than the lumps and bumps you'll be sporting courtesy of orthopedic appliances if you bust something. Like other life-style choices, this is one that can help you avoid or at least reduce the effects of an otherwise nasty outcome.
Here endeth the lesson.