As I signed up, I briefly wondered if I'd be the only adult. I had visions of being paired with a short, impatient ten year old who skates better than I do. The things I do for art...
OK, so last Thursday was the first lesson. The mythical ten year old didn't materialize but another adult (female) skater did. It turned out that we were the only skaters to sign up for dance--perhaps not a good sign in terms of ice dance group lessons continuing into the fall, but we shall see. N. my group lesson partner is a pleasant woman whom I've previously encountered in adult group free style lessons. The coach for these lessons was not my familiar Coach K. but that's alright; my skating will get looked at from a fresh perspective, which might be a good thing as I'll discuss later.
Coach M. started us off by talking about posture: roll the shoulders back and stand tall. She briefly addressed the importance of extension and toe pointing and then had us do continuous forward outside edges as a segue into forward swing rolls. She watched and immediately questioned me if I was left handed. I told her the story about how in grade school penmanship class you'd get smacked if you picked up the pencil with the left hand and so, although I'm right handed, I'm a suppressed leftie. She had me do a few more edges and swing rolls and then said "you may have an equipment issue."
Wow! Stop the presses! Maybe some small fragment of my pathetic skating can be chalked off to an "equipment issue" rather than lousy execution by the skater! Whoot! Whoot!
After the lesson we discussed the ins and outs of tweaking blade positions and conducting minor boot modifications. It was decided that I should book an appointment with Mike Cunningham, a locally well known skate technician, who runs a business down in Waldorf, Maryland called Skater's Paradise. Saying that Mike Cunningham is good is an understatement--he was selected to be the skate technician for the US Olympic Team at the recent Sochi Winter Games (Skater's Paradise was closed all of last February). I haven't called to make an appointment yet. I assume it will be weeks before I can see the man and I'm wondering if a guy as low as I am on the figure skating food chain really rates the time of such an august specialist, but call him I will, and assuming I'm granted an audience with Mr. Cunningham, my low level Jackson Freestyle skates and I will go under the maestro's microscope.
Will I suddenly be transformed into an elegant, pain-free figure skater after having my boots and blades massaged by this talented artisan? I kinda doubt it, but at least after a session with Mike C. I'll be able to rule out faulty equipment as an excuse and reclaim total possession of all my short comings!