Last weekend diaristdaughter and I decided to return to the scene of my crime, the Bowie Ice Arena, for the Sunday 2 to 4 pm public session. I went to my bedroom closet and dug out the two tote bags which held my skates and various bits of gear. I hadn't looked at this stuff since the 7th of July: padded shorts, knee pads, bunga sleeves, elbow pads, wrist guards. It all seemed so alien, so disconnected from my recent existence which featured emergency rooms, CT scans, operating rooms and IC units. I found myself wondering if I really wanted to do this. I didn't seem to have the same drive that I had after recovering from breaking my radius three years earlier. I idly wondered if since my latest injuries included my brain, that perhaps my brain was making me hesitant in the attempt to protect itself from further injury. Sort of like HAL trying to prevent Dave from interfering with the mission in 2001, a space odyssey. I also struggled with the inertia from a wife who was not keen on having me resume skating. After getting dressed I paused at the door for one bit of new kit: a green skateboard helmet.
We arrived at the rink later than I normally would since I normally like to get in every possible minute of ice time. Value for money kind of thinking. This time I figured I might have the gumption to skate for a half hour, so a few lost minutes wouldn't matter. Was this my brain still trying to influence the outcome?
But once I walked into the lobby it seemed like every other person I saw was a skating pal and I'd taken them quite pleasantly by surprise--sort of like a surprise visit from a minor celebrity like the Keebler Elf. I must admit it was good seeing some of my familiar peeps. My hesitation started to evaporate. The young woman at the counter smiled, gave me an ice pass and refused my money. One of the rink directors came out of the office and half joking, asked me if I'd brought a release form from the surgeon clearing me to skate. I told him I'd already given that form to the HR folks at work. He asked me to not louse up his ice with blood again as he returned to his office. It was good to be back! I took my skates out of the bag and laced them up. The session had started five minutes earlier and it was time to find out what skills I had retained before the ice got too chewed up. I removed the terry cloth soakers from my blades and stepped through the entrance.
The first few glides told me that I hadn't lost everything. After perimeter skating for five minutes I started to explore t-stops, 3-turns and inside Mohawks. I still could do them and still had the annoying bias against left side/CW direction elements. For some reason inside forward 3s didn't want to happen at all (I eventually got them to work) and I also couldn't remember how to enter a single foot spin from an outside forward 3. Little by little things started to come back. Forward edge pulls were weak even on my normally good side. As I mentally took stock I decided to leave jumps to another day. I finally remembered the entry for a single foot spin and after doing a couple, I fell out of a awkward slow spin and I think the entire ice rink exhaled as I quickly got back up on my skates.
Mid way through the session I spied my dance coach. We briefly exchanged hellos and she said she'd been watching me and I didn't look too wobbly. Since she had another student in lesson I told her I'd be in touch about lessons once I'd knocked some of the rust off. I tried to skate a couple of the low level pattern dances that I had known well only to discover that I couldn't recall the entire series of steps--most annoying since just before the fall that took me off the ice, I'd been very close to testing those dances. Another thing to add to the "they'll come back" department.
After the session ended (I skated the entire session rather than the thirty minutes I'd planned) I called my wife to ask if we needed a bottle of wine for dinner. I think she appreciated the call. It served two purposes: she didn't have to wonder if she'd get a call from an emergency room, and we did need some wine. No doubt about it, living with me leads a woman to strong drink.