The next morning as I prepared to go to work, my old Volvo wagon coughed up an error message on the dash board indicating that I had a transmission issue that needed immediate attention. I dropped the wagon off at the garage, and drove my wife to her employment in her car. Late in the day (too late for Bowie's last public) the garage called to say my wagon was ready for pick up. The problem was not the transmission but rather a sensor which communicates the engine speed to the main in-car computer which in turn tells the transmission which gear it needs to be in. I looked on-line and Piney Orchard Ice Rink had a late (8-10 pm) public. I decided to go put a couple hours on the newly sharpened blades.
I arrived at Piney just as the preceding Stick and Puck session was winding down. The Zamboni came out and the young lady at the helm drove over the sheet like she was chasing an ambulance (more likely she was late for the pub). The resulting ice surface was something akin to Belgian pavé.
Staying sunny side up over the lumps and bumps while practicing the Canasta Tango's swooping swing rolls and progressives was a challenge but since I didn't crash and burn I decided it was valuable practice time. My blades would not be an issue on Sunday.
Saturday was burnt up doing honey-do's--although after sunset I did manage to go over to the rink and watch a group of skater friends do a production number based on a medley of tunes from the Village People. Big fun.
Sunday dawned and with my group's warm time set for 8:09 am I hauled my butt out of bed and made my way over to the rink about 7 am. As I drove I idly wondered if my brain and feet were on speaking terms at this unreasonable hour. I checked in and told the person behind the counter that my coach had already provided my music, received my check in goodies and went back to the locker room marked "boys" to put on my skates and stow my bag and street shoes. I noticed that there was glitter all over the padded floor of the rink, lobby, etc. and later discovered that the glitter trail extended into the men's room(!) One of the items I received at check-in was a Team ISI T-shirt:
|Nice! A keeper. Love the logo.|
|This T-shirt was also included.|
Since solo ice dance events started at the beginning of the second day, we were bang on time and the level two dancers did their warm up and skated their Dutch Waltz in a flash. Next up was level 3 which had two groups: females aged 15-16 and mixed adults of undetermined age. One thing I'll comment upon is that four minutes makes for a v. skimpy "warm up" for an old gizzer. That's just my opinion of course. Yes, yes, if every old gizzer got 20 or 30 minutes to warm up the competition would drag on for weeks...
The second thing, which I will kvetch a bit more loudly about, is that when I lined up at center ice to skate, the girl in the sound booth stuck in a disc and cranked up the wrong music! Talk about tough love from your home rink. I had practiced to Hernando's Hideaway and although the music oozing out of the rink's sound system was Canasta Tango appropriate, it wasn't what I was banking on given my rather limited sense of musicality! Deciding to make the best of things, I managed to launch into the dance on the wrong beat and attempted to skate the pattern as best as I could while mentally digesting the new music. It didn't go well. I was so busy thinking about the bloody music that I got lost in the dance and did an extra pattern! About half way through I briefly thought "ya know, maybe you should just bag the Canasta Tango and launch into an improv skating thing-- ya might get scored higher". Seemed like a fair assessment at the time since I'd never heard the music before. To be honest, I would probably have come in second no matter what, but I would have felt a whole lot better if I'd have skated my best rather than whatever I did do out there.
All said, the better skater prevailed. I gave my competitor a congratulatory hug, collected my medal (undeserved from my perspective) and got a debrief from my coach. She was equally mystified about the music switch but had no explanation. She told me it didn't look as bad as I thought. Ah, coach A.--a great coach. One should always remember that great coaches, like great story tellers, also tend to be excellent liars.
I told her that as we ramp up for USFSA testing later this summer that she should pull out, at random, all of the likely music the judges might throw my way. The next time I encounter a CD player in an ice rink I plan to be prepared. So, an interesting if somewhat frustrating day out, but with an important lesson learned--if the wrong music gets queued up I need to slam on the brakes and say something or else be prepared to unflinchingly deliver the goods.
|My 2nd place medal. At least I wasn't beaten by the book!|