Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rink Cred

Today I moved up the food chain at Bowie Ice Arena.  How do I know?  For starters, several of the ice princesses now smile at me instead of rolling their eyes as we pass each other at speed a few centimeters apart on different trajectories.  They've accepted me if not as a semi-skilled practitioner of their art, at least as a more or less predictable moving object within the rather "target rich" environment which is a public session.  In addition, their coaches also now talk to me rather than glare if I move to the center circle to practice.  To a degree I think the coaches tolerate my presence because having me circulating at the outer perimeter of the circle tends to dissuade the great unwashed from cutting across that semi-sacred patch of ice.  Currently I'm practicing the seven step Mohawk combination sequence required for the Gamma level ISI test.  The coaches working the center circle no doubt recognize the sequence of steps for that combination, having taught it to a bazillion students.  In addition they can probably read my lips as I silently count the steps in my head.  As a consequence my moves are fairly predictable to them but less so to the day trippers looking for a short cut. 

Today's public session was extra nuts because tomorrow there will be no public session due to a figure skating competition. So in addition to the usual mob of wall hangers and wobbly skaters, all our rink's ice princesses were out in force getting in one last nervous run-through of their programs.   As is the case of most public sessions, whenever there are large differences in skill levels on ice at the same time, the risk of close encounters increases. Many of the day trippers appear to have about the same grasp of rink etiquette as a mob of sheep.  The kids circulating as ice rink monitors do a decent job but they can't be everywhere.  Maybe the rink should invest in some border collies...

For me the upshot of today's session was that the conditions forced me to practice the CCW direction--which I dislike.  Working on anything going CW would have probably resulted in a quick trip to the ER.  I'll drop in on a freestyle session either at Bowie or Wells on Tuesday and work the CW side of life.  Towards the end of the first hour of the session Mike, my group lesson coach, let his private student go (she was totally frustrated by the crowd) and took a look at me doing single and two foot glides.  We agreed that the latest blade adjustment tweak seems spot on.  I'll have Nick sink the permanent screws on Monday.


  1. Isn't it a great feeling when you are a part of the "skaters" and no longer an "ice tourist" (as another adult skater calls them.)

    I love the idea of border collies on ice. Our rink needs them for sure- we don't have ice monitors so there is no direction to our public skating, just utter chaos.

  2. Yes, it's always pleasant when one becomes an accepted member of a given population. As I reintegrate back into skating I'll probably join our rink's FS club and then I'll be in real trouble--I'll be expected to remember names!

    Sheep dogs on ice--it could work! I think things at the rink will calm down a bit when (a). the competitive season winds down, and (b). the weather turns predictably warm.