Monday, February 25, 2013

A visit to the Flyers Skate Zone

Your diarist played ice tourist back on the Sunday after St. Valentine's Day.  We were at the Jersey shore and my home ice at Bowie was off limits due to a hockey tournament.  As is the case of most busy Sunday afternoon publics, this session was fully loaded with the usual cast of players:  hockey boyz skating fast, against the grain of traffic, and well beyond their skill levels; parents carrying (!) small children while attempting to skate with their running mates careening about unsteadily taking pix with a cell phone; teens alternating between skating arm in arm, 6 abreast or standing 6 abreast stopped in traffic; peeps insistent on cutting through the center circle just as you are winding up for a jump; and finally, other teens pretending to be ice monitors with about the same disdain that Claude Rains musters in Casablanca .  Diaristdaughter and I took that all in stride and got in two hours of mostly forward skating without killing anyone.  For me the part I disliked the most was that after the mites hockey game, which preceded the public session, the rink management shut down two of the three banks of lighting, leaving just the center string on.  This created odd shadows and dark areas through out the rink.  Kinda reminded me of pond skating at dusk but without the rustic charm.  But beggars can't be choosers and even at $8.00 (roughly double the price of a similar public at home) it was better than not skating at all.  Why so costly you might ask?  Basically because they can get away with it.  Since the Skate Zone opened back in 2000, several older nearby rinks in Ventnor City, Vineland, etc. have closed leaving the Skate Zone as the only game in town.  No doubt they have frequent skater options and quieter mid-week public sessions that would reduce both the cost and the roar of the crowd but one wonders if they turn off even more lights when the skating population is just a handful.  Perhaps I'll answer that question this summer when I'm on vacation back in this area.  My next bit of ice tourism takes place towards the end of this month when I go down to St. Pete, Florida for a boat race.  My motel is only a few blocks from Clearwater Ice Arena and although they've done away with the 6am free style session that I dropped in on last year, they do have a Friday night public session that agrees with my timetable.  How can I resist?

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