Thursday, May 16, 2013

Displaced to foreign parts: wherein the wandering Bowegian goes to Wheaton Ice Arena

Wheaton Ice Arena is located just off of Arcola Ave. in Wheaton, Maryland.  Like an endangered Polar bear one sees in a public television nature program devoted to global warming, your diarist has been forced to desperately scan the horizon for an ever dwindling source of new ice in order to survive.  First Bowie Ice Arena shut down for annual maintenance and then Piney Orchard also closed in order to resurface their rink.  This week I'm taking Horace Greeley's advice and find myself "going west".  Wheaton is a bit of a hike around the beltway from Bowie but isn't too far from my lab at Beltsville.  Yes, the Ice Garden at Laurel, Maryland is closer but their public session schedule doesn't jive well with my work schedule, so over to Wheaton I went.  I took off from the lab at 3:30 this afternoon which allowed plenty of time to arrive for the 4:30 to 6 pm public session. I inquired as to whether or not they had a geezer rate and was rewarded by saving a buck ($5.50 vs $6.50).  While I was lacing up a kid in hockey skates jumped out on the ice before the Zamboni operator had closed the end rink doors which is a major no-no on every rink I've ever skated.  He was promptly chastised for his breach of etiquette.  After we were finally allowed to step out on the ice I saw the ice monitor setting up cones on the four red dots which surround the center circle.  Since this is something not done at my home ice I asked her about the significance and she said they put the cones out to create a space where traffic doesn't cross into so that folks can practice their edges, spins, etc. without fear of an ice tourist invading the space at an inopportune time.  How civilized!  When I revealed that I was a displaced skater wandering from rink to rink while my home ice was being refurbished, she indicated that this rink will also close for a few weeks in late June or early July. When that happens most of the Wheaton skaters will migrate to the rink at Cabin John.  For me the exodus will probably extend to the rink at Rockville.  My wanderings will finally end on the 6th of July when Bowie reopens.  The Wheaton rink is part of a large county sports complex that features a park with soccer and base ball fields.  Along with the above indoor rink. this complex also has an outdoor rink which functions during winter.  Wheaton Ice Arena is the home of a well known ice dance school.  My impression of the rink is that the facility is very nice, well lighted and has the sensation of good management and maintenance that one comes to expect from a county or city run rink.  Although I skated a late afternoon public session that featured on-going LTS lessons, (which put about a third of the ice off limits), it was never crowded.  My main problem was that I hadn't skated in roughly a week and it took me most of the hour and a half just to claw my way back to where I was when I last skated at Piney last Friday.  But when one only skates once a week instead of four or five times, skills do erode.  I commiserated with a girl who, like myself, was trying to get her half-flip jump under control.  After the public session ended I headed home.  The next session was a level-2 free-style session.  Both too advanced and too spendy for your thrifty diarist.  I'll probably return to Wheaton a few more times before moving on to Rockville.  If you skate at Wheaton and see a white haired geezer come over and say "hi"--I won't bite!

1 comment:

  1. What we will do for ice! Especially in the summer! In the summer where I live it's pretty rough between summer training camps for the young figure skaters and crowded public sessions when the kids are out of school. I just discovered a public which is really way too far away but which starts at 8 a.m. and is really uncrowded. And this week I'm traveling and have skated both on a nice uncrowded $4 public session and on a freestyle session which had an exorbitant drop-in price. But eventually you do need to skate on those, gotta play the program music and you can't really practice some of the things I need to do (like the power circles for my gold moves) on a public session.