Tag Archives: skating

Naked and Vulnerable

We met up with our friends, Muffin and Buttercup, for lunch and some skating yesterday. It’s been well over a year since I’ve been to a public skate; it was weird walking into the rink without the bag full of gear, weird to not go into the locker room, weird to be getting on the ice without my gear.

I felt so naked and vulnerable out there. If I fell down it was going to hurt.

The ice was pretty good considering it was 90+ degrees F outside. There were maybe 10 people on the ice, including a group of middle aged female figure skaters dominating center ice. We did some lazy laps at first, checking out the ice and chatting with our friends.

I wasn’t going to skate aggressively or push any of my skating skills without the gear, but the ice was good and my skates are pretty sharp…. tried some crossovers and they were very good. Tried some crossover lane changes and they were very good. Tried some left foot stops and they were good. Even transitions at slow speed felt okay. Huh.

Gave Muffin and Buttercup some tips on basic skating skills, making sure to remind them that we know NOTHING and are probably teaching them bad habits.

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The caveat comes from experiences in skydiving. It’s quite common for newer jumpers to give advice to those even newer. Unfortunately, many times that advice is bad; the jumper giving the advice just doesn’t know any better. We call them 100 jump wonders, and they can be found on every dropzone and on every skydiving related internet forum. The title isn’t mean-spirited though, as we’ve all been there.

We don’t want to be the hockey equivalent of a skydiving 100 jump wonder. But something we said must have been helpful, as they both said it was one of the best skating sessions they’d had so far.

Wasn’t so bad for us either. It was good to be out there without the pads and my stick. I knew I depend on the pads to keep falls from hurting, but I hadn’t realized just how much I depend on my stick – for balance and to make up for some of the lacks in my skating skill set.

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I was very happy with my crossovers, in both directions. Did quite a few laps including lane changes, focusing on smoothness and riding the edges before putting the next foot down. They felt so good that I wasn’t even jealous watching another guy building more speed backwards than I can forwards. I’ve come so far and there’s still so much more to learn – and that’s part of why I love hockey.

Oh yeah, I did fall down.  Twice.  Got a nice little bruise on my knee from one of them. Glad I get to wear the gear tonight!

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