Tag Archives: Vacaville

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.


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.


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!


Too Pooped to Practice

It was a long weekend of hanging out with some old and new friends at the dropzone. I didn’t go big on the partying; we were home before 11 pm every night. But still didn’t sleep well Friday or Saturday night, which left me debating going to class by late afternoon on Sunday. Decision made when I was almost falling asleep on the couch at 5 pm – I was too tired to skate and even massive amounts of caffeine weren’t going to make it happen. I spent the rest of the evening planted firmly on the couch while Keith went off to skate.

He said it was a pretty good class. They did a lot of skating, and with only 18 people there the shifts were long in the scrimmage. Introduced climbing over the boards and changing on the fly – of course. That’s one thing I didn’t want to miss. Oh well, I was so tired I’d probably have smacked my head on the boards on the way over.

While hanging out and chatting over beers, he learned that several people from the class are hitting the Thursday morning sticktime at Skatetown. Now we are torn… we love the empty ice at Vacaville, but these are the people who are likely going to be the core of the team that comes out of the class. We haven’t decided if we are for sure going to be a part of that team, but we want to keep our options open – and it would be good to be able to run some drills with other people at sticktimes. Ideally, we could hit an early morning sticktime at Vacaville on Tuesdays to focus on skating and then join the others at Skatetown on Thursday to work on team play…

Was all excited about getting to play some 3 on 3 with Pandora this coming Saturday, but not enough people responded in time so it’s been cancelled. The joys of summertime scheduling, I guess; most everyone has things going on this time of year.

I’m still very excited about getting the chance to play with Pandora at a women’s tournament in Vacaville the first weekend of August. Pandora will be sending two teams, a silver and a bronze. Assuming I’m good enough to even be on a team, this will be not only my first tournament… the first game of the tournament will be the first time I’ve played 5 on 5 in an actual game. Nothing like putting some extra pressure on myself!

Even better, we leave on our delayed honeymoon a few days after the practice and we won’t return until a day or two before the tournament. I won’t be worn out after 10 days of backpacking. Really I won’t.

Silly Stick Time

We’ve missed our Thursday morning stick times the past two weeks. Even though I promptly curled back up under the covers after turning the 5 am alarm off, I wasn’t going to miss it this week.

As I got in the truck, I saw our “Sharks territory” sign. They sent a bunch out to people they can take pictures of them while on vacation. We got a few on our trip up to Seattle last weekend.


I’d forgotten to take the sign out of the truck. So it was back into the house to find the camera – if there are only the two of us on the ice, why not be a bit (okay, a lot) silly?


I remembered to put the camera in my gear bag, but I forgot the sign. by the time Keith mentioned it, we were already half dressed. I considered walking out to the truck wearing half my hockey gear but for some reason decided against it.


The ice was, once again, all ours. Not quite as perfect as some mornings; there were a few ruts here and there but they weren’t deep. We managed to ignore the camera for the majority of the hour. Did some transitions and I fell and smacked my head on the one I tried with speed. Doh! Then I fell and smacked my head again while doing crossovers. Double doh!


After that, I decided to just skate and not challenge myself. By the end of the hour, crossovers/lane changes were smooth on both sides, and right foot stops were beginning to feel “right” again. No huge leaps of improvement, but a good skate overall.


We couldn’t ignore the camera completely. All that ice and just the two of us… even without the Sharks sign, we managed to get more than a bit silly. 😀



The dropzone is having it’s annual party – the American Boogie – this weekend.  Four days of skydiving, four nights of partying.  I won’t be jumping but I will be heading out to visit (and drink) with friends. Good times!