Sunday, February 21, 2010

Worst Skating Day

It was bound to happen sometime. I suppose I shouldn't complain; no one got mangled, at least not yet. However, a day later I am still quite upset by the whole thing.

It started out badly. For no apparent reason, I twisted my ankle walking out of the house to my car. I didn't trip. I didn't loose my footing. I just stepped on the side of my foot and down I went. Of course with the competition three weeks away a string of expletives were sent out to greet the sunny Saturday morning. After having a crying jag, throwing my water bottle and hitting the door a few times I calmed down. My husband finally found me and helped me get up. I could put weight on it and walk without limping so I decided I was going to the rink anyway.

I skipped jump roping and just did my stretching. Then, on went the boot. A little sore but very tolerable. I got on the ice. Stroking no problem. Hard edges no problem. Forward crossovers no problem. Backward crossovers no way. Since I injured my landing foot, I already knew that jumping was out, so today went from a Salchow practice day to a spin practice day. I did a program run through with a few substitutions to mark the back crossovers and the waltz jump but I was happy with it considering the bum foot. I practiced the footwork prior to the spin. So far so good.

The ice was getting crowded. This session is a group lesson session rather than public or freestyle. Anyone that pays money can get on. This is where we learn to skate on club ice without the high test kids whizzing around. The rules of play are slightly different for group lesson ice than freestyle ice. Typically each coach is given an area of the ice and their students take their lessons and practice in that area. The adult group has been assigned the end of the ice from the blue hockey line. Of course we get the Zamboni end of the rink with the crappiest ice but hey it is cheap ice and sometimes it is even smooth.

We are in the midst of Olympic fever so each week one or two new adults show up for group lessons. We went from four of us skating a month ago to having nine crammed in our area with two others down the other end of the rink with a different coach. That is eleven adults from absolute can barely stand up beginner to my friend that is doing axels and double jumps and we are all bouncing off each other in one third of the rink. Thus, my friend and I commandeer one of the hockey circles and take turns, me spinning and my friend doing jump runs. Everyone is fine if a bit cramped.

Now this is where thing get strange. I went up to my coach for my ten minute lesson and apparently someone had told one of the other adults that we were supposed to stay at our end of the rink. Well I already knew this and once warm up is done we all tend to stay down that end of the rink anyway. It was probably announced for the benefit of the newer adult skaters that didn't know this. I don't mind adhering to the rules as long as the other kids/coaches do the same. However, during my lesson we kept getting interrupted by kids whizzing past me. I looked down the other end of the rink and there is a coach who stacked her students up in a line and was sending them one by one down the length of the rink right into the adult end and right through the path of my lesson. We had to move to another patch of ice. My lesson was done and my coach moved on to another skater. My friend and I went back to the hockey circle setup. I was in the middle of a sit spin and along came the little kids. I almost sliced one of them in half with my blade. That was it. I shooed all of them out of the area before one of them got seriously hurt. My friend and I went back to practice. However, I notice something totally weird, the rest of the ice is completely clear. The nine adults are all skating around our 1/3rd of the rink but all the kids are clustered in clumps around the boards. Super odd. While I have seen this phenomenon occur in freestyle sessions, I dont' think I have ever seen this in a group session before. Not being my concern I go back to practicing.

My coach comes over to give my friend her lesson so I leave the hockey circle and find another patch of ice to practice spins on. There isn't enough room for an entrance so I am doing them from a dead standstill. Suddenly kids come tearing down the ice doing spirals. I look to the other end and every single kid is coming down the ice. A coach is at the other end yelling instructions. The kids had formed a pack and were now commandeering the entire rink doing circuits following the coaches instructions. What is this bullshit? No one can skate. Everyone has to get out of their way. My friend's lesson is interrupted. All of the adults trying to practice are interrupted while this mob skates around.

I get pissed. Really really pissed. I'm tired. I twisted my ankle and didn't get the practice I wanted. I almost hurt a six year old kid because they haven't been told to stay out of our area by coaches who should know better. I tear off down the ice. If they are skating in the adult area I'm going to skate in their area. Because the kids are skating as a pack there is lots of empty ice at the other end of the rink. I start doing spirals, spread eagles, spins. Anything that takes lots of room and speed. As the mob starts back down my end of the rink I start doing sit spins since these take up a huge amount of space. People can't get near you or they risk getting their shins slashed open. I hear the coach yell "Stay away from the girl that is spinning!" WTF!!

I don't blame the kids. I think I stepped into some weird turf war between the coaches and the kids were being used as ammo. The coaches were shooting them down the rink into enemy territory. In the heat of the battle what wasn't taken into consideration is that someone can get hurt and hurt very badly. We wear razor sharp blades on our feet with very nasty toe picks on them. You can break bones and get concussions when you hit the very hard ice. This is a very very dangerous game to be playing.

Because I am angry I just want to go and get in their way. Tit for tat. This is very sophomoric on my part but I am so angry. There is no call for this. This is immature and dangerous. There is no reason for this as far as I can see. If the coaches have a problem with each other then they need to settle it off ice NOT use the kids as pawns in their battle. I need to calm down so that I can act more mature myself. I don't want to but I know that if I don't then I will just escalate things. I will make them worse if I start skating through other people's lessons. I might get kicked off the ice myself. Besides this isn't the fault of the kids. It is the coaches that are behaving badly. What the hell is their problem anyway??? Why interrupt my lesson and practice when I haven't done anything to them? WTF? GROW UP PEOPLE!! This is supposed to be fun!!

I'm not enjoying myself anymore. If this continues I'm going to have to look into other options. I am friends with the rink manager. I could always see if he will set up an adult only session independent of the club. Then we could skate in peace instead of in pieces.

(Just to keep you guessing I skate at five different rinks with four different clubs.)

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