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Posts Tagged ‘crowds’

An ice rink is 85′ x 200′. It should be big enough for a few low-level skaters to practice in. But last week there wasn’t enough ice in the world.

Sometimes there are close calls on the ice – it happens at every level. Last week my partner* had a close call with a rather frail beginner skater. There was no contact but it was as close as you can get. My partner was a little rattled and the other skater, who was going backward at the time and not looking, didn’t even know what happened. Their coach did see it and had the same OMG! reaction I had.

So 30 minutes later I hear the coach telling some other skater about the near collision and adding some inaccurate details. Then the skater takes it upon themself to educate my partner and me that you need to watch out for other skaters. That didn’t sit well with my partner and he told the skater to buzz off. And he was totally right. Not only was he not being reckless, but he’s not a child. He knows — and does — watch out for others.

What motivated that coach to talk behind our backs — in earshot no less — is beyond me. That’s juvenile and unprofessional. But what isn’t beyond me is to never take a lesson with them and never recommend them to a student. That coach can bet their skates they’ll never see a penny from me.

And what motivated that skater to be such a busybody is beyond me too. Did they think we were going to bow down to them and hug the boards for the rest of our skating lives? They know they’re going to continue to see us on the ice and that it’s going to be ackward from now on. I’m in no way going to stop being polite to them, but it’s going to be different.

So here’s the lesson: Ice rinks are small places. I’m not talking about the size of the rink; I’m talking about the skating community associated with the rink. Let’s all try to get along. I think everyone wants the best for everyone else’s skating – and if you don’t then I’d watch out for karma more than any dance team.

*I forgot to tell you: I found an ice dance partner! It’s not a super serious partnership, like he’s not interested in going to the Olympics, but he does want to become a better dancer. So we’re taking dance lessons together, learning partner skills and getting a really strong foundation from a really great coach…and we spilt the pro’s fee. 😉  (Honestly, I give it four weeks, tops.)

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I’m watching Silk’s Skate for the Heart on NBC and besides the usual annoyance of them showing the live band more than the skater, there is some (or more than one) annoying fan shrieking at everything every skater does.

I can’t skate when people are hysterically shrieking. Once there was a school group at the rink and this girl was shrieking uncontrollably and I went up to her all concerned and asked “Are you hurt?” “no” “THEN STOP EFFIN’ SCREAMING OR I’M GONNA KICK YOU OUT!” (yeah, I told annoying people I had the authority to kick them out even though I didn’t.)

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Dealing With Crowds

I’ve skated regularly at seven rinks and at one time or another they all got overcrowded.

When I was a kid and thought I was God’s gift to skating it didn’t scare me. I thought since I obviously was such a great skater that everyone would get out of my way.

I was so lucky I didn’t hurt myself or others with my attitude.

Today, the crowds scare me. Not only because some skaters have the same cavalier attitude I had decades ago, but because times have changed. The skating rink is no longer a family destination, but a place to drop the kids off at. And parents who do stick around aren’t as protective of my behind as I am. So how do I deal with it?

Don’t show your fear. The benefits to this are many. One is you never know when you’re going to skate across a skater who thrives on cutting off the timid skaters. Another is if you display some confidence there will be skaters who will give you some space, just don’t get cocky and be sure to return the favor.

Relax. If you’re relaxed as opposed to rigid with fear you’ll actually be able to skate. And, just like a drunk, if you collide with someone and you’re body is relaxed you’re less likely to get injured.

Seperate your muscles from your mind. Remind yourself the fear is in your mind, not your muscles, so it’s you making yourself tense up.

Look up. If you’re looking down you’re going to fall down – or get knocked down by the kid you didn’t see coming.

Have confidence in others. Unless you think the skater cutting you off is completely reckless, have some confidence that they aren’t looking to knock you down. There are some skaters out there who know how to quickly maneuver around a rink and not take down anyone in their path.

Get in your bubble. I got this idea from the movie “Ice Princess.” Pretend you’re skating in a bubble to try to block out the surrounding commotion.

Help others. If you don’t have the room or nerve to practice your elements, offer to help some beginning skaters.

Pair up. Buddy up with a fellow figure skater to practice some elements or stroke around the ice. Sometimes working with someone takes your mind off the people around you.

Leave. If the crowd is really that bad get off the ice and ask the manager if you can get a rain check for a calmer session.

If you have any tips to have an enjoyable skate during a crowded session let me know, especially if you’re rink has been able to stop the on-ice texting phenomena.

Happy skating!
Stephanie Q.

P.S. If you’ve never had the pleasure of a crowded public session, this lady sums it up perfectly: http://wrekehavoc.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/skateaway/

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