I haven't skated in about a year, but I haven't forgotten all those hours I've happily spent improving my skills. Here's a story I'd like to share with you about the joy of figure skating...
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Confessions of a Skateaholic
by Lisa Maliga
It happened during the Winter Olympics. I was watching the ice skating event and as each skater jumped and spun about the rink, I stood in front of the TV and tried to imitate them. I nearly knocked over some of the surrounding furniture.
After the Games were over, I finally summoned up enough courage to call a local ice rink to check out when a beginner like me could skate. After all, I was an adult. The way I was raised; figure skating was for grownups that participated with their own kids once or twice a year on snowy ponds. Being that Southern California didn't have any natural outdoor ice surfaces, I went to the Ice Chalet. Back then I worked in an office with the usual Monday to Friday 8-5 hours so my initial visit occurred on a Saturday afternoon along with about 400 other skaters. A smallish rink to begin with, it was so crowded that even the advanced skaters in the center had trouble finding an area where they could do their jumps and spins.
Those people in the middle of the commotion who wore their own skates and were able to imitate drill bits boring into the rutted ice surface mesmerized me. A young man wearing a Walkman and black spandex was able to spin on both feet. There was a heavyset woman in a cheery red sweater whose weight didn't interfere with her ability to launch into a blurry spin that made me dizzy to watch. A teenager was doing some jumps in a tiny area. The idea of leaving the ice intrigued me and I tried it but gravity had a way of holding me at ice level. For the length of the public session I remained, blissfully unaware of what time it was. The cold air was invigorating and the happy shouts of the mostly under-12 crowd brought back memories of carefree grammar and middle school years when I was able to skate outdoors in the Midwest.
Soon discovering a larger and less crowded facility, I skated a few more Saturdays before I began to seriously consider taking lessons since I wasn't learning anything new. I could skate forward and backward and even do some scratchy crossovers but no one would mistake me for Katarina Witt. I noticed a sign reading "ice dancing" which was offered on certain nights of the week. Arrangements were made and just after my birthday I had my first private 30-minute lesson with a coach by the name of Peter. I learned many things during that lesson: ice dancing didn't involve jumps and spins and freestyle did. I was officially going to be taught freestyle skating. After watching my wretched forward progress around the rink, Peter pulled me aside and suggested I learn how to stop. He also informed me that I was lacing my skates incorrectly--never were the laces to be wrapped around the ankles.
Every Saturday morning at 11:00 I had a lesson. My coach complained that I wasn't making much progress and suggested I skate more. I learned of the evening public sessions and was delighted to discover that the ice surface was a lot less crowded. I had room to practice my waltz jumps, even though I was barely able to leave the ice, and my two-foot spin had about one or two revolutions. Meeting more adult skaters just like me, I happily noticed Kim's seemingly daily improvement as she absorbed her coach's knowledge and was able to do real jumps and multi-revolution spins. Lyn was in the same boat as me--in love with the sport but not very quick to pick up new moves. One-year veteran James was my idol, as I tried valiantly to copy his effortless footwork.
I noticed some changes happening to me off ice. My legs were stronger and I had more energy. During the hot summer months I was able to eat ice cream and not gain weight. When making photocopies at work I utilized my time well -- I practiced my backspin on the tile floor. I learned that doing jumps in the elevator just as it went down increased the height. Talking about my love of the sport I found out that I wasn't the only one. Samantha had a niece who had returned to the ice after a long absence. Meg in a nearby department went skating during my usual Wednesday night timeslot and commented on how she saw me skating and thought I was good! Charlie admired me for doing something that he'd always wanted to do.
If skating is something you've thought about doing, then go ahead, try it! Most people are able to learn how to skate, regardless of their age. Ernst will always be a shining example of the saying 'never too late.' Back when he retired at the age of 65 he started to skate. Almost 20 years later he still manages to dance around the rink two and even three sessions a week. More rinks are catering to the older skater and the USFSA [United Skates Figure Skating Association] and the ISI [Ice Skating Institute] host yearly adult competitions. Instead of watching skating on TV isn't it time you tried it out for yourself?
Adult Figure Skating Links
Barbara Richter's Ice Skating Page Includes Stories From the Ice, a Photo Album and a listing of her latest Competitions and Tests.
NEW! Confessions of a Middle-Aged Figure Skater by Christina Han
Ice Network Video and event coverage, photos, skating fans and more.
Ice Skate Cafe is the only international ice skating web page, with a directory of over 1400 ice rinks over the world.
Ice Skating Institute Dedicated to providing leadership, education and services to the ice skating industry since 1959.
Ice Skating World A figure skating community with resources for skaters, fans, parents, and coaches.
Ice Time Apparel Specializing in hockey and figure skating apparel for men, women and children. We have a great range of warm ups, sweatpants, tee shirts, shorts and more. Available at great prices.
Skate Journal Reflections of an adult figure skater.
Skate Web The figure skating page.
Tim David's Skating Web Site See photos of Tim's skating and learn more about this 2004 & 2007 US Adult Eastern Sectional Gold Medalist.
USA Skates Ice skates, figure skates, hockey jerseys and much more!
U.S. Figure Skating Adult Program Whether you are new to the sport of figure skating or a seasoned veteran ready to return to competition, the U.S. Figure Skating Adult Skating Program has a place for you!