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Skating at Newbridge Arena (Or: How to Fall Until it Stops Hurting)

By Eva Grace Martinez

Volume 1 Issue 7

April 22, 2021

Skating at Newbridge Arena (Or: How to Fall Until it Stops Hurting)

Image provided by Gail Winton

“Hey, do you want to go ice skating this weekend?”

The question asked above was sent to me a few weekends ago, and along with the invite, a promise of a nice break before AP season. So, I excitedly sent back, “Yes!” As much as I was looking forward to finally having plans that weren’t school-related on my calendar, there was one big problem—I can’t skate.

I’ve done my fair share of sports growing up, and was even a gymnast for several years through my childhood. I know to how to ski and snowboard, and can even ride a skateboard, however, ice skates always seemed to be my downfall...literally. When like me, you have a propensity for breaking bones, and seem to be impossibly clumsy, there are certain skills you never pick up. My parents saw how often I would stumble up the steps to my room and decided that mixing me and ice skates would be asking for disaster. So, with no childhood training or balance to fall back on, I would have to turn somewhere else to prepare for my ice-skating adventure.

Thankfully, my memory is better than my balance, and I remembered that last issue, we published an article about learning how to skate. After some light reading and praying to any god I could name for the gift of good balance, I got into my friend’s car, and I was on my way to Newbridge Arena.

So, turns out a few prayers and reading one article won’t make you into any Michelle Kwan. I never really grew out of my childhood clumsiness, and when put on centimeter-thin blades on ice, that problem is only exacerbated. I had the grace of a baby giraffe attempting to wobble through the Savannah minutes after being born. Which, to translate from metaphor to reality means I spent most of my afternoon falling. Before anyone goes skating for the first time, I recommend learning how to fall safely. This definitely saved me from breaking a few fingers on the ice. I would also recommend bringing someone with you who does know how to skate, as they can help you get your bearings when just starting out.

Thankfully, our Advice Editor, Alicja Paruch, is an excellent skater and an equally excellent teacher. She held my hand (both literally and figuratively) while I slipped and stumbled around the rink. It made for an interesting experience but ultimately a fun one. By the time I was able to hold myself up, I felt as if I had accomplished something grand. A feeling completely decimated seconds later by the small children in hockey jerseys moving faster than I ever could in my life (seriously, those kids move like the ice doesn’t bother them at all). Although I was moving slow, the feeling of finally being able to move at all was exhilarating, and I began to understand precisely why so many people love the sport.

Yet, skating can be pretty dangerous. Once, while attempting to speed up, I slipped and fell. This would have been an annoying fall on its own just because of my slightly higher speed, but on the way down, I managed to kick the blade of Ala’s skate, sending her to the ice as well. Of course, we are both okay, and we escaped that fall without any major injury. If you decide to go skating, keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the rink around you. Spatial awareness can save you and someone else from a broken bone or two.

Overall, going skating was a fun day trip I would recommend for anyone looking to try something new. If you dance, do gymnastics, or otherwise cultivate a skill that requires balance, you’re probably going to be far better than I was on your first try. If you’re clumsy like me, then remember to stick with it; it’s not a skill you can develop instantly. Once I could move on my own, the challenge became exciting, and I definitely look forward to going again!

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