Practice at the Ice Rink
I climbed out of the comforts of a 2016 gene Nissan white rogue, escaping from the warm and dusty to fresh crisp air. I welcome the feel of a nice cool breeze from the September autumn of Metro Vancouver. Having a firm grip on the simple handle of the luggage bag that held my skates after I hauled them out of the seats beside me, I strolled across the parking lot of Pitt Meadow Arena Complex where it will be my last practice before the school session starts. While partly surrounded by the Pitt Meadows athletic park of baseball and soccer fields, the build consists three rinks and two currently at the time have been melted for lacrosse, leaving one with hard ice. Walking in the lobby at 7 o’clock am of a Sunday, I let my bag down, pulled than extended the second handle and started wheeling the bag with me, followed by the rattling of its small wheels and the echo of my foot steps as I made my way across the high ceiled lobby to where I practiced for this season. Just after passing through the motion censored slide doors that separate the cool lobby air from the cold that was trapped during the night. the draft of the rink hits me, giving me goosebumps and making my teeth chitter together, almost like someone dumped a bucket of ice along my back and arms, just ice. I ushered on, knowing that the sooner I get on the ice and get moving, the better. The sounds of my footsteps and bag dulled as the indoor terrain change from concrete flooring to rubber matting with of the addition of the rinks fans that kept the ice stern and solid. Entering the half humid change room, leaving the freeze but still having feeling the chill, I tie on my ice skates, tug on my black thick cotton glove and my white wool sweater came back out to the arena.
The ice rink is fence in all around entirely by dense, thick white walls that are up to your waist along with plexus-glass to see on to the ice. Opening the closest gate to me and stepping on, one foot after the other (almost slipping), I can almost feel the flat, smooth, glassy surface from underneath the blades. Bending, pushing off, left, right, left right . . . I gain more speed after every push, gliding, needing to start my warm up because I still feel the freeze nipping at my arms and feet. Push, cross, push, cross . . . curving around to avoid the corners and stepping backwards, I ready myself for the first jump of the morning. With the speed I have I step back to forwards, kicking my bent leg in front giving lift while simultaneously pushing myself up with my left foot from the icy floor, sent me twirling in the air, then landing, gliding backwards again, but with my right leg extended up and my arms out, holding for at least six seconds.
20 minutes have already passed and other fellow skates had come, filling the entire rink with sounds off. . . well blades on ice; scratches and thumps from glides and jumps, addition to our three coaches, whom shout out corrections and/or steps to other skaters. I’m already warm, almost hot from the movement and the air is so cold to breath, it gives me the feel of biting my teeth into scoops of ice cream that have been just taken out of the freezer.