Speed Skating Ice requires marking at the start of the season. We share the rink with hockey and figure skating. Thursday morning, a few of the parents (and a coach) came out to do it. It’s more time consuming than I once thought. This is the third time I’ve helped out and the sixth time my wife has.
Marking the ice requires strict measurements so the the skaters can have accurate results for their times.
We each had a job to do. A few of us were measuring marking where we needed to place dots. One person was drilling holes for the dots, while two people painted the bottom of each one a different colour.
My job was to go around with a spray bottle and fill the holes back up with water once the paint began to freeze. I had to walk laps around the rink slowly filling each hole with water. A bit over a hundred holes and an hour and a half of walking. I began singing to myself “Watering the dots. I’m watering the dots..” to the tune of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland’s “Painting the Roses Red”.
It was a good feeling knowing that what we were doing will benefit the skaters all year. I like to think that our volunteering and support goes a long way. Now we are ready to start cheering and coaching the skaters for another season.
School’s in. Now the after school activities are beginning. Tonight is back to Speed Skating! Yay! Ice rinks!
Our son has returned to begin his seventh year. His older sister has also decided to return after a four year hiatus. She was doing Cheer Leading during this time. But now she wants to get back into competition speed skating.
Our son was like a bullet as he went back on the ice. Faster than ever and not stopping. All of his friends greeted him enthusiastically as they raced around.
Unlike our daughter. Her first few steps were wobbly and a bit fearful. Much like riding a bike, she figured it out and began gaining her confidence. As the skating season continues, I’m excited to watch them both improve.
Our oldest child has also decided to return to the ice. Unlike her brother and sister though, she will be volunteering her time as a junior coach and at the various meets. To graduate high school she needs a certain amount of volunteer hours. This should help her out tremendously.
So we are back to spending our Wednesday & Friday nights at the rink. Plus the occasional weekend. Parenting is a good way to transfer your social life over to your children’s. At least the other parents here are in the same boat.
Skating is pretty much second nature to most of us Canadians. That and snowshoeing to the grocery store to buy ice for our igloos. Ok, I jest. Our fridges make ice, we don’t need to buy it.
I’ve mentioned in the past about my son being in speed skating. Feel free to read about it: My Son- The Future Olympian. But I never talked about my personal skating experience. When I was a boy- younger than what my son is now- I learned how to skate in my backyard.
Yes, some parts of Canada allow for an ice rink to be made in literally our own backyards. My father would packdown the snow on our lawn with a board and build up an edge of snow all around. He would stand outside with the hose for about a week straight every evening creating ice. Each night, he would come inside for a coffee and a quick warm up, then back out. This often lasted for a few hours. I would watch him from the upstairs kitchen window until the darkness overcame the outdoors. After the first year, my father invested in flood lights so we could skate well into the night. Or until we froze our toes and fingertips. Frostbite among Edmontonians was a right of passage. My ears have felt the burn in the past.
My father, proud of his accomplishment, would invite the neighborhood kids (and the parents) for a skating party. There was hot apple cider and hot chocolate served in styrofoam cups. Laughs and fun would be had for a few hours. Hockey sticks and pucks a plenty remained in our yard every winter.
Father/son time. Photographic proof that my dad hung out with me.
My father taught me how to skate. I remember how tight he would pull the laces on my skates, even with his frozen hands. After learning the basics of hockey he would play pass with me. We had a few late nights with the white, red and green flood lights shining down on us as we skated around.
Memories of my father aren’t always good. But the winter season and Christmas meant a lot to him. This year, as I have written my blog, I have shown who I pictured my father to be. Good and bad- I do miss him. Sometimes I wonder what kind of grandfather he would have made. He would probably still be out there with his thumb over the end of the hose, creating a shimmering glass sheet of ice waiting for the children to mark it up with their blades.