Skating Social Perks
Figure-skating isn't exactly the most social of all sports. You skate solo and learn solo from your coach, at different times from others, learn at different paces, do different things...so practice is pretty much a solo thing as well.
While in Singapore, you'd be pretty unlikely to meet anyone on ice (which doesn't say very much for friendliness of people there), it's great here in Dunedin. Since getting back on ice, I've met quite a lot of people, mostly during public skate sessions. Seems like if you can skate resonably, people like to come up to you to get to know you. Strange huh? As far as I can recall, I've met someone every single public skate session I've been down to, and these people I've gotten to know range from 6 to 50+ years.
Like today, I met this guy, Keith, who does figure-skating as well. From what I gathered he used to be really good, but he stopped skating for ages and only recently started again. He's looking for a skating partner to do skate-dancing and he wants to eventually enter the NZ Championships. He asked me to consider becoming his partner and I'm actually thinking maybe I'd give it a go. Doing tango and the likes of it on ice sounds fun....not too sure about his ambition to get into the NZ Championships though...I'm not quite up to scratch! Also, there's a category problem. He's 50+ and that puts him in the Masters Category which is for those 25 and above, while I'm neither here nor there really... Anyway Deanna's coaching him as well so I might just ask her about it.
Aside from meeting people, another good thing about skating during public sessions is that people give you a space...I usually use the centre of the rink. So more or less you have an area that is "yours"...most of the time anyway (the hockey skaters barge in and charge everywhere). Of course, you have the occasional poor unfortunate soul who falls into your space.
A third controversial "perk" would probably be that the kids worship you. They actually come up and go "Wow! You're really good." While I must say that it's flattering, it is kinda embarassing at the same time...that is if you aren't really that good, comme moi! Then there are those who ask if you can teach them stuff...the most popular of all being how to spin (why am I not surprised?). I do try to teach them, but it's kinda hard when they aren't too stable skating forward in the first place...and most can't stop. It's like teaching a horse to jump when it can't even walk (Ok that's a lousy analogy, but I'm quite brain dead from tiredness). Still, whatever makes them happy, although I don't quite know what to say when they attempt to do what I demonstrate and can't do it and then laugh (or scream...a rather horrifying experience for my ears which I hope never to repeat) saying "I can't do it!" Well...duh...
Despite all the "perks" and the social bits of a not-very-social sport, I must say that nothing can really beat being on ice...alone...with the whole rink to yourself. It's like a whole different (albeit anti-social) world...you juz gotta love it. 8)