21 June 2000
When I got home my roommate was awake and her door was open, so I held up my purchases and announced that I would be modeling everything for her within a matter of minutes. Might as well start practicing right away! I was happy to find that dressing took less than 10 minutes (with the list of steps in front of me and the memory of watching a friend do it, I found it easy). Skates on feet and stick in hand, I marched over to my roommate's doorway. She started laughing immediately. I wasn't offended; I was feeling rather giddy myself. "You look HUGE!" she exclaimed. We chatted for a few minutes about the strangeness of shooting left when you're a righty, and then I took my helmet off. "Oh my god," she exclaimed. "Your head looks like a pea!"
After standing around in full gear for about five minutes, I could understand why it was probably a good thing that ice rinks are so cold. Aside from keeping the ice from melting, it also keeps the players from overheating. All that stuff is HOT!
23 June 2000
Tonight was a bit quieter, but no less crowded; a birthday party for the 4-8 year-old set was the event of the evening. Less shrieking, but a lot more fallingI was dodging flailing little people all night. Somehow I still managed to find enough space to practice skating backwards. I've got forwards (and even crossovers) down pretty well, but I totally suck going backwards. Usually I freak out and lose my balance and end up looking like one of the flailing 4 year-olds. Last Saturday I actually fell and smacked my face on the ice (though it was my knee that ended up with the enormous bruise). Tonight I planned ahead and brought my gloves, knee pads, hockey socks, hockey jock, and a pair of loose khaki shorts. I figured with the knee pads on I wouldn't be as afraid of falling, and therefore might make more progress.
Whether it was the knee pads that did the trick or just the cumulative ice time, I did manage to go backwards for longer stretches, and I finally figured out how to look over my shoulder without losing my balance (I even got going pretty fast a couple times). That's when I discovered that not knowing how to stop was kind of a problem. Being able to look over your shoulder and see that someone's in your path is all well and good, but you've also got to know what to do with that information. I didn't. When going forward I can swerve, and over time I can slow down, but I can't seem to do either when going backwards. I'm not too worried about it; I figure I'll get better with more practice. And hopefully, hockey stops aren't that far off: my first beginner clinic is on Monday. I can't wait!
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