Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Year as an Aspiring Figure Skater

Today an amazing book makes its way into the world:



I had the privilege of reading Breaking the Ice in ARC form and I have to say, even if I hadn't met Gail, I would have loved it. It has everything a girly girl LOVES. Figure skating, competition, great lessons about friendship, and beautiful costumes.

I don't mention this often, but I once took ice skating lessons. For a year. For fun. If you really want to do something with figure skating, you have to start young (as Gail did). Instead, I took lessons in my early 20s, with the only benefit being that when I now go figure skating, I don't fall down.



Like most 80s kids, I spent my childhood in a pair of these:



So once the instructor showed me the difference between roller skating and ice skating, I picked it up very quickly. I advanced through the classes, learning to spin and skate backward. However, there was one thing I could not do...



There's a reason figure skaters start young. As you get older, the concept of actually leaving the ground on ice skates becomes terrifying. Still...there was a 30-something-year-old lawyer who figure skated competitively. She practiced with a personal coach while I was there. For all I know, she may be still figure skating today. This 80-something-year-old woman was still teaching figure skating a few years ago.



I finally stopped taking lessons when the Nancy Kerrigan scandal broke. Suddenly everyone in town was signing up for figure skating lessons. The rink filled up and you could no longer get practice time. It was a nightmare.



Still--it was fun to learn. And great exercise. After you read Gail's book, you may be in the mood to learn!

If you love figure skating (or just great books!), check out Breaking the Ice. You can also add it on Goodreads.

64 comments:

  1. Sound like a great book for young women.
    It's been years since I've been roller or ice skating, but the last time I went, I remembered how.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really don't forget, even with ice skating. I was surprised to find I could still skate backward. It just takes a few minutes to get comfortable again.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a good book indeed. I have went ice skating a few times, and I have the bruises to prove it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a little cold in ice rinks for me these days. You never think of ice skating in the summer, when it might actually be a relief to be in there in the freezing cold!

      Delete
    2. Skating in the summer is the BEST!

      Delete
  3. I never got the hang of ice skating but I loved roller skating. I tried roller blading for a bit but never really got into that. Now I really miss my skates!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was amazing how easy it was to translate one to the other. Without the help of that trainer, though, I'm not sure I could have learned. You get on skates and your first instinct is to push off like you're on roller skates. Instead you're supposed to put your foot down and glide forward.

      Delete
  4. I've only tried ice skating a few times. It was hard, but fun. That's crazy about the sudden interest due to the scandal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was outrageous. I believe ours was the "adult class" night, so these weren't even people who could be figure skaters someday--they were all too old. I did watch a great documentary on Netflix about the scandal a year ago. I believe it had Tonya Harding in the title...I'd forgotten a lot of the finer details (like Nancy Kerrigan turning into a spoiled brat after the Olympics), so it was interesting to watch.

      Delete
  5. At one point, I could make it around the rink without falling. When I was in Pittsburgh, there was an outdoor rink and as a grad student, it was a cheap and fun date. Today, I'd be on my butt but good for you for going for it. I would have thought Tanya Harding's goons would have damped the skating spirit back then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are weird, that's all I can say! I mentioned above that I recently watched a Tonya Harding documentary on Netflix and they even pointed out that what they did to Nancy Kerrigan ignited interest in the sport like never before (or since). I'm not sure what the numbers were, but everyone was tuning into the Olympics that year to see how the two of them would handle having to compete together.

      Delete
  6. I haven't skated in 15 years or so, I could jump and land, but not spin or anything lol and I could only stop if I used the wall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stopping is tricky for former roller skaters--where's that big round thingy on the front of the skate?!!!

      Delete
  7. We took our kids for skating lessons this year and it was fun for them. But we won't continue. It was the beginners course and it wasn't cheap. But if do plan to continue the beginners course look cheap in comparison. And to be honest they seem to have inherited my skating genes and I can skate forward without falling down, nothing else. So it's soccer now for them. They also enjoy that a lot more than skating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should definitely mention it's NOT cheap. I took lessons in 1993 and I think it was $50-$100 every six weeks. After you go through all the basic classes, the next step was to hire a private coach for one-on-ones and that was all kinds of expensive! Plus, if you go that route (as Gail details in her book), it's heading to the ice rink before school at the crack of dawn every morning. Homeschooling is an option now--judging by her book, it seems many figure-skating parents may opt for that because it's just too exhausting! One of my freelance clients is a virtual school where kids can go to h.s. online with classes taught by state teachers. I think that's the future of things like this. Figure skaters will go to school online so they can focus on practicing... I got way off track with this comment, didn't I?!

      Delete
  8. I'd probably break everything and die if I was just to make a step onto the ice

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like a fun book. Sadly, I could never learn to skate. I tried, then suffered when I fell, all.the.time. I made sure my kids learned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does seem to be easier to learn as a kid--before the fear really kicks in!

      Delete
  10. i never mastered even rollerskates. always a wall-hugger at the rink. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember starting out that way. I'm not sure how I finally made my way away from the wall!

      Delete
  11. This does sound like a good book; wishing the author much success with it. Had to laugh about your comment with figure skaters starting young; yep, the thought now of leaving the ground is a terrifying one at my age :) I always admired those that looked so graceful around the skating rink. The few times I went with the kids when they were younger, I was known to "hug" the walls on the side.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think when I was taking lessons, it gave me a new appreciation for those figure skaters. It's really hard, even when you've put the time in to learn it! And that's just the simple stuff. A LOT of work goes into learning those jumps and doing that choreography. People don't really realize the athleticism that goes into it because it's so nice to watch.

      Delete
  12. I could only skate the basics... funny story when I was trying to stop once... there was a large group of boys at one end of the rink... I ended up stopping with my breasts in their face...haha... humiliating for me at the time, they probably enjoyed it... now it's good for a laugh xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably one of their best childhood memories!

      Delete
  13. It sounds like a wonderful book and I think Amara would enjoy it. She knows that I roller skated competitively as a kid and she is very proud of it. Some of my best memories were those long hours you mentioned at the rink. Some of my best friendships were made there, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband always says the roller rink was the kids' version of clubs back then!

      Delete
  14. Mmmm, know what you mean. Was taken when I was ten to an ice skating show, and for a time longed to be an ice skater. Had many careers, but never enough time for them all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was the same way--if I went to a play, I wanted to be an actress. If I went to an ice show, I wanted to be a figure skater. The good news is, only people who truly want it put in the work to make a career out of it!

      Delete
  15. I remember roller skating parties! How fun. That totally brings back memories.
    Glad this was such a fun cute read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was THE place to have a birthday back then. Now there are so many other choices, I guess...

      Delete
  16. Thanks so much for the awesome post, Stephanie! You'd laugh if you knew what a horrible roller skater I am. I got through 80s roller skating parties by running into the wall to stop, and I never could get used to pushing straight back instead of to the side. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's hilarious! I couldn't ice skate for anything until that guy worked with me to show me the difference. By the end of the first class, I had it down. I try to show other people who can roller skate but can't ice skate and they never can get it, so I'm assuming that teacher was just really good!

      Delete
  17. Makes me wonder what Tonya Harding was thinking. It's previous obvious who's behind something like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watching the documentary again (It's called The Price of Gold, and it's still on Netflix), it's pretty obvious. I'd forgotten about the "broken shoelace" incident at the Olympics until I re-watched it. She was just all kinds of "mess."

      Delete
  18. I would have loved to learn. I tried once and was on my behind more than upright. I never tried again. I couldn't roller skate either. I was good at sports, just not at any kind of skating.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun...skating is the only sport I am even partly good at. Unless walking on the treadmill while playing Songpop counts as a sport. I have that down to a science!

      Delete
  19. I love girly girl!

    I spent my teen years in skates too. I was never good at it and spent a whole lot of time crashing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got pretty good at it just in time for it not to be cool to do anymore. It was cool for young people still...but by late junior high, it wasn't cool to hang out at the roller rink!

      Delete
  20. I badly injured one knee in a fall from figure skating when the pick caught on a rough patch of ice and I never put them back on after that. I wasn't good at it but I really loved figure skating. It's been about 40 years ago.

    It sounds like a great book for young girls.

    Hugs,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OUCH! At least you have a good story--I messed up my knee a few years ago on one of those exercise steppers. Turns out, those things aren't good for your knee. That's what I get for exercising!

      Delete
  21. Ice skating? Ooooh. Not an option here until very recently. We are simply not cold enough. I loved roller skating though. All those years ago.
    And can remember a book or three about ice skating which fueled my dreams (and jealousy).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't even have indoor ice rinks?

      Delete
    2. Not in my city. In the last few years an ice-skating rink opened. And stays open for about three months.

      Delete
  22. This sounds like such a cute book! I've never gone ice skating. I've gone roller skating before but I developed a fear of falling after someone pushed me. Haven't gone since!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was it an accident or on purpose? Because if it's the latter, that's awful!

      Delete
  23. This sounds like such a nice book and I always watched figure skating. As for me skating? Nope! I would go in circles and the only way i could stop was to smash into the boards. In grade school, one a week we went to the arena. I thought I had to go and was s bored. Finally i said i don't want to go and when the teachers said I have to stay in and read I was all for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading beats everything! Well...except writing.

      Delete
  24. I loved roller skating. I've never been on ice - not sure I want to either. Sounds like a cute book.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've never tried figure skating. But roller skating freaked me out enough. I doubt I'll ever try it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I used to enjoy social skating but I was very ungainly but managed to get round the rink and go backwards which was a miracle . . . . we used to like plying tag and had great fun. At work I was a colleague of a chap whose son had just stared skating ~ that son turned out to be non other than Robin Cousins who went on to become world champion figure skater.
    A very Happy New Year, Stephanie ~ late wishing you that because I have just resurfaced after the flu . . . . . :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting about your colleague's son. Sorry you've been sick. :-( That's no fun.

      Delete
  27. Great post, Stephanie. I enjoyed reading about your own figure-skating experience. I go ice skating as about as often as Haley's Comet makes an appearance. I keep telling myself I should do it more often, but that never seems to happen.

    It's amazing that the rink filled up after the Kerrigan attack. I would've thought that people might have turned off by the sport, but then some people are attracted to the dark side, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone tuned in to watch the Olympics that year to see if there would be drama. (There was, but mostly from Tonya's many dramatic episodes.) I think it was more a result of watching all the figure skating that year than watching news accounts of the crime.

      Delete
  28. It's probably been at least 20 years since I last ventured onto a skating rink of any kind. I never got really good at it, and I was always rather nervous of falling. With the metal hardware in my right leg now, it's probably a good idea to continue staying away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so! I think at my age, I'm going to stay away from anything that can lead to injury!

      Delete
  29. hello. i hope it's not too late to wish u a happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm glad you had a good time. The cover is so cute! I used to like to do that a lot but I don't try a lot anymore now.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sounds like a great read and if it inspires me to do something new...I'm all for it!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I watch figure skating every time the Winter Olympics come around, mainly because I love skating period. I took lessons back when roller skating had all the same components, including dance. My parents just couldn't afford the lessons when it became more advanced.

    I wish we had tried figure skating on ice, that would have been awesome. Not going to happen in NC though. :D

    ReplyDelete
  33. It sounds like you really enjoyed skating. I feel similarly about playing tennis when I was younger--though I must say, skating is infinitely more terrifying. Just as you logically put it that it's probably because I was much older when I first got on the ice, and therefore uncomfortable with the idea that I was slipping and sliding the way I was. Those pics, LOL! I probably have some similar the pic with the guy trying to hang on to the side of the rink...and falling anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'll watch some of the figure skating when the winter Olympics happen, but that's about it for me. I cannot skate (roller, ice, inline, board, etc). For me, that's an excellent way to injure my left arm, again. (I always fall on my left. It's a strange phenomenon.)

    But that cover looks cute. I'm sure it'll have a great big audience.

    ReplyDelete