When I was about 7 years old, I went ice skating with a friend of mine. We went to Pickwick Ice Center in Burbank, CA. It was amazing. Over the next three years, I skated almost every day. I progressed quickly, began competing and eventually… quit. I left the ice when I was 10 years old. It wasn’t that I didn’t love skating. I did. I didn’t like going to special schools and I didn’t like not having many friends.
The years went by, I went to public schools, had a social life (sometimes too much of a social life), went through ups and downs like everybody does and had a pretty rad childhood. I can’t complain a whole lot. You know that saying “If you let something go, if it comes back, it’s yours… and if it doesn’t, it never was.” Well, I have come back to ice skating. You can take girl out of the rink but you can’t take the rink out of the girl.
It was about three months ago when I stepped foot in Pickwick again for a friend’s hockey game. Everything was the same. The look of the rink, the paint on the walls, the smell… oh, the smell of the ice. No matter how many years it’s been, I could never forget that smell. I think that was what really triggered it for me. I was sitting up in the bleachers with my boyfriend, watching the game and I got this overwhelming sense of nostalgia… it made me cry. Literally. I was literally sitting there with tears streaming almost uncontrollably down my face, watching a hockey game. There were a few other things that came up that made the tears fall a little harder, but that’s not what this story is about. I wanted to be back on the ice.
On December 14th, I went to a ribbon cutting for Woodland Hills Ice, a small outdoor rink. It was the first time since quitting in 1997 that I had even put on a pair of skates. As I walked toward the rink in my rental skates (which went against everything I believe in by the way… a real skater doesn’t use rentals), I had a small hint of fear run up my spine. “What if I fall?” I thought to myself. “So what. You fall, you get back up. That’s what a skater does,” I immediately thought after. I stepped on the ice and started to skate… and holy crap, I could still do it! I pushed off over and over again. Left, right, left right, crossover, crossover, left, right. Yes! My legs started to ache after about 15 minutes so I took a quick break, but I could freakin’ skate! After catching my breath, I went back for more. I had an amazing time and after public skate was over, they had some girls come perform for all of us. The performances took me back because these girls were doing axels, lutzes, flips, sit spins and all the other tricks I used to do. I said to myself “I can do that.”
The following day, I called Pickwick to see if my old coach was still there. He was and I left him a message. Then I e-mailed him the day after that… and then I marched my butt to the rink the day after that. On December 17th, I went to the public skate and searched for Darin. He wasn’t there but I was told that he’d be there later on in the day. So, I went ahead and did my public skate, tried to skate backwards, did it and took about four breaks before calling it a day. Man, I am soooo not in shape for this… oh, but I will be!
Anyway, I left after the public skate was over and returned later that day to catch my coach. He was there and I was sooo excited! He remembered me, we caught up for about an hour and now I’m working on purchasing my own skates so I can get back on the ice for good. Eventually, I’m going to have Darin coach me again. I was really good when I was a kid and I won’t stop until I’m the absolute best I can be now.
I can’t explain how good the ice feels. It feels like home for me. It’s not just a recreational thing… I don’t think it can be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a competitive thing, but it has to be something that pushes me to be better. As a child, I progressed to double axels… and now, I want to progress to triples. I’m excited to hit the ice again and I’m excited to bring you all along on this journey. Eventually, I will post photos and video of me on the ice. You will see a transformation from a stumbling woman who is excited to skate backwards to a strong, graceful and talented skater who makes triple axels look like a walk in the park. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do and I hope it will inspire you to go on your own journey. Take care everybody and check back soon!