Sunday, January 11, 2004

Winter sports

It's that time again, yes, time for me to step into these and skate around and around Tenney Park lagoon. My skates--new last season--are nicely broken in now, and with any luck there will not be a repeat of the pain and bleeding I experienced when I skated in them last year.

It has been a mild winter, so when perfect skating conditions hit yesterday the lagoon was teeming with people. Many of them were probably, like me, getting in their first Tenney Park skating this winter. The warming hut was bustling; I've never seen it so crowded with youths wielding hockey sticks and tiny children unsteady on tiny skates. I had to hunt to find a place to put my boots.

I strapped on my skates, and I was off! It took a moment or two to get my ice legs, and then I headed west along Johnson Street. After only a moment or two of skating I began to feel mild discomfort in my legs, but today they are, remarkably, not the least bit sore.

I got in a good half hour. It can take fully ten minutes to make the entire circuit of the lagoon, especially if you're skating at a leisurely clip, as I was. On a busy day like yesterday, there also are plenty of pickup hockey games to slow progress (I saw at least four); it's best to skate cautiously around these and, hopefully, thereby avoid a puck to the face. I also paused and watched the hockey action several times because I'm trying to learn some skating tips, and hockey players are great skaters.

Tenney Park usually sees a few Peggy Fleming types as well. I watched one girl execute an arabesque that was flawless, except she was not under her own steam--two friends pulled her across the ice as she locked her leg up in the air behind her. Keep working, Peggy!

My goal this winter is to learn to skate backward.

I've said it before: ice skating on Tenney Park lagoon is one of my favorite three or four things about Madison, Wisconsin.

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