Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

USFSA Testing

Today there was a testing session at the rink. I went to observe and also to support my friends.

My friend Lisa was taking her Adult Silver Moves test, and my friend Nicole was taking her Adult Pre-Bronze Moves and Freestyle tests. Both passed! Lisa had a fall on her FO-BI (or was it FI-BO?) 3-turns in the field, but they let her restart and she was fine after that. She wasn't really happy with her skate but glad she passed. Nicole was a bit nervous; she had a little flub at the beginning of her forward edges (of all things) but settled down after that and was fine. She did well on her freestyle test although she had some problems on her loop jump.

Poor Anna! She had food poisoning. She showed up for the test but looked like a ghost.

I really enjoy watching test sessions. This was the first adult testing I'd watched, so naturally I was comparing myself a lot. Nicole's stroking is soooo much nicer than mine! She has great extension. For the rest of it, for the most part I tended to think either "I'll be able to do that" or maybe "I hope I can do that." Of course there were some upper level tests (including a Novice Freestyle) that I just look at and say... that's not going to happen. That's okay, though. It's interesting to see what you can pick up, or just appreciate.

The testing chair for TFSC came over and introduced herself -- she says she reads this blog! So a big Hi! and kudos on your hard work!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Wrist Update

Back to the orthopedist today. He cut my old cast off (alas, there goes all the lovely artwork from the girls at the rink!), then pulled the pins out, and gave me a new cast (light blue this time). Pulling the pins out was a bit freaky. I was expecting it to be painful, but it didn't hurt a bit, he just pulled them straight out. One is about 2 inches long, the other about 1.75 inches. I asked why it didn't hurt and he said the body just gets used to them being there, kind of like an earring. I guess that makes sense. Anyway, I go back June 8th to get my cast off, and then I'll be done. I called Anna and gave her an update and suggested we aim for a lesson on 6/11. I'm figuring I'll go skating Wed. evening 6/9 to get myself back into things before the lesson; I assume I'll need to take it a little easy at first since my muscles will not be in shape.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Champions On Ice

I took a road trip yesterday to see Champions On Ice in El Paso, Texas. For those of you not up on your geography, that's about 320 miles from Tucson. I had two tickets for the show but wound up going by myself. That was unfortunate since it was a very long drive for me considering the state my wrist is in. It was really hurting by the time I got home.

I left at 9 a.m. and, by the time I got to the venue and parked it was almost showtime (El Paso is on MDT and Tucson MST so it was an hour later, which didn't help). The traffic was horrible. Fortunately there were so many people still trying to get in and park that they delayed the start of the show. I managed to sell my extra ticket, and went in and had a seat. I had a great seat for the show, front row on ice toward the corner of the ice. The show was at the El Paso County Coliseum, a WWII-vintage building that is a bit decrepit, unfortunately.

The show was terrific. This is the "Tour II" cast, so the only current competitors were Michelle Kwan and Timothy Goebel. MK's performances were awesome as always. In the first half she skater her exhibition number ("Fallin'") which was terrific. She wore a slinky black outfit that fit the sensual aspect of the piece well. Her second half skate was to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up". It was very nice and very moving.

The special treat of this tour was to see two skaters who rarely perform anymore, namely Dorothy Hamill and Nancy Kerrigan. Hamill was awesome! She is not so athletic anymore, unsurprisingly, but did do some double jumps and an Axel. Her flow on the ice is truly amazing -- graceful, fluid and easy. She had some awesome footwork as well. Skating is obviously good for you; Hamill is in her 40s and she could pass for 30, I suspect. Kerrigan's first skate was to a song she'd recorded herself -- she was singing along while she skated. She did a number of jumps and fell a few times.

Timothy Goebel was quite impressive, very athletic and smooth.

The other performers -- Victor Petrenko, Dan Hollander, Elvis Stoiko, the acrobatic team of Besedin and Polishchuk, Irina Grigorian, and Rudy Galindo -- were quite good. Galindo was very enthusiastically received, presumably because he's Hispanic and El Paso is, of course, heavily Hispanic as well. His skating was quite impressive and gave no hint that he'd had hip surgery.

All in all it was a really good experience. Being in the front row really gives you an incredible vantage point and is well worth it. To see Dorothy Hamill do an Axel 10 feet away from you -- priceless.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Wrist Update

I went to the orthopedist today and got some good news and some disappointing news. The good news is that we took new x-rays and the bones are healing nicely and are in good position (not perfect, but good). The disappointing news is that they had mis-scheduled my appointment, and it's too early to take the pins out. So I'm going back next Tuesday for that, and then he says it'll be 3 weeks beyond that in the new cast. sigh So if that timing is right I won't be out of a cast until June 8th. On the other hand, I asked if I would need to wear a brace or splint or anything after that and he said no, after I get the cast off I should go ahead and use it normally.

I know it's only been 3.5 weeks since my injury, but this time away from the ice is driving me bonkers!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Happy Skativersary!

Today, May 7, is my Skativersary -- the anniversary of my first setting foot on ice, May 7th 2003. I blogged about my first time on the ice, saying in part:

I survived! I know, that sounds so dramatic. I had my first ice skating lesson tonight at 7. It went very well. In many ways it seemed reminiscent of my first rollerblading lesson, except ice is much more slippery! I was very lucky in that I was the only person signed up for the adult class, so I got my instructor's undivided attention for 30 minutes. We just worked on walking on the ice and some very brief two-foot glides and a shallow dip. We also practiced falling, which helped me get over my fear a bit. After the lesson I practiced what I'd learned for about 15 minutes just to try to embed it in my psyche.

It's hard to get my mind back into where it was then, and that very fact alone helps me to realize just how far I've come. I now think of myself as a skater; in fact it's a large part of my self-image. Despite recent events :-) skating has made me healthier and happier; it's allowed me to express myself and introduced me to lots of neat people. It's encouraged, even forced me to confront and conquer fear, and to do things that most people my age don't, can't, or won't do, and will never do. It's connected my mind and body in a way I wasn't even aware I'd lost.

I was thinking the other day about how much all this costs, and the question came to mind, "when did I decide to spend thousands of dollars a year on skating?" I'm not sure when. Perhaps it was when I first decided to start private lessons, sometime back in November. Perhaps it was when I actually decided on a coach, in December; or when I actually started private lessons, in January. Then again it might well be when I first decided I needed/wanted my own skates; which was probably 2 weeks or less after my first time on the ice a year ago. Whatever the cost it is certainly, easily worth it to me.

This Skativersary is a little bittersweet for me. A few weeks ago I pondered how to celebrate this day, and of course I presumed that skating would be the primary element in that celebration. Alas, I am not on the ice today and won't be for another 3-4 weeks.

I stopped by the rink after lunch to say hi to Anna and Nicole and see how Nicole is coming on her APB moves. She's doing well, and she's going to knock 'em dead on her test. It will be good. It was good to be at the rink even gimpy as I am.

Still, here's a summary of the skills I have after one year:

  • forward 2-foot glide and stroking
  • forward glides on each edge (good)
  • backward 2-foot glide and stroking
  • backward LB edges (good) and RB (poor)
  • forward crossovers, CW (poor) and CCW (fair)
  • back crossovers, CW (fair) and CCW (poor to fair)
  • two-foot turn (fair)
  • Moving LFO3 (poor to fair)
  • RFO3 (fair), LFI3 (poor), RFI3 (poor) from standing start
  • RFI and LFI open Mohawk from standing start (poor to fair)
  • FI pivot (good)
  • two-foot spin (3-5 revs, poor to fair)
  • LBO back Mohawk (fair)
  • R (fair) and L (good) lunges
  • R and L forward spiral (fair)
  • one or two-foot snowplow stop (good)
  • T-stop (good)
  • hockey stop (fair)
  • bunny hop (poor to fair)

All in all that's really a lot when you think about it. For a person who's never thought of himself as particularly balanced or coordinated, it's (IMHO) quite an accomplishment. In terms of the USFSA Basic Skills I'm more or less around Basic 7.

My goals for the next year:

  1. Learn a waltz jump by August (still doable, I think)
  2. Skate in the rink holiday program
  3. Pass the USFSA Adult Pre-Bronze Moves and Freestyle tests (ambitious, especially freestyle)
  4. Do a program in a competition

The last two are pretty ambitious and will require a lot of work. We'll see how it goes. One of the questions I'm really asking myself is how much will this time off the ice (I've already spent more time off the ice now than any other time since I started, not that that is saying a lot) will affect me -- will I be back where I was, more or less, in a week? Two weeks? A month? I have no idea. I'm kind of assuming two weeks or so, in which case I've lost two months off of where I'd hoped to be, which makes those goals up above a bit more challenging than they seemed in January or so. For a while I had this unreasoned fear that I'd lose my nerve about skating, or at least about some elements of it; but I'm less concerned about that now. I have had two or three people tell me pointedly that I should stop skating at public sessions, or at least, trying to do anything much at them. I think that is advice I will probably heed; at a minimum I'll probably refrain from skating backwards at public sessions unless they are quite uncrowded. I'm not sure how I'll handle my practice time requirements since it appears the rink put out a new freestyle session schedule, and they have already dropped those morning freestyle sessions I was looking forward to. Practice time might be a real problem.

So that's where I am, and perhaps where I am going. Thank you, gentle readers, for your feedback and encouragement. It's most edifying and helpful.

When I started this blog on May 21, 2003, I subtitled it "My adventures as an adult male figure-skater-to-be in Tucson, Arizona USA." Now, a year later, I hope it's not too presumptuous to drop the "to-be" and label it simply, "My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona USA."

Monday, May 03, 2004

Congrats E-Skater!

Congrats to E-Skater for whomping her ISI Freestyle 2 test! woo-hoo!