After I retired from playing ice hockey, I stopped ice skating. I was somehow able to close the book on ice hockey. I had had my fill. The rest of my life took over: marriage, our daughter being born, a sudden infatuation with golf, changes in my career. I had climbed the mountain I wanted to climb. The ice dream had melted.
But then in the fall and winter of 2006, construction began on an outdoor ice rink next to where I work. I remember watching it get built, feeling a certain stirring in my bones, a certain anticipation. The ice dream had come to me. I dug out my ice skates from the basement.
Once the rink opened, I began skating there at lunch. The first few visits brought a rash of falls as I tried to regain my ice skating muscle memory. I hadn't skated in many years! I found myself smiling a lot, as my legs rediscovered the edges of my skates once again. I felt elated when my movements became smoother. I was ice skating again! How did I ever let it leave my life?
On those occasions when I have the ice rink to myself, I'll skate figure eights, forwards and backwards, the entire length of the ice. I'll pretend to hold a hockey stick, and take shots on goal. I'll glide slowly on one edge, figuring out how to balance myself. I'll skate fast enough to produce that pure feeling that comes from racing across the ice.
In the end, this was the dream: to know this feeling, this feeling of flying over the ice, this feeling of competence. The allure and the novelty haven't worn off in all these years. I still love every minute I'm ice skating.
For the month of January, I'll be blogging about ice skating, and my love for it.