Skating Update...a Bit of Good News
I made the post two weeks ago that our rink had been sold to Baltimore County for conversion into an indoor sports arena. This Wednesday, I had my last lesson and my last skate at Putty Hill Skateland.
The county failed to show up for settlement.
Ms. Jackie came into the rink on Wednesday and said to the manager, "This is it, I guess," and he said, "Well...not quite...."
Since the county didn't show up, no one knows whether the rink is sold or not. Naturally, we will be informed as soon as a definite decision is reached, but for the moment, we're hanging in a sort of limbo. But I am not complaining. Any chance that we can keep our rink--even based on a technicality--is great news. I'm not lifting my hopes too much, but at least I got to enjoy what might be my last skate without complete sadness in my heart. There was a lot of hope too.
Wednesday was a special class on toe spins. Normally, when a person spins on rollerskates, s/he stays on all four wheels but concentrates most of the weight to a single point to get a tight revolution. For most of the spins that we do, we put our weight on the front-inside wheel of our left foot, and the heel then pivots around that point, but all four wheels stay in contact with the floor.
For toe spins, a skater lifts up onto just her front wheels. A tenuous balance between the front wheels and the toe stop is ideal. Toe spins allow a lot more speed and also some pretty creative positioning that simply isn't possible when spinning on an edge.
For years, I have been averse to toe spins simply because the temptation to go on one's toe (as it is easier than to spin on an edge) tends to spoil skaters. I do all of my spins--even my blur spins--on an edge. Well, I decided the other week that after fourteen years, I think it's safe to say that I am a decent edge spinner, so I'm ready to learn toe spins.
Ms. Jackie brought in a special guest teacher to work with us on our toe spins. They still feel awkward, but since I've never really done them before, I'm not really worried about that.
The class prior had been a special class on stretching and holds, which had opened up a can of worms for my poor abused hip, which rebelled after a weekend of subsequently strenuous activity. It still hurts on occasion, but it has been hurting since the spring, so that's not a big deal. Normally, I might not even have skated on Wednesday, but my last chance on my big, beautiful floor? To hell with that hip; I'll limp for a week if I have to!
I finally understood how athletes can play with injuries. My hip did hurt for much of the evening, but I skated anyway, and I wanted to skate so badly that the pain was secondary. I even did held-knee spirals again, which I suspect are what tugged it out of shape in the first place. The Rollergirls didn't have practice after us, so Ms. Jackie let us linger, and we spent about fifteen minutes just free skating. There is something special about an open floor and a loud, upbeat song that makes me feel like I am flying. Will that be the last time I will feel that? Maybe, but I hope not....
For my Possible Last Act at Skateland Putty Hill, I spiralled around the back corner. For some reason, no one skates back there, and it has always been my favorite place to spiral. And during public sessions, it's funny to watch the heads turn. Spirals are impressive (and probably my best and favorite skill).
After that, I left the floor and took off my skates.
But...there is hope.
I have thought a lot about losing our rink, and the more I think on it, the madder I get. At first, I thought, "Well, at least it will make other kids happy like it made me." But no. Because they are cutting our programs--the freestyle program (Freestyle Fanatics) and the rollerderby program (the Charm City Rollergirls)--for programs that already exist in multitudes all over the area. There are plenty of indoor soccer/lacrosse facilities in the Baltimore area. This is one of the last skating rinks, and the only one--so far as I know--to offer freestyle and rollerderby.
So what they are saying: our programs are not as important as other programs.
Well I know that rollerskating is hardly the sport du jour. Indoor soccer and lacrosse, on the other hand, are. However, I spent the first ten years of my life thinking myself pathetic and inferior to other kids because I wasn't any good at softball and basketball and lacrosse and my PE teacher never bothered to find out what I was good at. Ms. Jackie took the time with me to figure that out, to encourage me where no one else had, and I honestly credit her to a significant extent for my ability to find self-confidence. Now, Ms. Jackie has at least two dozen beginning skaters in her program; White Marsh enrolls another two dozen every year. Some of them--like me--will skate until they are in college. Even longer. So there is interest among kids like I was, who don't think that standing in a field and waiting for a ball to come to them is fun or rewarding--who might otherwise never give themselves a chance--but our programs are not as important apparently.
Bobby is righteously angry on my behalf too. But he is a hockey player, so he knows how it feels. Youth hockey programs get cut all of the time too.
And he also brought up the issue that Skateland has always been good for the community. I went to a few public sessions on Friday and Saturday nights, but no more. The place is packed, mostly with teenagers. Teenagers who are rollerskating and drinking Cokes and doing the cha-cha slide instead of...what? Loitering at the mall? Drinking beer? Doing drugs?
We're hoping that maybe the county took this under advisement and decided to direct their interest elsewhere. It's not like Skateland is a foundering establishment; quite the opposite! There always has and continues to be great community interest in using the facility.
I am admittedly biased, but it seems a pity to have a place where the public can go for safe, supervised, and fun physical activity for a $3 admission and take that away.
Meanwhile, in other news, there's a hurricane a'comin'!
Well, it's a tropical storm, but it sounds funny to say, "There's a tropical storm a'comin'!" and slightly anticlimactic.
To those of you not on top of American weather (which is me, 99% of the time, and I freakin' live here), Tropical Storm Ernesto is marching up the east coast and has Maryland right in his sights.
Well, as I told Bobby, it's not the first tropical storm we've lived through and it certainly won't be the last. Tropical Storm Floyd arrived precisely on my eighteenth birthday, tore the state to pieces, left my family without power (and water too, since we lived in the boondocks and got our water from a well) for eight days. Personally, I think it was a portent of things to come: Dawn turns eighteen with the legal power of an adult, and one of the worst storms in decades ravages the state. Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of shouting, "Look out, here she comes!" Funnily enough, there was a possibility of a tropical storm to arrive also on my 21st birthday too, but no luck on that one.
They are predicting five to ten inches of rain for us. (That's about 12 to 25 cm for you sensible Metrically-inclined folks.) The path takes the storm through the center of the state rather than up the coast, which is good for Ocean City, which was formed by a hurricane and often predicted will die by one. It's not so good for historic Ellicott City, which is at the mercy of the Angry Patapsco, but ten inches shouldn't cause the river to overflow its banks. I think we got at least that earlier this summer on the crazy weekend when we returned from Puerto Rico.
I'm hoping not to lose power. If I lose power, I lose Internet. Oh the travesty.... But if you don't hear for me for a while, chalk it up to having my technologial luxuries temporarily out of commission thanks to Ernesto.