Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ice Skating In Florida, A Cold And Dangerous Adventure.

It's a Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining and I have the windows rolled down in my car. I'm guessing that it's close to 75 degrees outside. Where am I going? To a birthday party at the Arctic Zone with my ten year-old daughter. It's sort of ironic, since I thought I had left the cold and ice behind when I moved to Florida.

I grew up in Sweden, so you think I would know how to dress for going ice skating, but both of us are wearing t-shirts, jeans and flip-flops. After having lived in this summer paradise for nearly three years, it's hard to think: socks, gloves, hats and jackets. Instead, I'm thinking: How cold can it be?

How cold? My memory returns as we enter the ice-skating rink. It can't be more than 45 degrees inside. Of course, the Hockey Town Pro Shop makes most of it's profit on people like myself and sells knitted gloves for three dollars a pair.

There are fourteen guests at the birthday party, and except for a couple, none of them have ever put on a pair of ice-skates. Their fingers are fumbling with the long strings. And I can't hold back a smile as I enjoy watching their confused faces. They are concentrating so hard and wondering what the deal is with the paired row of metal hooks. My mind takes me back thirty years to a winter white landscape, layers of clothes, and my mom helping me tie my skates. They had to have a snug fit to keep my ankles from buckling. If I had blood circulating to my toes, they were too loose!

After lacing 28 ice skates, it's off to the ice. The party guests discover that it's a cold, slippery and painful adventure! Being a dry and safety-cautious Swede, I wonder why the Arctic Zone isn't insisting on having their patrons wear a helmet. I think: What if one of them falls and splits their head open on the ice? I find myself having a moment of an internal conflict. Sometimes it's hard as a parent to know if one should do the right thing, or let it go and hope for the best. This time, I just let it go.

I guess I can't be overly critical. The Arctic zone has thought of something. Instead of helmets, lets give the kids something to hold on to. And lets give the parents some entertainment!

Previous posts:
Shopping For An Alarm Clock, A Not So Obvious Milestone.
Do You Have A Tweenie At Home?


  1. I grew up in suburban New York and every winter my father would take my sister and I skating until we were old enough to go by ourselves. It was the one sport we both could do fairly well. I even had a little red corduroy skirt lined in white satin, and while I couldn't ever do a figure eight, I could twirl quite well. We would take a thermos of hot cocoa (I don't think that's what Papa had in his thermos!) and get warm sitting on logs before a bonfire. It was one of my best childhood experiences. You are probably surprised by this little bit of information.

  2. "I wonder why the Arctic Zone isn't insisting on having their patrons wear a helmet. I think: What if one of them falls and splits their head open on the ice?"

    OMG - I'm so with you on this! I made my son wear a helmet for his skating lessons. He was the only one! Thankfully he was too young to be humiliated. Ice is as dangerous as cement as far as head injuries go. It infuriates me that no one wears them. Skateboarders never wear them either & my son's totally into that now. Grrrrr...

  3. You are so right! It's hard to be a parent when there is peer pressure. It's kind of weird. Sometimes helmets are OK and other times not so cool. Harley riders not so much, but ice-hockey players and football players do!

  4. Susan, I can see you twirling with your red skirt. That's a nice memory!