Ice Skating: Student Eric Basile’s Post

Of Man and Ice

Wednesdays are my day off, for some reason that’s how it worked up here in Montreal for the semester, so it’s a day I usually use to catch up  on homework or got to the store to pick up a few odds and ends. My day started as usual; I got up around 9:00, took a shower, did some work,  ate lunch and then continued with my work. Soon after, I remembered I got an email about ice skating at 2:30. So I went and it turned out to be a good decision because I needed to get out and de-stress.

Life for me began in Hudson County, New Jersey and I was raised in a place called Bayonne for the first ten years of my life. Growing up, hockey and skating were fairly popular for two reasons: 1) the city had a hockey rink with a high school hockey team and 2) the New Jersey Devil’s were still playing at Continental Arena just across the bay at the Meadow Lands. These two things made hockey in this part of New Jersey some what significant compared to other areas. So growing up, I was taught how to skate at a very early age. Now this part is a little fuzzy but I remember when I was initially learning to skate I was put on figure skates. I remembered not liking this and never really getting the hang of it and wanting to try hockey skates. Eventually I was given the chance to try them and sure enough, after a little while I was doing much better with hockey skates than I ever did on figure skates.
Fast forward back to the present, organizing this endeavor was the Stefi, Montreal Campus Coordinator, who met us down in the lobby. Since there was a snowstorm outside, we switched our skating plans from an outdoor rink to an indoor rink. After gathering everyone we headed off to the Metro Station. In a hop, skip and a jump we at the rink and I’m not kidding we didn’t even need to go outside; we literally got off at the Metro stop, went up two flights of stairs and we were at the rink. CRAZY RIGHT! Soon enough we were getting our skates and putting them on; one of the members of our lovely company, Raph, had never skated before so this was definitely going to be an exciting day for him.

It’s been over three years since the last time I skated, so I was a little worried about how I would do on the ice. I bravely stepped on the old but familiar world that was the rink. At first I was a little thrown off by the balance change that the ice and skates where creating but soon I realized it was like riding a bike and I had not forgotten a thing. There was nothing that I learned that I couldn’t remember; I was like a duck in pond, a frozen pond with blades of steel on his feet.
As I mentioned earlier Raph had never skated before and therefore was clinging to the wall the whole time. I did try to give him some instruction but what he really needed to work on was his balance and slow movement. I do hope that he doesn’t get discouraged and is willing to give it another shot. Later on I noticed Stefi on the ice and watched her skate and noticed she was on figure skates but seemed a little unstable on them. I asked her if she ever tried hockey skates and she said no.  I recommended that she try a pair since there was a bunch of people there who knew hockey skates really well. Soon enough she was back with a pair of hockey blades and sure enough she was doing much better in them. The only thing she needs to work on now is stopping :P .
I continued to skate non-stop for about three hours; I had forgotten how much I missed skating and will probably try and find a cheap pair of blades now and a place to skate for free. While this activity was relatively simple, it was no less delightful than anything else I’ve done in the city so far. So around  five o’clock we packed it in and headed back during a blizzard. I hope after getting a pair of my own blades I’ll be able to do this a lot more.
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