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Taking to the ice

March 23, 2013
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

On the calendar it said that Wednesday was the first day of spring. But in actuality, it's still cold, snowy and just plain miserable. Sure, the days are longer (which I really appreciate), and there are some bare patches on the ground, but we could use a dose of spring right now. Guess we were spoiled with last year's "winter" where I was standing outside without a coat in mid-January, and it was in the upper 70s by this time.

But it looks like I'll be wearing my puffy purple and white down-filled coat for another week or so. The coat that sheds feathers every now and again, leaving them on my chair in the newspaper office, on my shirt or floating through the air. I feel like the Michelin man when I'm wearing this thing. And I think it's about time that I can ditch wearing a hat. I mean, c'mon, we're still 15 degrees below the average. Don't you think we're due for a warmup? I'm shooting for April or May.

Speaking of cold, the annual Southwest Figure Skating Club's ice show is this weekend. I've only had the chance to cover the show itself maybe once or twice, but I've interviewed my share of young skaters throughout the years in doing a preview story on it. These girls don't mind the cold, early morning practices because they're doing what they love, and they're hanging out with friends.

I remember when I was in the second grade, and a skating rink of sorts developed itself on the grounds of St. Anne's (basically a sheet of ice somehow was on the snow, I'm not sure how as this was 34 years ago). Anyways, I saw some of my classmates with their skates (and since Somerset's a big hockey town, there were a few guys in their hockey skates), and I wanted a pair too. So my folks relented and got me skates with blade guards. Now I didn't do too bad ice skating as a kid. I remained upright most of the time. I didn't do anything terribly fancy; I just moved forward, sometimes turning a rounded corner. The same went for roller skating.

But eventually I must have gotten bored with skating, and I outgrew my skates, so they were abandoned. I didn't attempt ice skating again until I was in college. Since I didn't have skates, I borrowed a pair from someone that was a couple of sizes bigger than what I wore. This time I was unsure of myself and tended to hang close to the sides of the rink at UMD; yes, I was a wall-grabber. And that was the last time I was on the silver blades.

So if you get the chance, check out the Icons and Ice skating show at 7 p.m. today and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lockwood Motors Ice Arena. The music is fun, and these kids are definitely not "wall-grabbers."



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