03 February 2012

Winter Sports

Welcome back. Last November, when revealing my electrifying life in sports, I neglected outdoor winter sports. That came to me while jogging this week, thinking about the mild winter, jogging on snow and ice, and long-ago ice skating.
Sports inaction shot: Warren’s father,
without ice skates, supporting Warren
(extra hat) and his brother, mid-1950s.

Skiing 
 
Snowboarding wasn’t around when I grew up, fortunately, and I never tried downhill skiing. I knew better. I did try cross-country skiing. I should have known better.

On my first attempt at cross-country skiing, the temperature was 0 degrees F. (I don’t function well below 20 degree F.) The mittens I bought when we rented the skis cut off circulation to my thumbs. (I don’t grip ski poles well without thumbs.) And, similar to my motorcycle trial run, I lacked proper lessons in how to ski. (I don't howl when I can't turn or stop, but I might close my eyes.)

Jogging
 
Before I move on to ice skating, I should mention that, although I’ve slipped on ice many times while jogging, I’ve yet to fall. I have slipped and fallen on ice stepping off our front stoop to go jogging, but that shouldn’t count. 
 
Eons ago, when I was living in Upstate New York, I slipped and fell on wet snow while jogging. That was a first. The only other time I’ve fallen while jogging wasn’t because of ice. The newspaper delivery car was coming in my direction, and I decided to give it more room by jogging up a driveway to the sidewalk.

Surprise! It was a curb, not a driveway. Since I’d never been in a fistfight, getting punched on the chin by the concrete sidewalk was a whole new experience.
The car slowed until the driver saw me stand, which I chose to believe was an act of kindness rather than rubbernecking at an accident. Woozy with a dented chin, I continued jogging until I passed a house whose outside light allowed me to see that first aid was warranted.
 
Sports action shot: Warren’s
brother escaping, mid-1950s.
Ice Skating

Getting back to ice skating, I couldn’t. It wasn’t a total disaster; it just wasn’t something I could do well or enjoy--weak ankles, loose skates, cold toes. Hockey or racer skate blades? No difference.

On occasion, I skated with friends at a commercial skating rink--a swimming pool, frozen for the winter. More often my skating was a family affair at a large pond by the home of my uncle and aunt.

That aunt passed away recently, joining my uncle. A perfect pairing, she was as quiet and stable as he was forward and outgoing. When we laughed as he made coins appear from our ears, she would smile. When he played accordion and got into karate, she enjoyed or at least endured it. When he would go on about the government’s failings or the like, she would eventually tell him to stop.
Sports profile shot: Warren’s 
mother, “Hockey Mom,” 
after completing a hat trick,
eyes closed, mid-1950s.
And she had her own stories of family or work that always fit the moment. Together, they raised a doctor and nurse, whose children must have adored their grandparents. I wonder if they ever skated on the pond.

Wrap Up
 
Roller skating was big with some groups when I was in high school. Then, it was all quad skates--4 wheels, 2 on each side. Now, except for roller derby, I guess inline skates are more popular. Our son learned on inline skates, and I had a colleague who said inline skating was his primary form of exercise. I should probably give them a try…he, he, he.
 
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.

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