jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

On happy endings

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So I’ve noticed that I’ve been ending a lot of these entries with “Hooray!” or “Yay!”; I can’t resist a little dose of exultation–or hope–like a little cherry on top (or for me, a square of dark chocolate, please) at the end. Not a big dose–for all my optimism, I’m still pretty realistic about what all this amounts to. Still, I can’t resist the happy ending, even if it sometimes feels more like a flourish than a firm conviction. In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (which was the first Shakespearean production I ever saw), Don Pedro tells Beatrice “you were born in a merry hour” and she corrects him with “No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.”

Well, I’m lying down on the couch at the moment and I’m feeling the “mother crying” more than anything right now: some tired muscles and what feels like a tweaked adductor on the right side. Not just skating-related: getting everyone prepped for school and up and out in the mornings, and trying to get ready for the start of the semester myself has left me a bit sleep-deprived. It’s also catching up on yard work and cleaning after weeks of being away. (Still somewhat daunted by the amount of weeding that is left, but I’m proud to say that our back entryway is now spider- and cobweb-free and my younger son is no longer terrified to put on his shoes there.)

I have been skating hard this week, so that is part of it. I was so inspired by last week’s lesson. Here are my resolutions for the week:

  • push on every single transition (rather than sliding from one foot to another) so that every edge has a definite start to it
  • don’t over-rotate my shoulders
  • turn twizzles using my core rather than rocking from one edge to another

Yesterday I did lots of progressives and chassés, telling myself to push on every transition. And then realized why I don’t push on every transition. It is exhausting! And with each round of exercises I kept thinking “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Forward progressives alternating with chassés. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Back progressives. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Perimeter stroking, ditto. Until I just couldn’t take it anymore and started laughing. All the most challenging things I’ve ever done, like write my dissertation, have children, get said children to practice (not to mention much more serious matters involving all sorts of trauma, fear, loss, grief, disappointment, pain over the years): all eclipsed by the effort it takes to push from one edge to another.

But you know, I was right to think that as well as to laugh at myself whining. Unlike many hard times, I have control over this one. And if I can push from one edge to another, I can make it through a lot of things, no?

Okay, here’s the “star dancing” moment to finish this entry. I figured out yesterday that if I think consciously about how to use pressure right down into my left blade in order to carve out a curve, it helps a lot on forward outside and back edges. This is vague, so I will try to understand and describe it better–for now, it’s the difference between simply stepping onto the left side and balancing versus feeling the foot as it actively moves into and out of the edge. It seems to correct the occasional awkward angle of my left foot, which hopefully will alleviate or prevent any more foot problems. And it really seems to help outside three turns by allowing the outside edge to finish and deepen into the turn. That the final moment of the outside edge moves into the circle rather than getting pulled out and flattened: that is a happy ending indeed.

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Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

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