Showing posts from February, 2018

Mental equilibrium

I’ve been lucky to have some really great skating coaches since I got back on the ice. The support, the guidance, and the patience have all made my perennially awkward self feel tons more at ease in the inherently uncomfortable position of being an adult skater. There are some deficiencies in my scattershot skating re-education, for sure. There are moves from the Free Skate 6 curriculum that I’ve been able to do for months while Free Skate 1’s back-outside three-turns are still glaringly absent from my repertoire. But for someone who’s skated at five different rinks in the past year (three of which are still in my lesson rotation) with coaches whose backgrounds are a veritable kaleidoscope of experience, I am both pleased and surprised at how comparatively consistent my training has managed to be. The most prevailing constant in the 13 months I’ve spent back on the ice, though, is my coaches all making the inevitable observation that I overthink just about everything I can. A

The progress and the regression

Not every lesson can be the best one ever. A few weeks ago, thanks to picking up a second group lesson on a whim, I finally got my spins back. Spins have been the absolute bane of my skating existence for the past 10 months as I struggled seemingly in vain to find my center of balance and my posture, as well as stop instinctively leaning on my inside edge. Had I not had the assurance of some wonderful fellow adult skaters that spins are, indeed, just the cruelest mistress, I would have written myself off as a hopeless cause in this particular endeavor. I have tried following patterns that my coaches have helpfully marked on the ice. I have watched countless instructional YouTube videos. I have propelled myself across my living room (while earning some pretty awe-inspiring bruises) on a spinner. And then—boom, my first day at these new classes, the instructor showed us how she learned to spin and I nailed it on the first try. I thought it was a fluke. Spins broke my heart too many

A Sunday homecoming

In the nearly 12 years of my career, I’ve been able to embark upon excursions that had me crossing the continent, bounding over borders, and peeking behind all kinds of curtains. Doors that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to go through have opened to me time and again all because I wielded the appropriate combination of a press pass, a camera, and an editor title. But this past weekend was the first time my professional life had me milling around an ice rink—and one that has been the backdrop for everything from my 13 th birthday to a run-in with a long-lost friend to nearly every Saturday lesson I’ve had since July. I’ve spent such a significant portion of my formative years at ice rinks up and down the northern East Coast, from Vermont to Annapolis, for after-school jobs and for skating lessons, for public skates and my brother’s travel hockey leagues. Just like everything else about adolescence, there’s a whirlwind of general feelings and oddly specific memories that acc

Taking the scenic route to the point

I’m a writer by nature, inclination toward self-destruction, and trade. It’s the only bankable talent and interest I really have; excluding editing, its far less anxiety-inducing cousin, it’s really the only thing I can see myself spending the rest of my life doing. But, oh, how I am lazy. Maybe “lazy” isn’t the right word. Unmotivated? Easily distracted? Perpetually tired? Leaning on vices until they're practically a lifestyle? Stubbornly uninspired? Whatever the case, every time I’ve ever tried to write a novel, despite getting a little farther than the last time (my most recent attempt almost filled an entire notebook!), I run out of oomph sooner or later. It's a big reason why I gravitated toward journalism in both college and the early days of my career: The story was already there (world-building has ALWAYS been my problem), it just needs to be told by someone who knows how to turn a story into a deliberately constructed narrative. Fact isn’t by any means e

The intimidation of being an adult skater

It is so odd being an adult skater. It is the strangest kind of lived-in déjà vu to be 33 and retracing old steps while vaulting past a proficiency that took five years to gain the first time around. To be dusting off the long-dormant distinctions between a Lutz and flip, to be reaching across time to remember tricks and tips that helped almost as much as having the knees of a teenager, to be thinking about testing and maybe eventually competing at an age when your peers are fretting over the struggles of parenthood… it’s a surreal experience, for sure. Stranger still are those things that HAVEN’T changed. I have always struggled with spins, particularly finding my axis and my balance both consistently and immediately enough to advance beyond a basic one-foot spin. (Other adult skaters have assured me that they, too, found spins to present a significant challenge; after 10 months of attempting them, I just about wept at center ice a couple weeks ago when I finally, finally made p

A reconnection half a lifetime in the making

Once upon a time, I had a blog dedicated to two of my favorite things: eating and reading. I was a side-gig book reviewer at the time with a full-time job that afforded me enough opportunities to read on company time that I was no stranger to starting and finishing a book in the same day. I also hated that particular job, so the full-tilt bookworm escapism was as necessary as it was appreciated. And then, like most things I throw myself at with my entire, reckless being, I burned through that honeymoon sheen of novelty: Being a book reviewer and getting paid to both read and write about books is fantastic, until you start trudging through novels you don’t enjoy and writing about them on deadlines that you can’t keep up with. I also changed jobs, this time taking on a much more demanding position that eviscerated my free time—and with it, my desire to read and write. It was the effective end of that particular side hustle and its corollary blog. Flash forward to January 2017. Wai