A cold rink, with garish lighting from the children's play area above. A 30 minute music CD on repeat, with the 24 minute mark belonging to Shania Twain's "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!". A sheet of ice, scratched with the tracings of hundreds of blades, with pictures of coaches past and present staring down on it. A slight chill in the air, almost unnoticeable with the movement of skaters, circling endless around the too small surface. In this setting, skaters come and other skaters go, but a core group of determined souls skate on forever, circling the rink and then leaving, only to return again, observed by huddled parents and the rink staff. And so I present to you, The Skating Regulars:
One of the coaches at the rink, with Bieber-like hair that he frequently flicks back from his eyes ever so genteely. So named because, in the course of instructing people how not to fall over, he frequently becomes bored and launches into advanced footwork sequences, generally consisting of a series of super fast turns called "Twizzles". And thus a nickname was born. Not much personality evident from a distance, unless admiring one's posture in the rink glass could be considered a personality.
Crazy Dancing Guy:
Skates to the beat of his own drum. Listens to his MP3 player and "dances to it". His moves are not what would fall under the category of conventional skating movements, but he makes it work. He is a skater's worst nightmare, in that he is simultaneously not terribly in control (too much crazy dancing, I'm afraid) and completely unpredictable, swerving as the music moves him. Combined with his frequent haphazard stops in the middle of the rink to change the song, and you have recipe for potential disaster. No camel spins when he's around!
Crazy Dancing Guy's figurative cousin (I've seen his hip wiggling and quasi-Irish jigging to "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me"). So named because he attempts to complete figure skating moves whilst wearing hockey skates, which both hockey skaters and figure skaters will tell you is impossible. Still, he attempts to spin and jump, and has a fairly decent spiral.
Little Boy Blue
Wears a blue silk shirt to practice every day. Also wears black pants and black padded shorts, which combined with his stick skinny legs makes for an interesting silhouette. A good little skater with nice stretch, but unfortunately it seems his father wants him to be a figure skater more than Little Boy Blue himself does. This leads to long discussions at the board as the father tells him what to do, dilly dallying tying the skates, and a wrinkly forehead and teary eyes after missing a couple lutz jumps in a row.
A completely unremarkable skater, one of the many older people who comes to the rink to skate around, practice two foot spins and waltz jumps, and get their daily exercise in. However, her knowledge of the Chinese skating is spectacular, and she is more than happy to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of having a national training program, why a former World Bronze Medalist coaches in a private rink, and to tell you where the national team practices are held and that they are open to the public. A very valuable resource who speaks English.