There is a great debate in my house, and it’s a debate based on an even greater falsehood. After a visit to an ice rink last week, I have convinced my children that I am the best ice skater in this family. I ask them often, and they repeat, just as often, that I am indeed the greatest, most prolific skater in the family. This rankles my wife in an extreme way, as the truth that she knows and that I secretly know is that she’s a better skater than me. This is difficult for me to admit to you now, even though I plan to never, ever admit this to my children who continue to hold me in a most lofty position.
This isn’t my fault, that I’m not technically the best skater in my household. My wife is Canadian, which means that while we were all running around sucking on orange wedges on a soccer field, she spent her childhood inside a smelly old ice rink being forced to skate. Worse than this advantage is that she didn’t even play hockey, she played ringette. This is a difficult sport to explain, and it is not unlike Canada’s other major sport, Curling, in that it makes very little sense. Instead of having Canadian girls play girl hockey, someone dreamt up that they should play this odd sport of ringette.
Ringette is to hockey what Cricket is to baseball. In that it’s a goofy version of a superior sport. In ringette, the girls are forced to use sticks that have no blade on the end, and they scoot around a hockey puck that has a hole in it. The idea is to put the blunted end of the stick into the middle of a hollowed out puck, and then you skate around like this for a while before slinging that disc at the goal. It’s goofy, and that’s all there is to it.
I grew up skating a little bit, mostly on the lake in front of my parents house. My brothers and I would shovel a rink that ended up always being too small, because shoveling snow isn’t easy. We’d mound up the edges of the rink, and a few times, when we were feeling motivated, we’d pull buckets of water from the open spring at the Loch Vista lakefront and we’d slowly pour water on the snowy edges of the rink. The theory was that somehow this would freeze and allow the puck to bounce off the sides of the rink, which never actually happened. But we would drink from the spring in the winter when we were thirsty, so there’s that.
I either skated on the lake or down at the parking lot by the Williams Bay field house, a lot that the village would flood in the winter. I skated a lot down there, and one time in high school I called the village up and yelled at some poor guy because he didn’t keep the rink plowed. What a horrible punk I was to do that, but at the time I couldn’t understand how it was such a difficult undertaking to run a plow over a piddly little rink once in a while. Come to think of it, I still don’t see how it’s such a big deal, but the village must still think it to be a serious undertaking, because they don’t flood that rink with any regularity any more.
Thankfully, if skating is your thing, the South Shore Club has you covered. They’ve built that rink and it’s quite nice. It even has sides that aren’t made out of ice, which means if you’d like to get your hockey on, you won’t be digging for a puck in the margins of the rink. The only issue here is that in order to use that super fancy rink you’ll first have to be an owner in the South Shore Club. If only you knew someone who could help you out with that…