jo skates

Skating in the key of life

The rest is gravy


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I have a lot to be grateful for, so I’d better start now.

First the fundamentals: family, good health, steady job, loving friends, and everyday acts of kindness and imagination. The privilege of food, leisure, safety, and hope for the future when there is so much violence and pain right now in the world.

Now the gravy. I’ll put skating in the gravy.

Clean ice, inexpensive public sessions and reasonably-priced figure skating-only ice. Adorable little skating children who stick close to the boards. Really friendly folks who work and play at the rink. A music system that works. And music, music, music.

Coaches who don’t hide their concern about the state of my swing rolls (okay, and who actually feel concern about the state of my swing rolls). Coaches who have been with me now through many ups and downs, literally as well as figuratively. Coaches who seem to have tried everything in their bag of tricks to get me to do something better–and then I find that their bag of tricks is endless, a cornucopia of forces and pressures and muscles and balance points and body parts. Oh, and the counting, did I mention the counting?

Eric Franklin and his inspiring imagery. A physical therapist who thinks skating and dancing–not just walking and going up stairs–are good reasons to keep getting better.

So many good skating friends: I want to list them all but then I’ll inadvertently leave someone out and feel bad about it later. I’ll save my thanks for the next time we meet at the rink. So just a shout-out to some of my fellow skating bloggers. Eva, congrats on your double salchow. George, hope your new helmet is working just fine! Mary, glad to know you are back on the ice now. Sarah, hope the moves test went well. Diane, fun to see your lifts on video. Babbette, thanks for keeping us smiling and skating at the same time (no mean feat!).

And certainly not least, thanks for my skating body and my skating brain, which have put together the following list of things to work on this week and next. Here’s part of the cornucopia:

  • Swing rolls. Remember to bend your knees at the same time before pushing. Rise to a fully upright position, but remember to bend your ankle so that your skating hip can move forward. Turn out your free foot. Hips rotate under.
  • Alternating cross roll, progressive sequence. Do this with arms clasped in front. Make sure you really push onto the last stroke of the progressive (from the inside to outside edge) and keep your new skating side in the lead. Don’t twist to create the circle; check your backside to make sure your hips keep facing forward.
  • Outside three turn, step to back inside (make sure your arms and lean are in the right place) , cross over, step forward. Do this on definite lobes and with definite shifts of weight.
  • Inside mohawk three-step pattern. Lean into free side; this means really getting the sternum over free side. Also, feel the hips rotating under as you move through the turn. On the inside mohawks, turn out the incoming foot, and think of transferring the weight through the big toe rather than the pinky toe. Trust in the Force.
  • Entry into the Kilian choctaw. You get a small push out of the cross stroke. Then make sure your left inside edge begins by tucking the left foot behind at an angle (not right alongside the right foot as you were doing). This allow you to get an immediate and tighter left inside edge. The free leg (right) scoots around circle as it goes forward and up off the ice. Allow your free foot to turn out).
  • Inside three, cross in front. These are getting better.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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.

2 thoughts on “The rest is gravy

  1. I am thankful we “met” online, Jo. Hope we can finally meet in person soon. Your skating posts have been wonderfully insightful. Hope that left side continues to get stronger!


  2. Thanks for all your great comments, Eva! It’s fun to hear about all your skating adventures, especially since I’m not freeskating anymore. Jump on!


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