Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ice & Snow in July 7-26-08

I can’t tell you how much I needed today. No, seriously. I’ve talked about it for three days. Just the simple thought of having a morning to myself, to do something for me just about made me weepy. OK, I cry easy, but that’s not the point.
I don’t get to skate nearly enough. I have no one to go with except my friend Wendy. My daughter is no longer interested in it, and when I’m vacationing in NH, my husband drops me at the local rink and leaves. The fondest memories I will take to my grave are skating on an outdoor rink on New Year’s Eve morning’s in North Conway NH, just Wendy and I and our families huddled against the boards with coffee trying to stay warm. The cold, the sound of the steel on ice, it soothes me like nothing else.
When I saw that there was an open skate from 11 am - 12 pm at Ice Works today for an Islander event, I knew I was “IN.” The skates came out of the garage and the fleece came out of the back of the closet.
I called Mike S. “Mikey!! Come skate with me! Please!” (I have an ulterior motive. He’s a center. I need lessons on rudimentary skating.)
“Okay Dee, but I think I may have to work. But I’ll see what I can do.”
I called IslanderQueen. “Vicki! Please, come skate with me! Please!”
“I don’t have skates.”
“You can wear Kira’s. They’re brand new. Just please come with me!” I was pleading like a 2 year-old, even though I knew I’d go anyway even if no one else did.
“I don’t skate Dee.” She said on the phone.
“It doesn’t matter. They’re hockey skates. You can’t fall off them. I promise.” I assured her.
That’s why I don’t have figure skates. When I started skating again, the 18 year-old at Play It Again Sports convinced me that if I wasn’t really a skater, I should go for hockey skates. No triple Lutz out of this chubby chick, so beat up hockey skates turned in by a high school star on the Kennett Eagles for $25 were just my speed.
“Sharpen them and lace ‘em up. I’ll take ‘em!” I told him.
He looked at me cross eyed. “You’re taking them?”
“Yep.” Of course, my daughter had to have brand new whatever’s at $90. She’s worn them 3 times. But I won’t give up my horrible Black Bauer’s. I don’t fall. I get on the ice and I just plant myself there. You have to PUSH off just to get moving. I love them.
So here we were, playing Marco Polo Cell Phone in the Ice Works parking lot as there were no spaces to be had. “I’m on a side street!” “No, I’m by the train.” “Wait, I have to move, a truck almost hit me.” “Can I park here? It says Tow-Away Zone.” “DAMN!!! Where did all these PEOPLE come from??”
Yeah. No one pays attention to Hockey in July on Long Island. Please show me the skeptic that thinks THAT, and let HIM find me a parking space. I parked around back, and asked the loading dock kids from the neighboring company to PLEASE not tow my car.
The inflatables were up, there were tables and chairs set up for a bar-b-que lunch, and the RV was there. IslanderQueen and I had to fill out a form to “register” which made us laugh hysterically. “What? Don’t you KNOW who we are???”
Um. He was new. NO, he didn’t. We filled out the forms, took our orange bracelets and went inside.
Okay. So When they said “Open Skate” 11 - 12, I was hoping it would be just adults, because the kids had TWO sessions afterward. Sadly, all the little rug rats in their jerseys and hockey gear were out on the ice with us, basically…. Making us look bad.
There was also one teen-age boy that I wanted to just beat into the boards because he was skating so fast and weaving in and out so fast all while skating in shorts, a tee-shirt and an iPod. I hope you had blisters young man. You annoyed me.
I was beyond happy to see none other than our own Steve Mears out on the ice skating with John Chabot. Steve is not only a great announcer, but he’s a damn good skater. (He’s also adorable, approachable and just about one of the nicest guys you could want to meet. Someone tell this boy he‘s been on TV and give him an ego. Wait… No… Forget that.)
He skated over to me (as there was no way in hell I was catching up to him.) “Come’ on Dee! Wanna drop the gloves?” I laughed and said “Sure!” and pretended to Mother slap him upside the head. More motion than that would have caused me to fall on my butt.
We chatted and skated in a circle, which is about my speed actually. IQ did very, very well. She never fell, kept up pace and only got nervous when the little ones tried to skate around her which caused ME to scream which could be heard… probably at the Coliseum.
Then there was our own GM, Garth Snow who brought his 3 year old son to attend this event with him. Let me be a mother for a few minutes instead of a fan.
Oh My God, this is the cutest, sweetest little boy!!! Quiet, smiling and friendly. You could just eat him up. Having just the 13 year old, I forget how amazing children are when they’re that young. The smile, the blue eyes under the dark helmet and the tenaciousness on the ice just melted my heart. Where was Daddy? With a watchful eye but 15 feet away.
I was a mess as I watched this little darling skate in inches along the boards. “Go get him!!!” I said
“I’m right here. He sees me. He knows where I am. I bring him here to toughen him up.” Garth never took his eyes off his son, but was indeed giving him space. I, as a mother, was dying as I saw this darling pout because he couldn’t catch up to Daddy fast enough. I wanted to go back and get him, but fought the urge and skated on to meet IQ who somehow managed to skate and text on her phone.
My phone, my camera and everything I owned was basically up on top of the soda machine. I didn’t care. I was on the ice.
I skated around and back to Mr. Snow figuring I should ask him something poignant since, well, I’m one of the bloggers, right?
“So, Garth… How did you manage to make Sean sign a contract?” What did you think I was going to ask him?
“It was easy…. Once the obstacle was removed.” And that would be Mark Gandler. Like he needed to tell me that? NO. “I knew that would make you happy, Dee.” he smiled.
Happy? Happy? The only thing that would make me happier is if Toronto bought out Blake and somehow he managed to bring him back to the Uniondale ice too. OK, that’s a personal fantasy, but hell, it was a good day.
Noon came way too quickly and it was time for us to get off the ice so that the kids could get on. IQ and I changed out of our skates in a corner and I watched Mr. Snow take his son to the concession stand.
“This is his favorite part of the day…. A warm pretzel.” He looked up and smiled. In 15 years, this kid is going to break a lot of hearts.
We were standing by the soda machine and all of a sudden Snow, still in his skates looked down at me… “Dee… Did you just get … SHORTER?” Very observant Mr. Snow.
I was now in flip flops, he was still in skates, and I’m all of 5’1”. He’s got the Big Angry Man’s height and sense of humor. Meaning, it’s at my expense. I just rolled my eyes and left.
As IQ and I left IceWorks, there were so many people on line for the bar-b-que and for the inflatables. I stopped and smiled.
Yeah… Let the Canadian Media tell me AGAIN that Hockey shouldn’t’ be on Long Island. Go ahead. And I’ll show you pictures of the happiest kids in the world on a July morning dressed in full hockey gear. Long Island IS a Hockey market and the ISLANDERS… well… They’re OUR team! Because no matter WHAT… We ARE ALL ISLANDERS!


Mike (Mezz21) said...

I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your entry today and couldn't agree more with you about being on the ice. Playing hockey or just going to public skate is like the "Fortress of Solitude" for me. I forget about problems at work, having to pay bills, and what needs to be done around the house when I'm out on the ice. My little girl, she's seven, and I drive 75 miles to a rink in Pennsylvania during the summer until the local rink reopens in August. I haven't had the chance to skate very much this past year since I tore the tendons in my ankle last October while playing. I have to have surgery next month to repair them. I will be busting at the seams to get back on the ice as there is nothing like lacing up a pair of skates and stepping out on the ice.

islesblogger said...

And where was my phone call this morning?

Anonymous said...

IslanderQueen and I had to fill out a form to “register” which made us laugh hysterically. “What? Don’t you KNOW who we are???”
Um. He was new. NO, he didn’t. We filled out the forms, took our orange bracelets and went inside.

You have got to be kidding.

IQ said...

that was a lot of fun..more fun than i thought..
where is there a place where we can go for open skate like that..

i loved the way it showed me what areas I need to work out a little more-- but i think its the skating that is a total different workout...had i known to keep the knees bent...which coach was that by the did make it better after i kept them bent..

but who was that kind man?

i wanted to throw garth to the ice..just to say i did..but thought better of it..
they were all so nice!

good job to the NY Islanders for extending the invitation and dee for inviting me (hugs)

Travelchic59 said...

You are a better person than me. I am very impressed with IQ's and your skating skills. Nice going.

I was on skates . . once . . when I was 12 . . I think . . for about 10 minutes. LOL! DEFINITELY NOT MY THING!

Glad to see you had a great time.