Open Skating at Duluth Heritage Sports Center

Image from the Heritage Center website

For New Year’s, I never make resolutions. But I do point myself toward new things that feed me.

Ice skating.

I went to the Heritage Center for City of Duluth Open Skate.

First: the awesome. The ice time is free. The skate rental is free. Sizes ten and eleven ran out fast, though, so I was wearing size twelve skates.  I presume I’d be more graceful if the skates fit.

Every kind of Duluthian I could imagine was there — an afterschool group came together, so many families, a genuinely diverse crowd. Every skill level is there, from pee-wee hockey types, wearing jerseys and pads before they can read, to 45-year-old men recovering their legs after a decade away.

I loved the kids, too, because for the kids, falling isn’t to be feared or avoided. It’s part of the fun.

For the first ten minutes, I was within three feet of the railing, in case I started to fall. For the next ten, I remembered how to swerve to avoid kids playing tag instead of pushing into the wall to avoid them.

Then, a bit of rest. I forgot how skating badly hurts the lower back. Then I remembered to skate better, that skating is not in the legs, with the back muscles tightening to shift my weight when I slip. It’s in the knees, the trunk, the arms. A Ke$ha song came on [Ke$ha and TSwift being the two kinds of teen pop I can stand], and I started swaying my arms.

The way you can pull yourself forward just by shifting your weight … the glide, the cool air in the glide … skating is as close as I can come to flying.

Today, I am headed to buy skates in my size [to increase my grace], if the roads are clear. Suggestions?

And I’m looking forward to adult open skate, which has a small fee attached, because I am guessing they don’t play tag like crazed hellions. But I bet when they fall, they don’t laugh as much.

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