Thursday, November 03, 2016

Well, Huh

People like to talk about themselves, and if you genuinely listen, you will hear some remarkable stories.

One of the moms on the hockey team went to see the Beatles when she was a kid. She also went to see the Jackson Five.

One of the dads on the 16u team had a great grandfather who played professional baseball--in 1908. He played for the Brooklyn Superbas, which was the team name before they became the Dodgers. So he was playing pro ball the same year that the Chicago Cubs last (until last night) won the World Series.

Today, I took Eli 15.3s skates for sharpening.

It took longer than I expected, and I had some time to kill, so I walked over to one of the sheets and saw figure skaters.

Six of them, to be exact. And they were all in high school, at least, while a few of them looked a bit older.

Two of them were doing triple jumps. I've never seen anyone do a triple jump in person, and the amount of power they generated was amazing.

I was just standing there watching, and then I walked around a corner and saw an older gentleman (in his late sixties, I'm guessing) watching intently. "Do you have someone out there?" he said, with a big smile on his face.

I told him I didn't, explained what I was doing, and started listening. Here's a bit of what he told me:
--do you know where skaters go when they retire from competition? Cruise ships, believe it or not. One cruise line has ten different ships with small ice rinks, and they all have shows. They also go to live shows like Disney on Ice, or any one of multiple shows in Europe.
--colleges now have competitive skating programs. There are several schools in Michigan that have this, although I didn't ask about the competition format. But competitive college skating is an actual thing now, and it can get you a scholarship.
--Michelle Kwan was the Michael Jordan of figure skating. Because skating was so centralized around one person in that era, it really ignited junior participation and became kind of a golden era for American figure skating. Now, with much less recognizable stars, participation has dropped off significantly.
--It's a tough era for figure skating. It's obviously very expensive, and it requires an enormous amount of time, and both are in short supply in many parts of the country.

As it turned out, this fellow was the husband of the woman who directs the figure skating program, and he was the nicest, most pleasant person imaginable. He also mentioned that at least two skaters, who originally started in the Learn to Skate program at that rink, eventually wound up going to nationals, which is remarkable.

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