Rarely does one equate going backwards with progress, but in my endeavour to learn a more hands-on perspective of our great game, it’s a pretty darn significant milestone.
As I prepare for my second official one-on-one skating lesson, I realise how far I’ve come since the first time I hobbled out on the ice at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del. this past winter, and even since the month-long hockey class in April I touched on in Part 1 of this series. In subsequent weeks, there was an increased focus on stickhandling, passing, and in-game strategies.
While my lack of skating ability at the time was a definite limitation in the class, I feel I was able to take a lot away from it and apply the skills I was taught during two to three on-ice sessions weekly since. While I was able to become much more comfortable on the ice and also gain fluidity and strength on my own, formal instruction — even after just one lesson — has helped all the more.
Andrejs, my teacher, is a Latvian national who now calls Newark home, and is as adept a figure skater as he is a hockey player and coach. Talk about versatility! We covered a lot of ground in a 50-minute session at the beginning of the month, and while manning the blue line in low-level beer league is still a long ways off for me, being able to glide on my dominant foot (neutral edge, no less!), stop, and travel backwards with effort — at least from the goal line to the far blue line — is encouraging. Maybe I will be able to referee mites and squirts this winter after all . . .
. . . but fret not, I’m not planning on trading the headset in for good anytime soon.