Skating Level I at Varsity Centre

Last week, I started my skating class at Varsity Centre. I LOVED it. In addition to registering for the class, I registered to rent skate – which I’ll have access to every week for the hour I spend in class. I haven’t put on a pair of my own skates in a long time, so I imagined any pair I could dig up at home would be four sizes too small. I really appreciate the option to rent because not only is it inexpensive ($20 for the duration of the class) but it also means I’m not lugging skates to and from campus on top of my course materials. When I got to Varsity Centre, I swiped my TCard and made my way to the arena (a familiar route, having attended a couple of MoveU skating events there already).
This is the entrance to Varsity Centre where you swipe your T-Card.
It wasn’t long before I ran into my coach, whom I identified right away (she was wearing a big headband with the word “SKATE” across the front so… lucky guess). Shannon later explained that what she was wearing was a concussion headband with significant padding to protect her head. “Cool!” I thought. I picked up my skates from an attendant near the entrance. I traded him my TCard for the pair of hockey skates and a helmet, which I’d get back when I returned them after class.
Annette is pictured in her helmet, excited to skate.
All laced up!
The class consisted of about 10 people and coach Shannon. Most of us were students but the two more advanced skaters were members of the community. Shannon introduced herself and shared that she’s been a skating coach for 20 years – at that point I started to imagine all the cool stuff she might be able to teach us. To start, Shannon watched each of us skate. We all seemed to be at a slightly different level as far as skating ability, but I felt that Shannon did a great job of accommodating each of us. We formed two groups and while one group practiced, she instructed the other.
The Varsity arena rink is shown.
This is my stage for the next nine weeks. The ice was just resurfaced so it was wonderfully smooth.
Guys and gals: I learned how to stop. I now feel rather silly that it was something that seemed so impossible when I’d tried it before. When Shannon said it was the first thing we’d learn I was thinking “Oh boy, this isn’t going to go well.” It went really well! I don’t know if it was the way she’d explained it or if someone sprinkled some pixie dust on me that day, but it was a piece of cake! I’d be satisfied even if we learned nothing else (but after that day, I was confident that wouldn’t be the case). For the rest of the class we worked on skating backwards, “scullies”, quick turns and gliding on one skate. I was impressed with how much we could cover in one class and how much I gained from one class. For the last ten minutes we were welcome to practice whatever we felt needed work, so I got a little creative. After establishing that I could glide on one skate pretty well, I thought “Hmm, what if…” and proceeded to try and do a small arabesque while gliding. I must have done something right or impressed Shannon with my daring ambition because her response was, “Looks like we might have to promote you to the advanced group soon!”
A professional figure skater is shown doing an arabesque.
This is what I was going for… of course, my attempt fell a little short. All in all, it was an awesome first experience and I’m really excited to see my skating improve over the next nine weeks!

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