While driving (the only time I listen to the radio) and listening to the CBC on Friday, I heard the tail end of an interview with one Melanie Little. She's a writer whose first book of short stories is just coming out. Like my wife Julie, she's a former figure skater and writes about it in this book. As the CBC is want to do, they created a little contest (scroll down about a third of the way down the page) to win her book:
We have two copies of Melanie Little's "Confidence" to give away, in exchange for a story about figure skating. So, if you were a figure skater, or were the brother, sister, mother, father of a figure skater, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. with your story - whatever it may be.
So, being a loyal Canadian, I sent in the following storylet:
When we moved to Ireland two years ago, we foolishly brought our ice skates. My wife Julie was a former competitive figure skater and had been coaching in Vancouver for several years. There'd be no plying her trade in Ireland, though. There were no skating arenas in the country.
Last winter, though, an enterprising Dubliner built a tiny open air skating rink in the old horse market square. Blowing the dust off our skates, we walked over to give it a try. The rink was miniscule, swampy and packed with inept skaters of all ages. It was apparent that most of them had never skated before, so the crashes were frequent and dramatic. The situation wasn't helped by the hordes of 'gurriers'--local, mischievous boys--who flew around the rink with abandon.
Once she warmed up, Julie skated to the center of the busy arena to practice a few jumps and spins. From the first double lutz the skaters were rapt. The number of falls tripled as people tried to simultaneously watch her and stay upright. A group of preteen girls swarmed around her, asking if she was famous, or Russian, or both. She was neither, of course, but for that night, she was probably the best skater in Ireland.
A couple of footnotes:
don't miss their cool jerseys). They're apparently lobbying for a new, permanent arena in Dublin.
- There's a burgeoning hockey and figure skating community in Northern Ireland. They've got a hockey team (the Belfast Knights, peopled mostly by Canadians).
- Ironically, despite the lack of rinks, there is an Irish Ice Hockey Association (