Evergreen Lake, Ice Skating

 

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Since moving to Colorado, I’ve wanted to join the throngs of people skating at Evergreen Lake. On this crisp, sunny day, hundreds of people came out for a recreational skate. A tall, blonde figure skater remarked about a kid wearing a Sabres’ jersey, and I learned that she was from Buffalo and her friend from Rochester. I saw kids in goalie pads, and toddlers getting pep talks from mom and dad.

For me, it was a throwback to youth. I grew up on skates. The Eastridge pond was easily accessible by cutting through neighbor yards. I started lacing ’em up when I was just 3.  Back then, the pond was lit at night. For years, December through March, skating on the pond was an every day occurrence. After school, my friends and I would play hockey until dark, ignoring Mom’s calls for dinner. She was convinced I couldn’t hear her, so she would turn on the outside lantern as a bat-signal to get my butt home. On weekends, we would skate nearly all day, doing our best impressions of Bobby Orr, Rod Gilbert, Bobby Hull or Gordie Howe.

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The last time I went skating was New Year’s Eve, 2008, with Jim and Stefanie Gramkee at Manhattan Square Park in Rochester. I’ve moved those skates a dozen times since, and today, I would finally lace them up and skate on this fabulous natural resource. Evergreen Lake is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor rink in the world.

It was tough going. On the first lap around the long free skating rink, my legs burned. I fell a few times. I got winded. I felt old.

After a spill, another skater asked if I was okay, and I told her, “Yeah, I just fell on my ego.” The admission to the ice rink was a $7 lesson in mortality. It may have been my last time ice skating. If so, it was a glorious place to take a last lap.

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