Can We Skate with the Lights On?

By Stevie

I need to vent.

My son is becoming more skilled and more serious about hockey. He just started the mite level hockey school at Southpointe Iceoplex ( more on that later) yesterday. Today, he brought home a sign-up sheet from school to do a fall sports clinic. His options were ultimate frisbee, basketball, baseball, golf, and swimming. He asked me if he could play hockey. I said well you’re already playing hockey and it’s not an option anyway, so do you want to try something else? He said he wants to learn golf. He goes to the driving range with my brother sometimes, so I’m sure that his interest in golf comes from that.

Cool. I have no problem with that. I signed him up.

But, getting back to hockey. His skating is progressively getting better, but honestly, he needs to be on the ice more so that he can join a team after Christmas. I called around to see who has public skating this weekend.

I know I’ve complained about this in the past, but it’s coming around again and it’s very frustrating. I called Ice Castle (they have the best ice surface) to see if they have skating this weekend that is just regular skating. No. All weekend skating is “cosmic” skating. This means that the lights are off and the stereo is blasting so hard you cannot hear yourself think.

Mother's Day at Ice Castle at 1 in the afternoon. WE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE. Turn the freaking lights on!!!

Mother’s Day at Ice Castle at 1 in the afternoon. WE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE. Turn the freaking lights on!!!

I asked the girl on the phone when they offer just regular ice skating with the lights on. Monday through Friday at noon. Well, that doesn’t exactly work for ummm ANYONE. The only time we can ice skate with lights on is while he’s at school and I’m at work? I hardly consider strobe lighting and Justin Bieber bumpin a safe environment for learning or for 5 year olds in general. I like to ice skate with my kid. It’s good quality time and I try to use that time to talk with him about skating and hockey and things he wants to learn and how he feels about everything. I want to know what he is comfortable with and if he is having fun.

Being on the ice with him is the perfect time to gauge his comfort because we’re talking as things are happening. “Mommy, help me skate backwards.”

So, unless it’s an inservice day at school and I happen to be off work, Ice Castle isn’t an option.

Moved on, called Blade Runners in Bethel Park. “We no longer offer public skating.” That’s fine. Your ice is crap anyway. They at least offer stick time, but let’s face it. I’m not properly equipped to take him to stick time like one of my brothers would be.

Next, I called Mt. Lebanon. Thankfully, they offer non-cosmic skating on weekends during their daytime sessions. I’ve already experienced their Friday night session. Holy sweet merciful God, that was a terrible experience. The loudest music I’ve heard outside of a night club, no skate guards, no skating in one direction. Mayhem. Just kids skating all over the place like maniacs in the freaking dark.

What I don’t understand is why it is so hard to find public skating that is hospitable to a family and younger children? While I understand that skating is popular among teens on the weekend, why do they hold a monopoly over the atmosphere? Can’t the rinks compromise somehow? Ok, Friday night you kids get the disco ball, but Saturday during the day and Sunday during the day, the lights are on.

Who the hell wants to ice skate with the lights off on a freaking Sunday afternoon? Is this really when you’re going to get high school kids on dates at the rink? No. On a Sunday afternoon I would think you’d get families spending time together.

Last winter, when Blade Runners offered public skate, we were turned away on a Friday. The girl told me that they don’t ┬árecommend anyone on Fridays under the age of 10. This was after I had already LEFT Ice Castle because we walked in and it was complete insanity.

Ice Castle, get it together. Horny teenagers aren’t the only people who like to skate. For how much I’ve already paid your facility in skating and hockey lessons for my kid, you could offer a skating environment welcoming to skaters of all ages.

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