I was born and spent my childhood in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
So winter sports of all kinds are prominent in Minnesota culture. From icy shanty towns on frozen lakes where ice fishing is king, to hockey, to snowshoeing, to building backyard igloos, people don't hibernate for the winter in Minnesota.
Skating on ponds or lakes required a lot more work. After every snowfall, hours of shoveling would be required to make the ice available to skates again. But these were the places where kids spent the winter days after school breathing the fresh winter air, exercising their bodies, perfecting their skills and playing pick-up games of hockey.
Our older kids were born in Michigan where we continued to skate on our local frozen pond. We had tiny double-bladed skates for the youngest and many pairs of skates in various sizes that the kids grew in and out of over the years.
Ice skating in Oregon is for the rich city folk. There are two ice rinks in large Portland shopping malls.
They are multi-purpose rinks where professionals practice their moves and privileged children have expensive skating lessons. These rinks are also the place where average people can tie on a pair of skates and give it a try. For a fee. But if they find they have a talent for it, they can't continue to practice in the neighborhood like we did afternoons after school. Ice skating is only a rare treat for those willing to drive to the city and pay for the privilege.
This city rink is where Tanya Harding practiced her jumps and where the new Olympic hopefuls inspire the rest of us.
This is also the place to buy skates and costumes for that next competition.
Just in case any of us are feeling the drive to show off our stuff for the judges.
Whoa! I can't look....