Adult Skating: An Addiction to Pain

25 Aug

As an adult skater we assume we know the risks associated with skating. We assume that we are going to fall and we assume that we will accept those injuries, heal them, and then get right back on that ice and skate again. Sometimes as an adult we are riddled with skating injuries over and over again and yet, we still skate. Our legs ache, our ankles burn, our side hurts and we still skate. Yes, it is very much like a professional skater or any athlete except we’re older and there really aren’t any medals or fans. I’m not singing a sad song, its just the nature of the adult skating beast.

If you started skating after the age of 18 you are an adult skater and you know what I am talking about. You know and hear the stories around the rink. This one broke her leg, he broke his wrist, she sprained her ankle, she broke her arm and they go on and on. As adults we live very busy lives but yet still strive to skate and train like any of the kids. We still strive for that single or double jump (and yes, I said single jump). We are obsessed and we are riddled with the scars of trying to twist our bodies into strange and unknown positions for the sake of our obsession. Seems kinda silly, doesn’t it? Why would we do this to ourselves for a sport that is extremely unfriendly to adult bodies?
For that matter, young ones as well but I would say particularly adults as they are not nearly as quick to recover.

In my own experience I have had my share of falls, a broken leg, two fractured feet, a sprained ankle, etc. Now, I have a new injury to add to the collection: a lovely tiny bone spur which will result in arthritis eventually – a direct result of skating and undeniably, yes, the token of my obsession. Its a bone spur formed from a previous fracture on my foot from skating. Apparently skating makes it worse. Surprise, surprise!

This news was a little depressing given that I was just getting back into the swing of things, progressing in my program, and moving towards more advanced spins and jumps. Now, there will be no more skating until I feel better. Maybe 2 weeks, 3? I don’t know. I do know, that I can’t explain why I am so obsessed with a sport that is so obviously destructive to my body. Why not take up swimming? I think running is out of the question, as is dance from the ankle injuries. Why not bicycling? Why not something else less straining? As an intelligent adult my mind is practically screaming over the past 9 years: Hello? why do you do this to yourself? All this for a lutz or an axel or a perfect camel? It’s totally not worth it, so stop now before you break something else!

Then I think, but I love figure skating, I love committing to the challenge of perfecting that spin, of being able to express myself on the ice and yes, the element of risk just adds to the allure. Its addicting, its thrilling, and yes, skating just might be a drug that the sane adult in us should quit. But I just can’t quit and even though right now I can barely walk more then a 1/4 of mile without a pulsating pain in my right foot, I will be out there skating again in a few weeks or months (however, long it takes for the pain to dissipate) because I love it. That’s it. Plain and simple. Stupid, but there it is.

I love the feeling of skating on smooth ice, the feeling of accomplishment, and the feeling of comradeship on the ice. I love the hard work it takes, I love the smell of the rink, I love the feeling of belonging to a sport that is as beautiful as it is tough. Because there is no doubt about it, you got to be tough if you skate. Its not apparent how tough skaters are because when it is done right skating looks effortless but each and every skater has withstood all types of injuries, the likes of which any football star or basketball phenom would shudder in horror at.

I admit, I could be a little crazy, after all I am only 30. I have many more years in which to enjoy the fruits of my falls and breaks (which I am sure will not be pleasant) but in the end I know I will still say it was all worth it with or without that damn double.

I’m not saying all adults feel like this, but I would bet more then half would nod their head and agree. Its the adult obsession and determination that keeps us all out there on the ice. We keep spinning, gliding, and jumping despite our injuries and despite our hectic lives.
Why else would we do it? No medals, no accolades just a burning need to get out there and practice just as hard as anyone else for nothing more then our own enjoyment, self-gratification, and maybe just a little self-torture too.

Crazed Adult Skater below “Bring it on!”

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