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23rd June
written by Mombo#9

As the summer competitions line up on the calendar, I find myself once again loading the skates into the car.

By skates, I don’t mean 2 boots and 2 blades, sharpened the week before so they are Goldilocks ready (not too sharp and not too dull), but 8 Zuca skating bags containing 16 boots and 16 blades. Once, hearing horror stories of skates going to Toledo instead of Boston, I shipped an old pair of my daughter’s skates to Portland for Nationals “just in case.” They arrived ahead of us to the hotel and greeted us like a bouquet of flowers, although the smell was a bit different. It was comforting to know we had a back up in the event the airline lost our luggage or sent it on a Hawaiian vacation.

The eight Zuca bags belong to a theater of ice team that my daughter is coaching. The girls and families are flying instead of driving over the rivers of Pittsburgh and by the cornfields of Ohio. We are driving to spend “quality time together.”

For me, this trip will not have the treasured costume bag of old that offered the added benefit of providing aerobic exercise for me by being the same weight as a large medicine ball. I often “brench pressed” the twenty pounds of sequins into the overhead compartment. No, this trip is my first real opportunity to be a spectator.

I am going to witness the story, as told through motion and scenery, on the ice. Prior to the ice dancing, my daughter was a member of a TOI team. Their most memorable program was when they portrayed 16 bits of static that performed to the seemingly scanning radio. The team wore hooded black velvet one-piece costumes that were individually and uniquely decorated with piping and thread of red, gold and white. It was the only time that hair was not important and did not need to be coiffed to be able to go from a tight bun into a swing dance style in a matter of minutes.

“It’s nice that I can help in some way for this production,” I tell my daughter as we load up the car. “I know how difficult it is to trust someone else with your skates. It’s like we are the Pony Express or the armored car delivering the goods. We’re like the FedSkate Xpress.”

My daughter looked at me for a moment before commenting, “You really are ‘the skate is half full’ type of person, aren’t you?”

“Well, I try to look on the bright side of things — the light in the tunnel so to speak.”

“No problem there. These are 10 year-olds Zuca bags. Most of them have blinking wheels that will be flashing for all of the 500 miles.

I smiled as I shut the back door. “Maybe we should hang up a sign: “Troy, here we come!”

“Maybe I should drive,” my daughter murmurs.


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