Thursday, April 21, 2011

Candice: It's Not Me, It's You


Phew. That felt good. You might have noticed that after my one enthusiastic post about spinning I sort of never mentioned it again. And the reason is I spent a year being awful at it. A year! I didn't admit it to very many people but it was frustrating me to the point that I sort of felt like a fool. I mean, it's not like I was upset I had not mastered a spin combo. I was upset that I could not actually spin. A few months, sure, a year, though? I mean, was I really expected to spend two years mastering the most basic of spins.

Now, you're probably wondering why my coaches didn't help me. I'm not 100% sure, but spins must be some sort of red-headed stepchild to most coaches, because for the longest time every coach, everyone of them, would generally be like, "Oh, yeah, spins" in the last five minutes of class. Meaning the I got about one minute of instruction with such gems as "Yeah, that's not too bad."

Perhaps the problem was practice. I despised being bad at them. I hated trying again and again for something that was slow and unstable and nothing like the spins that make me so happy to watch. But then I had to remind myself that it's been a year and even a year of so-so practice should yield some sort of result.

The problem, it turns out, was just that no one seemed to believe I really wanted to get better at them. Our new coach has a lot of experience with adult skaters and when I said I wanted to learn how to improve my spins, he basically improved them in two ten minute lessons.

First, he showed me how to enter a spin moving. Then, he told me to bend my stupid knees. Why those two things never occurred to a coach before, I have no idea. But those two tidbits of advice were all I need to go from HORRIBLE WOBBLY SPIN THAT LOOKS SUPER LAME to "holy shit that was actually... centered." Leading me to feel two wildly disparate emotions the first being, "Yay!" the second being, "Wtf?"

I don't know why in a year no one thought to tell me to hold my body a different way. Did they think I'd just figure that one out on my own? Did they think I got a kick out of being bad at spins? Did they think I didn't actually want to know? I guess it doesn't really matter. The point is that I'm done with lessons. Once this next round is over I'll be getting a coach for private lessons, monetary investment be damned, because I'm not spending another year waiting for someone to point out that my arm is in the wrong place.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kate: Ice Castles

I'm going to take a break from nattering about skating classes because, frankly, I've been off the ice for two weeks due to travel. Today was supposed to be my triumphant return to the ice, but I appear to be developing an upper respiratory infection, so instead the plan for today is to take it easy, then go skating for three hours tomorrow.

Moving on! Last night Candice and I decided to watch Ice Castles, a delightful movie from 1978 about a girl overcoming adversity to become awesome at skating. OR SO WE THOUGHT. Warning: there will be spoilers in this post, though I kind of feel like getting angry about spoilers from a movie that is THIRTY-THREE years old is a little silly.

We expected the movie to be bad because it was 1.) about ice skating and 2.) made in the 70's. What we did not expect was the movie to be BALLS TO THE WALL CRAZY. We were tweeting throughout the movie, and here are some examples of our feelings as the movie went from "Wow, everyone in this movie is just here to cash a paycheck" to "Um, the main character appears to now be an attic-lurking zombie wearing her dead mother's clothes. What?"

"So Ice Castles is as schlocky as I hoped but everyone is napping through this movie. Also lololol a full house at Regionals."

"Apparently triples were just crowd pleasing acrobatics back in the 70s. Why would anyone want to do them? "

"I'm already tired of watching split jumps holy crap. "

If you've seen Showgirls know how hilarious it is when everyone is practically salivating over Nomi Malone's "abilities." That's pretty much what was going on with this movie. At one point this character is so over-awed by the main character's "natural" "talent" that she has like a meltdown... at a Christmas Special. Where apparently the main character qualifies for Regionals? WTF, Ice Castles?

And at first it seems like family fun (well, not that Showgirls was ever family fun, the comparison ends with the amazement over "talent"), and then suddenly the main character is playing with her nipples in front of a mirror. And that, my friends, is where the movie really veers off into insanity. We were tweeting away sarcastically about dated ideas about jumps and hilariously full houses at lame competitions, and then:

"She's had one glass of wine and now she's molesting an ice sculpture. "

"Let that be a lesson to you all. Don't skate after drinking champagne. It leads to blurred tantrums about how you CAN'T SEE! "

"Oh my god now she's a blind zombie wearing her dead mother's clothes. This movie is 900% more crazier than anticipated. "

Yup. SPOILERS: She tries a double axel at a party, falls, hits her head on a table and goes blind. She then spends the next half hour lurking in the attic at her dad's house, wearing her dead mom's clothes and refusing to shower. You should watch this movie for the scene where her ice skating mentor kicks her ass up there, it's totally just like "The Miracle Worker". EVEN EXTRA SPOILERS: The miracle is she learns to skate while quasi-blind and comes back to kick ass at... Sectionals. Not exactly a Rocky Balboa triumph over the best the Soviets has to offer. More like a mild triumph over the the best a portion of America has to offer. But the point is it took pluck, I guess.

They remade this movie in 2010. Oh, yeah, they did. Clearly, Candice and I must watch it to see how they deal with this whole "doing triples is a parlor trick!" issue. And also if the 2010 version is just as crazy, with the attic lurking and the blind ass kicking and the random nipple touching.

So there you have it. If you've ever wondered "Hmmm, should I watch Ice Castles?", the answer is clearly a giant Y-E-S. Just make sure you have strong drinks and a good friend to commentate with, otherwise it's going to be two hours of bafflement. Don't worry. We'll let you know if the 2010 version is just as amazing. We're here for you, my dear four readers. We've got your back.