As a child I was fascinated with ice skating. I couldn’t tell you a time, place or a certain memory that had me jumping up and down with excitement to want to start ice skating other than, all of a sudden, I had an urge. After snapping my elbow while doing my best at attempting gymnastics, my mother wasn’t too thrilled when I told her I wanted to start figure skating. I don’t really blame her now, I mean, I didn’t even know how to stand on a pair of skates, let alone twirl around on ice in a skimpy dress with no padding. She made a deal with me; if I agreed to learn how to skate in hockey skates, bundled up with pads, she would let me start figure skating. I remember thinking of my older cousin, Travis who at the time, played hockey for the Ice Dogs. I decided to accept this offer in hopes that maybe I would be as good as Travis. Learning how to skate wasn’t too difficult, although hockey had its enjoyments, I couldn’t wait to start figure skating. Growing up I wasn’t much of a tomboy and hockey just didn’t do it for me. I learned quickly that figure skating was difficult, much harder than I thought it would be, but it had something that always kept me coming back to the ice rink. All of my friends who played hockey always felt the need to tell me how much cooler hockey was than figure skating but I would have to strongly disagree; figure skating has so much more potential than hockey.
Yes, both are different in ways but both also involve the two most important things; skates and an ice rink. Hockey skates are typically simpler than figure skates. Figure skates are designed for comfort and made using softer leather for more control while skating and, of course, the blades have toe picks on the front which helps with spins and jumps. I have skated in both hockey and figure skates and would say that my figure skates are so comfortable they are heaven-like. I would opt to wear them all day long if it was acceptable. When buying hockey skates and figure skates the owner has an option to get their skates ‘molded’. Getting your skates molded is one of the best inventions ever to a competitive skater. Molding your skates consists of putting your skates in a huge microwave and then slipping your feet into them, tying them tight and keeping them on until they are not warm anymore. This helps shape the skate to your foot, which is very comfortable when breaking in new skates. Figure skates also come with an option to get the custom made. My figure skates are one of a kind and no other person has the same pair of skates as I do because they are made for my feet and my feet only.
Many people associate figure skating with being girly and feminine but I would have to argue that association; figure skating can be hardcore and masculine. It isn’t always about being graceful and ballerina-like, figure skating takes determination and lots of it. I’ve fallen more than once on the ice in a position so odd I couldn’t even begin to explain how I ended up in a knot. From swollen elbows, sprained ankles, broken bones and restless recoveries; figure skating is just as intense as hockey. We figure skaters may not get checked up against the boards or poked at with a hockey stick but we can take a beating, that’s for sure. Skating programs often can be skated with beautiful classical music but can also be skating to spunky music as well. Like I said earlier, it isn’t always about being slow and graceful. I can recall once skating to music fro Chicago. It was a way to express my character in a quirky attitude and still be able to show the judges what they were looking for.
Playing hockey isn’t simple and there are many rules you have to learn and follow, however, figure skaters also have to learn and follow many rules as well. Figure skating is judged based on a point system and is very technical. Point deductions can come from many different things, things like a costume or hair malfunction, fidgeting with any part of your dress/costume and of course failing to execute an element correctly. An element could be considered edge work, jumps, spins and emotion. I personally have gotten a while point deduction for my hair falling out of my bun while skating in competition.
I enjoy attending hockey games with friends and I also enjoy skating in hockey skates, which is why I own a pair of both hockey skates and figure skates. If you know of someone who is wishing to learn how to skate but is not sure whether to learn in hockey or figure skates, I would suggest they start in hockey skates. Learning to skates in hockey skates helped me a lot when learning; the blades of a hockey skates are much simpler than blades of figure skating. Once the basic skating skills are learned in hockey skates I would also encourage trying a pair of figure skates. I’m thankful I learned how to skate in hockey skates because I have more respect for both sports. The second I tried skating in figure skates I fell in love, although I liked playing hockey, nothing will compare to the relationship I have with figure skating.