Mine and the boy’s skates, ready for a test drive at the local outdoor rink in perfect winter weather.
First, the good news.
Well, it doesn’t start well. I have plantar fasciitis and it hurts a lot. When I developed this, quite a few things I love got put on the sidelines because of the pain. Skiing, skating, and hiking all got pretty difficult, for example. I would have to take my ski boots off for ten minutes after one run – not enjoyable.
Skating is a lot of fun and I’ve always prided myself on being a pretty good skater. I could never score goals, but I was fast. With the deterioration of my feet, it became too painful. We’re talking severe pain within a couple of minutes of lacing up, sometimes before I even hit the ice. I was pretty sad about it, especially since before all of this foot nonsense I’d just gotten some new CCM 652 Tacks.
Dad is all ready to go. Laced up in new skates, hoping for the best out of his feet.
When I was much younger, I had a pair of Sport Tacks and I loved them. I both wore them out and outgrew them, but they remain to this day the favorite of all the skates I have owned. I’ve been through a few other pairs, since, including a pair so cheap the entire blade assembly cracked right off the left skate when I stopped hard and tried to accelerate out of a corner during a pond hockey session (call it shopper’s lesson learned – you get what you pay for). I was thrilled with my new Tacks, and was super happy to be skating that model again.
That was probably five or more years ago. I had a few sessions on them, but my feet hurt steadily more and more each time I skated. I thought it was the skates. What had happened to my favored name in skates?! In the end, lacing up yielded up to two days of lingering pain after under ten minutes on the ice. It also turned out to not be the skates (entirely!), it had a lot to do with my feet. As a result, though, I haven’t been on the ice effectively in five years I mentioned.
Graham has skates, has hockey helmet, and is ready to go. Too bad I forgot a hockey stick.
Now Graham, at age 4, wants to learn to skate. I need back on the ice. Better than that, I want back on the ice. I’ve got orthotics now, and they have been making a positive difference to my feet for two and a half years. I tried the old skates again – this time with orthotics – a few days ago now, and oh no way.
So I went shopping.
I explained my issues to the sales guys at Sport Chek, and we went to work. We said no to the CCM stuff right away, and started trying some Bauer Vapor models. Supposedly wider, but oh no way. Pinched my feet just the same as my old Tacks. We also needed to get a screwdriver to pry my orthotics out of there, post-fit-fail. We then tried some Rbk stuff as they are wider and more comfortable, and oh no way. The boots are okay, but the ankle support dug straight into my ankles, positioned too low for me. My mutant legs were not doing me any favors.
Ugh, what to do?
My new skates on the wall the day after I bought them, at twice the price I paid for them. A smug skater is me!
Then another guy came over and didn’t even blink. He went straight for the Bauer Supreme. “These skates,” he said. He brought out the One.9 model, the top end, in width EE. (I didn’t know you could get different widths!)Yeah right, $500. But I put it on and son of a gun… dynamite; a brilliant fit. One.7 and one.6 would have been better price points, but they didn’t have my size. I was about to call it quits when the dude pulled the demo one.8 off the wall to check the size and … size 8, width EE. Second from top of the line… 50% off. Tried it, fit it, bought it.
I left them overnight for sharpening, and came back the next day for heat molding. I looked on the wall and saw… sale over. I squeaked in with an awesome buy on some fantastic skates. I felt so smug.
Graham and I went for a test drive yesterday after the heat molding session, and do you think it was a success? Judge from the attached pictures. There was a lot of “knee hockey” going on, and another four year-old we met with his mom at the rink seemed to get interesting ideas about what exactly as supposed to be in the net, but hey, it’s a start.
Skating session in perfect winter weather. Hard to tell in the photo, but that’s a mountain view skating session on the right side of the horizon.
Curling vs. Hockey? Who knows. Graham and his new friend square off in an epic knees-only (by necessity) game of hockey.
I’m really not sure who scored, here. But hey, they were having fun, so who’s counting?
Next job to fix, ski boots. I’ll ski the boots I have until the apocalypse because they were my dad’s, so I’ll spend a lot of time in a ski shop to fix those up. I will make those ones work!
Second, the bad news. My back has been sketchy for a month and a half or so, and my minor break in skating session yesterday just put it right out. Moving now sucks, in general.
Oh well, one thing at a time.