Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This ice rink is anything but cold

One of the many things I like about being physically active is that it gives me an opportunity to meet interesting people. I think someone who is active, who regularly gets out of the house and engages with the world, who physically challenges himself or herself, is more likely to be happy and interesting than someone who doesn't.

One place where such active and interesting people can be found is the University of Rhode Island's Bradford R. Boss Arena, which offers a variety of public skating programs on weekdays. Skating at the arena on a weekday morning, as Marge and I were fortunate enough to be able to do last Friday, is nothing like skating there on weekends, when skate-clad tots supported by milk crates present some serious challenges, and teenagers playing tag terrorize almost all of us.

But on weekday mornings, the arena is a frozen oasis occupied by only a handful of people — people like Martha Simoneau, 58, at left, a former roller dancer (I didn't even know there was such a thing!) who said she traded her wheels for blades five years ago after the roller rinks in Rhode Island closed.

Simoneau can usually be found at the Boss Arena a couple of times a week, or "when work permits," meticulously practicing the figure skating routines she learned during two years of lessons.

Or people like Ray Cox, 69, of Hopkinton, at right with yours truly, who said he took up skating nine years ago and now goes to the rink four or five times a week.

With his wide-brimmed hat and equally wide smile, Cox is a focal point as he carves figures at the center of the ice with a boyish enthusiasm.

"Age is just a number," he says. "Just get out there and do it."

Yeah, I like that motto. I might not be out there doing triple axels, but I'm out there doing it, and meeting some fun people along the way.

1 comment: