Skaters to the Left

A Guide to Ice-skating at Rockefeller Center

The temperature has finally dipped to acceptable ice-skating levels (anything above 45 just feels wrong), Christmas music is blasting from at least one shop on each block, and that giant-ass tree at 30 Rock has finally been lit. Being filled with the holiday spirit, you naturally want to shell out a hojillion dollars to skate at Rockefeller Center’s rink. Before you do, here’s a guide to the types of people you will encounter on the ice:

1. The Asshole Figure Skater
Why this guy chooses this particular rink and not, say, anywhere else in the known universe is a mystery. He usually has his iPod on and either works on his tricks in the center of the rink or skates backwards around confused families and generally causes mayhem, because God forbid he interrupt his very serious training because some little nipper has faceplanted in front of him.

Annoyance Factor: 6

2. The SuperCouple
Despite the fact that skating while holding hands doesn’t actually provide any stability, these people will never uncouple, even when his partner accidentally pulls him down with her and creates a giant clusterfuck. They’ll pick themselves up and continue inching around the rink like the saddest game of Red Rover ever played, and then stop to make out for a few minutes. Yes, do please rub it in, guys.

Annoyance Factor: 4

3. The Littlest BAMF
In theory, you should hate this child. He zips around in his tiny hockey skates without a care in the world, throwing caution to the wind: backwards, forwards, sudden stops; the whole shebang. But you can’t hate him, because he is a total badass. Even when he wipes out, he immediately hops back up and continues zipping around, not unlike an electron. Plus, he’s usually wearing some sort of adorable hat and mittens.

Annoyance Factor: 0

4. The High School Kids From Arkansas
You’ll know them by their letterman jackets and school hoodies. They’ve either never been skating or they’ve been skating their entire lives. The latter do everything in their power to coax the former off the handrail so they can laugh at the former’s spectacular pratfalls. At any rate, they’re usually more interested in stopping to take a frillion pictures than making their way around the rink. Each one has her own persnickity camera that takes five minutes to explain, and each one wants multiple group shots. Be prepared to spend at least fifteen minutes of your life helping these people collect memories if you fall victim to their Picture Ponzi Scheme.

Annoyance factor: 7

5. The Worst. Parents. Ever.
It must be tough to learn your child has no athletic gifts whatsoever. Being extraordinary clumsy myself (on land), I can sympathize. However, you might want to re-think the whole “skating” thing when you see your poor kid can’t move a foot without taking a nasty spill. All this does is create a clusterfuck even greater than the SuperCouple’s, because now you have both parents (usually just as inept as their progeny), the kid, the kid’s siblings, and the Ice Lifeguards all creating a potentially epic pileup every two feet. Furthermore: For the love of God, teach your kids to ball their fists when they fall. Nothing dampens the holiday spirit like an eight-year-old’s severed fingers.

Annoyance Factor: 8

There are other types I’ve missed, I’m sure, but this should serve as a good starting knowledge base.

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