On December 10, there was no snow on the ground, but my friends and I were deckin’ the halls anyway. With finals melting away like snowflakes, it was time to make a sweep of all the holiday offerings we could cram into one afternoon. On the list of potential items were: visiting Macy’s (the Dickens Christmas Village, the light show, the moving window displays), strolling through Love Park’s German Christmas Village, and taking a spin around the Rothman Ice Rink–that is, the rink at Dilworth Park in Center City. Dilworth was first on the list, so we headed over at noon when the metaphorical doors opened. Let me take a moment to brag.
Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much when I heard that the city had launched Rothman last year. Don’t get me wrong; I was excited that Dilworth Park would finally open, replacing the the dirty, slightly sketchy plaza that had long detracted from the beauty of the City Hall building. A seasonal ice rink, however, seemed a little ambitious for an urban environment, especially right across the street from several train and bus stops. I was expecting chaos, grit, grumpy employees, and overpriced admission, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the whole experience went down. The rink isn’t huge, and it could be bigger considering all the space available, but I consider this a plus; less space means less capacity for crowding. There are booths nearby selling local artisan wares similar to those found at the Village (not exclusively Christmas-themed, of course), as well as a few snack places. Other thematic elements include the vintage-looking white lights strung across the rink and a selection of music that makes the playlist at South Philly’s River Rink seem kinda stale. The employee patrolling the rink in the early afternoon was so friendly that he even took a few photos when he saw our struggling attempts at a group selfie. And, on top of that, the admissions pricing is reasonable. If you bring your own skates you only pay $5, while renting skates is an extra $9. Renting a locker to keep your goods secure, since you can’t bring bags or backpacks out on the ice, is only an extra $4. And the best part? Once you’ve paid your fee, you can come back till the rink closes at 9:00 pm.
So anyway, skating turned into the highlight of our day. When I got back to my dorm I found myself mediating on real figure skating and how much I always like watching it on TV. That’s where the “Word” label for this post comes in. As I was fooling around online, I discovered that ice skating moves have more complex logic and history behind their names than I would have guessed. Moreover, there’s actually quite a lot of ice skating lingo. It was fun to scroll through this Glossary of Terms published by the U.S. Figuring Skating Organization, which covers such moves as Mohawk, Death Spiral, and Envelope System with an air of wit. You should check it out. Another solid read is a post from the OxfordWords blog. It’s not as entertaining, but it also relays some interesting tidbits of history and will better help you understand the system behind the blade. While you may never get so good at skating that you’ll need to use these terms in conversation with a buddy (and I certainly won’t), at least you can talk intelligently about the Olympics!