When I was a kid we used to go skating with the school. It was a huge deal. (We didn’t get out much.) We would drape our skates over our shoulders, the pointy blades bouncing around, and walk over to the Gretzky Center – except it wasn’t called that then, because Wayne Gretzky was just a kid skating on his dad’s backyard rink at the time. I don’t remember what it was called. Anyhow, we would all lace up our skates and stagger around the ice, clinging to the boards. Well, some of us would….some of the others could actually skate.
Did we wear helmets? No. Elbow pads? No. Knee pads? No. Did we fall down? Yes. Did we get hurt? Not that I ever remember.
And skates. Every single pair of skates I owned was second hand. We would go to College Skate Exchange and buy whatever we could find that would fit – and that cost the least. I recall my mother having snit fits about paying $6 for a pair of skates!
Fast forward to today. Sean’s class is going skating three times this year. They will be bused over to the Civic Center, where they will lace up their skates and stagger around the ice, clinging to the boards. Some things don’t change. But some things do. These kids will have their deadly skate blades covered by skate guards, and just in case one might get lost, the skates must be carried to school in a bag which cannot be cut by those wicked blades. And they must wear helmets to protect their precious heads. In past years, bicycle helmets have been deemed satisfactory protection, and since my kids have always had bike helmets, we were laughing.
Well, this year, the school board in their paranoia about injury and litigation has proclaimed that only CSA approved helmets will be permitted. As in, hockey helmets. WTF? I’ve never bought a hockey helmet in my life!
So off we went to the store. Now, here’s a funny thing. If someone came to me and said, hey, do you happen to have an old pair of Sean’s skates that my son could borrow for a while, I would say, sure, here, take them, no, I don’t want them back. But will I go to anyone and ask the same question? No. Why? I don’t know. I just won’t.
So we went to College Skate Exchange in hopes of spending less than a fortune. My darling son has wide feet, so it’s not easy to find skates for him. We hit it lucky and got a pair that fits perfectly for ‘only’ $55. Then we talked helmets. He has a large head, and that makes finding a good fit in a helmet more difficult. You’re not surprised, are you. They had one helmet that would fit. One. To the tune of $199. Gulp. Luckily, this is a family business, and as such they are a bit more flexible. We didn’t need the face mask, and they are apparently able to sell face masks separately, so they took that off. She managed to give us a deal on the helmet at $129. Smaller gulp.
So…after tax, this school skating program cost $203. For three skating sessions. Plus $4.50 for the bus rides….I suspect the skating program is going to quietly vanish off the school curriculum. It already has at some schools. And I think that’s sad.