UI students hit the ice

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Kevin Marshall

Winter in the Midwest is something special. For only a few short months, depending on the snowfall, people have the chance to make snowmen, build a snow fort and go sledding. Although these activities are fun, they do not require a significant amount of skill to be successful.

The same cannot be said for ice-skating.

According to Liara Leftridge, senior in LAS and an instructor for Skating Activities, a Kinesiology class offered by the University, ice-skating to the average student is quite difficult.

“There are a good number of them that can’t,” Leftridge said. “We have people that can’t skate at all or that can skate but not as good as others.”

Leftridge believes it is not for a lack of trying, though.

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    “It’s challenging (to teach the students),” she said. “But they are really willing to learn. They enjoy it, and they are more open to doing stuff.”

    John Pezza, first-time skater and senior in LAS, is one of the students who admitted to not seeing the difficulty that lay ahead.

    “It was a little harder than I expected,” Pezza said.

    Leftridge advocates that each student can learn to skate no matter one’s skill because the class fits the necessary needs of each student.

    “We teach basic skating skills ranging from just stroking across the ice and a couple gliding maneuvers to skating backwards,” she said. “And a couple of jumps and spins, too.”

    The class is divided into four groups: Group one is for the students who have never skated before, groups two and three are for skaters with some experience and group four for those who have skill, said Leftridge.

    “Essentially, it is the one main instructor who’s the head and there is three other assistants,” she said. “The main instructor teaches the classes whatever the day’s move is, and then the group instructors go ahead and reinforce it afterwards.”

    Tricia Bonsu, another first-time skater and junior in AHS, is a big fan of the class.

    “It was fun,” Bonsu said. “I was kind of scared of falling at first, but it was fine. They help us out a lot.”

    Leftridge said that the class is open to anyone, as long as they are willing to participate.

    “Sixty percent of the class is graded on participation,” Leftridge said. “We also have three skills tests where there is four moves and it’s on a scale of one to 10. Most people get like nine or 10. And then there is a written final at the end.”

    Even the good skaters can take part in the class, says Leftridge.

    “There are others that are freestyle skaters that come, and you can teach a couple more things,” Leftridge said. “But we still focus on everyone learning the same thing.”

    The eight-week class has shown significant improvements amongst its students.

    “When I first came into this class, I didn’t know how to skate that well,” Bonsu said. “But now I can actually skate backwards and everything so I guess I did progress.”

    Pezza also is still working on his skating but said he hopes to one day replicate the performance of Will Ferrell in the film “Blades of Glory.”

    “I don’t feel like him yet,” Pezza said. “But I’m working on it.”

    PUBLIC SKATE: There is Noon Skate Monday through Friday, 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and there are Wednesday and Friday night skates from 7-9 p.m., if there is not a hockey game. Open skate is also open Saturday and Sunday from 1:30-4 p.m. For students, admission is free if you have your iCard. skate rental costs $1.