Monday, May 12, 2008

Canasty Tango

I'm through with social dancing, at least for now.

In the past, I've been labeled a bad ambassador of ice dancing when I've said how much I dislike social dancing. People think I'm the devil for saying this, that I'm cranky and not willing to promote the sport. Perhaps it's time to admit they are right.

This is not to say that I don't sometimes enjoy social dancing. It's just that I'm very picky about with whom I'd like to dance, and which dances I care to do. Social dancing purists insist that a "real" ice dancer should be able to do any dance with anyone, and this makes you a better partner, blah blah blah.

Hogwash I say, as I sit here in pain with every breath I take. On Saturday I was doing the Canasta Tango -- yes, as in the easiest ice dance of all, all forward edges, no turns -- and took the nastiest fall of my life. And believe me, I've taken some nasty falls. I've gotten a concussion doing the rocker foxtrot. I've fallen out of lifts. I've been kicked, elbowed in the face, and stepped on. Tim has fallen on me and vice versa. One time we fell on a lift and I couldn't walk for several days. I consider myself a pretty tough broad, and I usually get right back up and keep on going. But this was worse, because it happened on the Canasta Tango. I couldn't get back up, and I couldn't keep on going.

The person with whom I was dancing took an edge too deep for his abilities, and started to slide. I heard it, and held my breath because I knew we were going down. At that point people usually let go but he held on, tighter. He's a lot bigger than me so there wasn't much I could do. And down he went, hard to the right, with me falling harder than usual a milli-second later directly on my rib cage, with my arm still across his body so I couldn't even use it to break the fall. For a minute I couldn't breathe as the wind had been knocked out of me.

I have a lot of padding on much of my body; for example, I can fall on my butt 20 times and not feel a thing. But land me on my rib cage and there is no fat there. My ribs are bruised and it hurts whenever I breathe in. My shoulder feels wrenched, and my neck hurts so much I can't turn my head. And I don't even have bragging rights because I fell on the CANASTA TANGO. Not the Cha Cha Congelado or the Golden Waltz ... but a preliminary dance that I can do in my sleep.

Somebody helped me get up, and I sat out the next dance, then solo'd the Viennese Waltz. I just didn't want to admit that I couldn't get through the rest of the session, but I couldn't. I felt sore and dizzy on the Viennese and so after two patterns I got off the ice, put on a couple of ice packs, and took off my skates.

This is the last week before Tim gets back from his vacation and I had been looking forward to working on my own skating with my MITF coach as I have made a lot of progress the past two weeks. I probably won't get that opportunity. I feel beat up and battered and will probably not skate this week. I know this is one of the hazards of social dancing. But in the future I'd rather take my knocks working on our competition dances or a free dance which I KNOW is dangerous, and not social dancing.

I'll leave social dancing to those seeking a "fun and low impact activity where the likelihood of injury is low." As a small person dancing with men who are usually taller and heavier than I am, and to be honest, usually less stable on their skates, I am the one putting myself at risk of injury more than they are. And some people (not all of you of course, and that's why I do enjoy skating with some of you, even when I forget the steps) take too many risks by skating outside of their own ability level - going too fast or skating on lobes that are too deep. It goes both ways of course ... I know there are guys who feel I am dangerous to skate with, and they never ask me to dance. That's OK by me.

It's not always just a case of turning down dubious partners to begin with. Sometimes even a good skater can turn into the partner from hell. As was the case on Saturday, I was skating with someone who is a competent skater, but who in the middle of the dance started taking extremely deep edges, perhaps out of boredom, and as the hapless partner I was "led" into positions I didn't want to be in. I felt him skid on the first pattern but figured "it's only a Canasta Tango, we can get through this."

Lesson learned. In the future I won't put up with risk-taking unless I'm comfortable with the person's abilities. I am no longer willing to be put in dangerous situations outside of my control, and I'll stop mid-dance if I feel I'm in jeopardy. If that sounds one-sided and petty then I apologize for my bad attitude, but you probably wouldn't enjoy dancing with me anyway.


Lisa Hoberg said...

Terri - I am so sorry this happened to you!

I can feel your pain, believe me - and no, social dancing is not necessarily the most fun thing possible!!!

Feel better.

Gordon said...

Eeeep! Sorry you are hurt, I hope you feel better soon!

carl.nelson said...

Will I see you at BAID?

hahahahahahahahaha (sigh!)