While teaching an edge class in Shakopee, Minnesota at Go4Gold recently, I was enjoying the music and energy in the building from the skaters and coaches. While racing into a right forward inside counter my blade suddenly felt like I either twisted or broke my ankle once again. No, no, I thought to myself until I stopped and reached down. I realized my boot had split in the back by my Achilles tendon.
We have all experienced that awareness in our skating when we think our boots are starting to break down and that we should order new boots. Of course, we all loathe the idea of breaking in new boots. And I invariably, either consciously or unconsciously, fail to do what I have preached to all my skaters over the years; and that is not to wait until boots are completely shot before ordering new ones.
During this recent ten-day seminar whirlwind of on-ice classes, off-ice classes, video presentations, and rapp sessions for the parents, I now had to stop and find a Home Depot to buy duct tape just to survive this inexcusable self-inflicted wound.
The Minnesota seminar was just the first leg of my tour. I only had a day and a half back home to wash clothes unpack and repack so I could fly off to Sioux Falls for a Dream Team Seminar. By the time I arrived in Sioux Falls my other boot split in the back as well. Ahhhh, good times, said no one ever!
Most of us have a skate tech and a boot company we can call on to save us from ourselves. And Jackson Ultima Skates has been my go-to for many years. What I like about Jackson boots is the fit and the feel. The fact that I can wear them for two to three hours the first day and then eight hours the next day with no pain is incredible. I usually change my boots every year or so. This time I waited almost two years, which we all know is way too long! “Have no fear, Phillip,” said Kevin Wu, Jackson’s West Coast rep.
Kevin saved the day with new boots, mounting them, and sharpening my Jackson blades yesterday. I can’t thank him enough!
The best part of these new boots is that I can demonstrate even senior moves to my skaters right away instead of trying to teach these skills through mere explanation. As a choreographer, being able to demonstrate movement with secure stability produces a better product for the skater. I should never have let this problem happen.
So skaters, please don’t do what I did. Rather, please do as I say! Make the move to order new boots when you first realize your skates may be starting to break down. Trust me, for the short time they feel like your beloved bedroom slippers they can fool you and overnight turn into torture devices.
The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.