Greetings from Chavez Pond.
It's a little unsettling what they've done to the old ball yard — iced it over, cleavered the back end off the pitching mound, painted the NHL logo in center field. Feels like some sort of Canadian coup.
There's a stage now over home plate, and a regulation rink sits in the middle of it all like a big frosty keg, chemicals coursing through its arteries.
Hell hath not yet frozen over, but Blue Heaven sure has.
On this warmest of winters, Chavez Pond really ought to be filled with beer. On Saturday, at least the fans will be.
Took a spin around the rink the other night, in the first test of this new ice. I put on my old Bauer hockey skates, dormant since high school, and a little puff of dust rose when I tugged the laces. I love a metaphor you can actually inhale.
How's the ice? Mostly good, a little slippery for my taste, but consistent and not too slurry.
The rink did soften up toward the end of my 45-minute stint. I attribute that to my crushing style of skating, an intense pounding akin to a Katy Perry song. Light on my feet? No.
In fact, cross a Zamboni with a snow blower with an orangutan, and aside from the oddest threesome outside of Paris, you also have a sense of my robust skating style.
I move across the ice like a storm front dropping down from Duluth, occasionally glancing off the boards in a re-creation of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. A little manic, a little splashy, a little whoa ... Whoa ... WHOOOOOOA!
At least the boards will stand up to insanely heavy impact. Think I blew an eardrum.
"Look, I know I'm technically solid," I tell a bunch of kids, "but do you see anything I can improve on?"
"Everything," pipes up Rob Blake's son.
"Bend your knees," suggests another.
That seemed a little petty, considering the majesty that I bring to the rink. Like telling Rembrandt that maybe if he just held the brush a bit tighter....
Once the legs warmed a little, I attempted a double Kerrigan ("Why me? Why me?"), then a triple salchow (with cheese, hold the pickles).
"Salchow" has always been one of skating's greatest terms. To this day, I'm still not even sure what one is. A type of cattle, probably. As in, "Waiter, how's the salchow this evening? Grass-fed? Does it come with a potato?"
Everything should come with a potato.
Anyway, I'm left with the sense that hockey may not be enough for Dodger Stadium, that they should hold the entire Winter Olympics here — the luge, the biathlon, Bob Costas. Evidently, a sense of corruption attracts the IOC, and we have our share of that in L.A. In fact, I'll put our city's corruption up against anyone's any day.
So that's my take on L.A.'s newest ice rink. I think you'll like it Saturday night, whether you're playing or merely watching.