I grew up in a small town of about 1300 people. Winter was a very fun time for us. We would go cross country skiing, skating, and sledding. Our dads would clean off the snow in the yard and make an outdoor rink. That is where I learned to skate, in my own backyard with the neighbourhood kids.
We had a rink which was available certain times and we did use it, but there was something about skating outdoors, especially on a cool clear night with everyone in the neighbourhood. There was a sense of community, it was fun.
Unfortunately, I haven't been skating in 20 years and finally bought skates two years ago. I haven't had a chance to use them. Not really motivated until recently...
There is a excitement building in Halifax, NS right now. We are hosting the 2011 Canada Winter Games beginning on February 11, 2011. Facilities have been built and preparations have been in the works for a while.
Speed skating is one of the many sports that will be featured here. A large "temporary" skating oval was constructed outside on the Halifax Commons for speed skating. The idea was that the oval would be used for the games and then removed when they were over. Before Christmas, the oval was open to the public and it became extremely popular. People could come, borrow skates and use the oval free of charge. Many people of all ages who haven't skated in years or ever, have been coming to the oval. Whether it is nostalgia, a love of skating, or curiosity it is drawing hundreds of skaters daily. (Most likely more!)
Due to the oval's popularity, people in Halifax have come together and decided that this was something that Halifax needed. The thought of tearing it down after spending so much money, isn't sitting well with a lot of people and hence the "Save the Oval" campaign was born.
A real sense of community has been brought to the area that is exciting. I am excited. I really want the opportunity to go skating on the oval. I also want that opportunity to continue past the games.
I think it is time to take my skates off the hook and what better place to break them in then on something that is so full of community spirit.