recreational ice skating

IMG_0673ISI member rink Channel Islands Ice Center closed its door on April 2. Sixteen-year-old Cianna Calia wrote the following moving tribute to the Oxnard, California rink she has called her “second home” since she first began skating there 10 years ago. The skating and hockey community is hoping to relocate somewhere else.

cianna Calia

by Cianna Calia

Ice Skating is so much more than just a sport. I see it as a culture. The majority of the population does not know what a Lutz is, is not able to tell the difference between a counter and a rocker, and probably can’t even spell “salchow.” Only people who have been a part of the ice skating culture can truly understand it. This culture is made up of shows, competitions, costumes, lessons, tests, words, jumps, spins, footwork, music, and dedication. The culture is shaped not only by the actions of famous skaters who perform in the Olympics, but also by the daily interactions between skaters and coaches everywhere.


Within the broader culture of our sport, the ice skating community here in Oxnard has its own collective memory. The skaters and coaches here remember the old harness that always used to get twisted and tangled. We know the familiar sight of inexperienced, young skaters leaning on orange buckets to stay upright on the ice. The skating students here have all heard the same voices telling us to keep our arms and heads up and to point our toes. We remember the many beautiful performances we have seen and done in Christmas shows and spring shows. Most importantly, we will always remember the wonderful experiences we have shared with one another over the years.


I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of this culture and community. Unlike so many people, I know what if feels like to land a double-toe loop or do a layback spin. I started taking skating school classes here close to 10 years ago. At the time, I was just another little bundle of sweaters who could barely stand upright on the ice. One of my earliest memories of skating is that of falling down and being picked up by my coach as she comforted me and told me not to cry. I do not think that I am particularly flexible or athletic, and I have never seen myself as an especially talented skater. However, I have seen the ice skating culture from the inside, and it has become a part of who I am. I am lucky enough to know what it feels like to fall down on the ice, get back up and keep trying.

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3 replies to this post
  1. Thank you for including this article in your magazine. I am an adult skater. I started skating when I was 46 years old. I have skated at this rink since the year it opened. I have competed in ISI and USFS competitions for most of those years.

    Our rink was owned by two non-profit companies, the Channel Islands Figure Skating Club and the Riptide Hockey Club. Over the past several years our holiday shows raised over $100,000 for disadvantaged children in our county. I think most skaters and hockey players at our rink would agree, we are very much like an extended family.

    It was a sad day indeed when we performed our recital together for the last time. Over the last several months the young people at the rink decided to do what they could to help find a new home for our rink. They formed a group of figure skaters and hockey players. Their group is called the ‘Rink Revolution’. I admire these kids so much. Their final program for the recital was unbelievably good. They choreographed it themselves. Perhaps you would be interested in doing a follow up article on the Rink Revolution kids? If you are, please let me know. I will contact them.

    Thank you, ISI staff, for your continued support to skaters worldwide. You run a first rate operation.

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