A cool way to have fun

December 19, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Teresa Deckert likes the feeling of gliding when she's ice skating.

"You feel free out on the ice," Deckert says. "It's like being in your own little world."

Deckert, 39, is not the only skater to enjoy a "little world" of her own at Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex on Security Boulevard.

"The gliding makes you feel weightless," says Skating Director Jennifer Kaszubski.

There are figure skaters, ice dancers, hockey players. There are little kids - lessons are available to anyone whose feet can fit in the skates - and there are adults who start to skate as adults.

Deckert and her husband Jonathan are among them, both beginning in 1997.

Although he has dance skates in the basement, hockey is the world Jonathan Deckert occupies on ice. He plays ice hockey and is a USA Hockey referee.


"It's a lot of fun," the 34-year-old says.

"Fun" seems to be the common element among all the individual skating worlds.

Smiles abound - even on the faces of some who look like novices shuffling along, barely lifting their feet, leaning forward as if to be closer to the cold surface to which they will inevitably fall.

Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex seems to be a place where skaters of a range of abilities can have a really cool time. The rink is billed as "The Coolest Family Place in Hagerstown," and that's not an exaggeration in a literal sense. Ice temperature ranges from 18 to 22 degrees, and the temperature in the rink ranges from 35 to 45 degrees.

"Once you start skating, your body warms up," says Carl Langford, general manager.

Scott Powell warms up quickly, skating in a short-sleeved T-shirt. The 16-year-old South Hagerstown High School junior has been ice skating for about three years. "It just looked like fun," he says.

He's learned that it's a good way to relieve stress. He's also learned to skate - well enough to be featured in the Saturday, Dec. 20, Holiday Ice Show.

Scott will perform solo to "Carol of the Bells." He likes spinning. "It makes your head feel funky," he laughs.

Scott also will skate a pairs routine with Brittony Miller, 13, an eighth-grade student at Shalom Christian Academy in Chambersburg, Pa.

Brittony started skating about three years ago and says she likes the challenge of having to constantly practice.

Pam and Bob Wagner don't skate, but their daughter, Kristi, does. Pam Wagner says she's willing to drive to the Hagerstown rink from Smithsburg for Kristi's twice-a-week lessons because her daughter loves skating.

"It's her life," Pam Wagner says.

The coaches are supportive and encouraging - a "great group of people to work with," she says.

The family first came to take a look at the rink about a year ago. Kristi, who loved to dance, started skating lessons last February. She has qualified for national competition, and she'll perform a solo in the holiday ice show.

"It's fun being out there," Kristi says.

There's that word again.

Nine-year-old Baleigh Neill will solo to "Sleigh Ride" in the holiday show. "I knew it would be for me," she says about the first time she stepped on the ice two years ago. Her grandfather or grandmother don't mind the twice-a-week drive to the rink from Martinsburg, W.Va.

"She enjoys it so much, it's worth it," says Rodney Shepherd, Baleigh's grandfather.

Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex has Learn to Skate classes for all ages and abilities. There is hockey for kids, there is hockey for adults, hockey for "old timers."

There is ice, there is exercise, there is fun.

Give it a whirl.

If you go:

Holiday Ice Show

Saturday, Dec. 21, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex

580 Security Road


Tickets, available at the door, cost $4 for adults, $2 for seniors and students, and free for ages 4 and younger. Group rates are available.

Public Skating

Monday to Fridays, noon to 12:50 p.m.

Daily, 2 to 3:50 p.m.

Thursdays, 7 to 8:50 p.m.

Fridays, 7:30 to 9:50 p.m.

Saturdays, 7 to 9:50 p.m.

Cost ranges from $1.50 to $6 per session, plus $2 skate rental.

For information, call 301-766-9122, or go to on the Web.

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