You may have heard this before: that skating is kind of like a controlled fall. There’s some very long and involved explanation for this that Discovery Jones could give you about the science behind the controlled fall that is your basic skating cadence. Something-something point of rotation, something-something kinetic energy, something-something acceleration, gravity something-something. Anyway, it’s pretty interesting and next time Discovery is at one of your house parties, you should ask him about it.
If you’re not inclined to believe this, you should come watch one of The Captain’s hockey games. There is a young lad on his team whose skating style would convince you. He’s a very good player, and it’s wonderful to watch him skate; he puts his head down and just goes. But it’s always kind of amazing that he stays on his feet. It’s as if this kid and gravity met each other once at a beach party, where there was an unfortunate incident with sand and ice cream sandwiches, and now their relationship can be described as tenuous as best and adversarial the rest of the time.
In fact, if you’re a science guy, you should watch hockey. There’re all kinds of interesting things going on, from reduced coefficients of friction depending on how fast you skate and how sharp your blades are, to fluid dynamics (when you skate, or even when the puck travels across the ice, there is a thin layer of water doing carazzzy things down there), to particle motion, and light/wave motion (particularly with the angles of incidence and angles of refraction and the way sound waves act in different parts of the arena). On top of that, you have aerodynamics, thermodynamics, um, and aromadynamics.
Add to that the whole field of the psychology of comptetition and sport, and you could spend the whole day just geeking out at the rink.
Or, you could just sit in the stands with some very cool people and holler random encouragements at the amazing kids on the ice who make the NHL look like the entertainment equivalent of judge shows (to anyone but me).