Monday, May 3, 2010

Ice Make Mayhem

The zamboni is a 10,000 pound blend of tractor, industrial paper cutter, gigantic squirter bottle filled with warm water, and squeegee. Two zambonis can resurface an Olympic sized arena in just under fifteen minutes. Trouble is, the zamboni is so bulky that the driver can't see what might be in front of him, like a skater or ice patching volunteer.

My daughter and her skating partner were in a commercial (it's hilarious, in case you were wondering) for a personal injury law firm last year. The driver is text messaging instead of fully focusing on driving. The female skater crashes head-on into the zamboni.

During the filming, the zamboni was padded for crashing comfort. My daughter claims to have
enjoyed crashing into the zamboni. But padding isn't part of the standard zamboni configuration.

Recently, at the 2010 World Synchronized Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, we saw a real live zamboni "near miss." In order to expedite the ice resurfacing, there were ice patchers filling holes created by the previous group of skaters with crushed ice. The ice patchers shared the ice with two zambonis. All of the sudden, the crowd began to scream without ceasing.

No doubt, the driver filtered out the wails and yelling since the entire arena was filled with screaming skating fans, each cheering for their favorite teams. Clearly, he didn't see that he was ever so slowly pushing a female ice patcher who was wedged in front of the zamboni.
I wish I had pictures!

This was like the horrifying scene the law firm alluded to in their commercial, an aloof driver heading toward what could have been a tragic accident. At first blush, unlikely, but we saw it with our own eyes.

Fortunately, somehow, the woman escaped and left the ice. She must have recovered quickly as she was out on the ice again for the next ice make, but still, I'm guessing she laid awake that night trying to break free from that monster machine over and over in her head.

Debates in the stands focused on who should've been watching out for who on the ice that day. Maybe the driver. Maybe the patcher. Maybe both.

In the end, I would say this: size matters.

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