It was a sight to behold as students gracefully swirled around Bird Arena on Saturday night, flicking the mist of ice into the air as they twisted and turned. However, not everyone can emerge as a legendary skater on the ice, and, in the case of some, a bright red walker was helpful for their waddle near the outsides of the rink.
Wearing their own personal ice skates or ones borrowed from Bird Arena – for a fee of $5 – a mix of Ohio University students attended Midnight Meltdown, an event held by Bobcats Well-Being and Campus Recreation after the Bobcats finish playing some of their home games during the season.
Drew Mulvaney, a freshman studying computer science, and Andrew Clabaugh, a freshman studying electrical engineering, both said they attended the recreational skating, which is from 10 p.m. to midnight, for a good time and to learn how to skate.
Clabaugh has been out skating twice at Midnight Meltdown, while the other day was Mulvaney’s first time at the event. Along the way, the two met people and learned more than just the skill of skating.
“I’ve definitely made friends,” Mulvaney said. “I met (Clabaugh) through a couple classes and we’re out here now.”
Despite Mulvaney being new to skating, Clabaugh said his friend is making efficient progress.
“I’d say everybody, they get their own thing out of it,” Clabaugh said. “This is his first time (and) he picked it up really well. He’s a quick learner.”
Also present at Midnight Meltdown were more experienced skaters. Christian Wilkinson, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, grew up playing hockey and is now a member service assistant at Bird Arena, working the front desk and at the doors during hockey games.
“I’m happy that a lot of people came out,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting this much but it's great to see.”
For Midnight Meltdown, Wilkinson had a choice over how he wanted to contribute to the behind the scenes of the event as an employee.
“We have the option of being at the front desk or coming out and skating with everybody,” Wilkinson said. “So I was like, ‘Why not? I’ll come out and skate.’ I’m a people person. I love skating during my job.”
The last Midnight Meltdown Saturday for the 2022-2023 hockey season is Feb. 4 after Ohio plays Minot State.
Before ice skating was done recreationally and for sport, it was needed for a specific purpose. For centuries skating on ice was a form of transportation for people during the winter, according to Smithsonian Magazine. It was during the Bronze Age that the first skates were built out of animal shin bones in eastern Europe and Russia for traveling in slippery conditions.
Indeed, people have been getting many different uses out of skating throughout history, especially today, but now blades are made out of a nice tempered carbon steel. It’s also a form of entertainment in the sense of sport and watching friends fall down. As Mulvaney put it, falling down while ice skating at least means the effort is there.
“If you don’t have a wet a--, you’re doing it wrong,” he said.