An Icy Date Warmed by Romance: Date the Hoofbeat
By Christina Yoon
I anxiously glanced at my phone homescreen for the hundredth time. The scheduled time for our date was 2:30 PM and I had timed it to correspond perfectly with my last college interview. Unfortunately, my interview had started and ended late, causing a huge fluke in my scheduling. In hopes that I could still make it in time, I had not texted my date, Jonathan Newhall, Adv 004, that I would be late. Jonathan Newhall, or as his friends know him, Jack, is a junior at Northside College Prep and is known for his lighthearted, sarcastic humor and excellent basketball skills.
However, as 2:30 PM loomed inevitably closer, I knew I had no choice but to text him that I would be late. Fortunately for me, he responded with a cheerful, “That is perfect because I will be late too lol,” putting my heart at ease. In a couple of minutes, I arrived at the ice skating rink at Warren Park, the perfect spot for a romantic, low-budget date. Warren Park is located in West Ridge and offers free access to their rink, although rentals skates cost $7. The snow had melted from rain showers from the previous night, leaving a crisp green background. The afternoon sunlight filtered in through the trees and provided bits of warmth through the harsh wind.
As I approached the rental hut, Newhall exited from the building, teetering in his skates. After exchanging quick hellos, we entered the hut so I could rent my skates. As we sat down to tighten our skates, Newhall set the “romantic” mood by surprising me with three Hershey kisses he had “stolen from a Super Bowl party.” With that mindset, we wobbled out of the hut together and hit the ice. “I haven’t skated in like two years,” said Newhall as he stepped shakily onto the rink. Although struggling at first, I quickly caught wind and began to skate a little faster. Despite his athletic abilities on the court, Newhall struggled more than I did, lurching back and forth in an attempt to catch his balance. As I laughed at his debacle, Newhall blamed his clumsiness on the size of skates. “It’s not fair! They only had skates up to size 12,” said Newhall. My size-6 skates looked like nubs next to his huge feet.
Our conversation began about school but quickly spiralled elsewhere. Newhall and I had known each other previously from our Calculus class and our first topic of conversation was the newest change to the Calculus curriculum. As I complained about the new homework quizzes, Newhall continued to tease the small mistakes I had made in the latest quiz, a running joke that lasted until the end of the date. We also talked about colleges, a topic that Newhall had just begun to become familiar with, as he had taken the ACT just prior to the date. As a rower, Newhall talked about his aspirations of getting into schools that provided a welcoming academic environment and a top-tier rowing program. As I glided around the rink and Newhall stumbled his way around, we got to know more about each other than we had ever had in our Calculus classes.
Towards the end of the date, Newhall and I decided to compete in a race. We started small, doing a quick competition to see who could skate half of the rink the fastest. After seeing Newhall clomp around on the rink, I quickly agreed. Unfortunately, I had underestimated him extensively and he ended up winning, stomping to the finish line. Refusing to let it end like that, I proposed to Newhall that we should race the full stretch of the rink. We both started out strong and I did not look back once until I heard a loud clunk behind me. I turned around and saw Newhall wiped out on the rink, limbs splayed in every which direction. Laughing, he quickly got up and challenged me to race back again to the rink exit (which I won again).
It was my pleasure to go on an afternoon date with Newhall, and through it we were able to come closer as friends. I would recommend ice skating at Warren Park to couples, friends, and family, as it gives everyone a simple and cost-efficient way of getting to know someone better. However, fair warning: be prepared to wipe out once or twice.