II. FIRST STROKES ON THE ICE

Now that you are properly shod and clothed for the ice, the next step is on the ice itself. But wait—there is one more set of instructions before you stroke off on that gleaming surface. There is a right way and a wrong way of lacing up your boots, so pause an extra moment on the sidelines and make sure that yours are done up right. Many a first-time skater has come off the ice after a few minutes complaining of cramps in his legs or feet merely because he didn't know that there was a special art in boot lacing for comfort.

The lace should be left fairly loose in the first few eyelets from the toe almost to the instep bone (remember the "wiggle-toe" principle), but from the instep bone across the ankle, as far as the first or second eyelet above the anklebone, you should pull the laces just as tight as you can (Illus. 2). Now tie a surgeon's knot—that is, hold one lacing and wrap the other one twice around it, pulling the ends tight. From this point to the top of the boot make your lacings quite loose.

The surgeon's knot will hold your ankle laces tight, but if you continue them tight up your calf, you will have cramped muscles without fail. I test my own lacing by inserting two fingers inside the top of the boot; then I know I shall be free to bend deeply and exercise hard without fear of cramping. From the surgeon's knot to the boot top you should have the labor-saving device of eyelet hooks; and if your boots don't have them, any cobbler will attach them for a small sum. The days of interminable lacing plus cold blue fingers at the pond's edge are luckily over.


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