The Chicago winter has finally arrived. Cold temperatures, snow, ice—all the things people love about winter. It seems as though winter is starting later and later every year, and for people like me, it’s a bad thing.
I have loved winter ever since I was young. The cold never bothered me and I always had more fun during the winter than any other season. Over the last few years, I could be caught playing hockey outside on a frozen pond. I would even play on days that were considered the coldest of the winter. Some days had a wind chill that would put the temperature in the negatives. People called me crazy and they were absolutely right. Only mad men play hockey when it’s that cold out.
My love of the cold and hockey is what drove me to work at an ice rink. I currently work at two different ice rinks: one indoors, the other outdoors. It wasn’t always my dream to work at an ice rink. I got the job by chance and it’s one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done.
Although working at an ice rink as a Zamboni driver looks easy, there’s a lot more to it than one would think. There are things that have to be learned and, in some cases, weather conditions that need to be taken into account. Zamboni drivers are a different breed of people. We work early mornings and late nights, we work in terrible weather conditions, and best of all, our work is its own form of art.
Ever since I started, I never saw Zamboni driving as a job. Going out there on a car-sized machine and making the perfect sheet of ice is like painting a million dollar picture. It brings a certain type a satisfaction that I’ve never felt before. I do feel a little sad when my perfect ice gets skated on, but that brief sadness disappears when I see and hear kids having the time of their life.
I enjoy the “job” I have very much. I get to be a unique version of an artist and I also get to help make priceless memories for kids and adults every day. My love of the cold and hockey brought me to where I am today and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’ve also met some truly amazing people, a few of which are current Blackhawks’ players as well as one of the girls that played for Team USA in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
I have many priceless memories of my own, but I really enjoy making priceless memories for other people. They might not remember me years down the road, but they will remember the day and to me that’s what it’s all about.