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06-04-2010, 07:30 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United States
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Down in the Tampa Bay area is this rink my brother had a few games at during his mite-peewee days that is near the St. Petersburg airport just off the Howard-Franklin called Sunblades.

I swear, this place was at one time the dungeon in a Spanish fort that hasn't been refurbished since the 16th century. The lighting is like that of an old bowling alley, lit in some spots entirely by neon beer signs; it's so dark in there that the ice never has anything brighter than a dull brown sheen to it, adding to the sheer creepiness of the place. The zamboni has this creepy old driver who yells at kids who are anxious to get out onto the ice, but his machine actually cleans about 10% of the ice it covers, and the ice has a surface that looks like that of a glacier and likely ruins your blades pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure the roof has asbestos insulation which is slowly snowing down during the course of the game, and it sags in places; the fact that it hasn't collapsed is somewhat of a miracle.

If you want to film a documentary on the impact of global warming, the evidence at this place is overwhelming. While you approach the zamboni door on the outside of the rink, the ice becomes slush, and there is a pond in the far corner. Part of the reason may be that they park the zamboni outside, so plenty of that hot humid Florida air is seeping in all of the time. An interesting consequence is the mistiness that rivals the London Fog. The locker rooms themselves remind me of a mausoleum, the one lightbulb hanging from the ceiling didn't completely scare off the creeping shadows of that place, which are always lurking, ready to pounce, when that light is turned off, those rooms are blacker than a coalmine.

Oh, and we were there in March.

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