Christmas in July

The Inliner’s Night Before Christmas:

T’was the night before a race, and all through the hotel

not a skater was stirring, not even Mel

The bearings were oiled and packed with care,

In hopes that wet conditions were sure to be rare;

The skaters were nestled all snug in their beds;

while visions of podiums danced in their heads;

Mullery in his Bonts, and Miller in his Maples,

had accepted that their sleep would likely have troubles,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

Schulte sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he skated like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

There was Collins with his headlamp aglow,

He stood in the bushes and, well, you don’t want to know.

When what to our wondering eyes did appear,

but a pack of skaters with eight race volunteers,

With a little old leader so lively and quick,

He knew in a moment one skater must be Danny Frederick,

More rapid than eagles his strides they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Oftedahl, now, Landucci, now Parker, and Ecklund!

On, Moen, on Rayna, on Dahms and Larson-Dickson!

To the front of the paceline, get in front of them all!

Now skate away! skate away! skate away all!

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When you meet with an obstacle, lean on your thigh,

So up to the front the skaters they flew

With Otto, Creager, and wheelsuckers there too.

And then, in a twinkling, we heard with a squeal,

The scratching and clawing of each 125mm wheel.

As I focused my camera, and was turning around,

down the straightaway Dunfee came with a bound.

He was dressed in all Adams, from his head to his toe,

And smile was wide for a fine race photo.

A pack of skaters stared at his back,

as he took a second to scan the racetrack.

His teeth – how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, but his eyes, they were scary!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the shine of teeth was as white as the snow.

The chase pack fought hard and pushed forward,

the sprint led once again by Steffen Howard.

He skated to the left to block Matt Melanson,

leaving the road open for old Tommy Peterson,

He was aging and plump, a right jolly old elf,

and I laughed when I saw him, and thought of myself;

A wink of his eye and twist of his head

soon gave me the idea his sprint was about dead,

He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,

And burned up his bearings; then turned with a jerk,

he looked to his right down his sweat covered nose,

as Jesse flew by with swinging elbows,

he sprang to the moment, to his Dad gave a whistle,

And away he flew like a soldier after dismissal,

But I heard him exclaim, ere he skated out of sight -

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

 

Merry Christmas Inliners!