Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lessons from Ice Skating

David has been asking me to take him ice skating for over a year.  We were unable to make it work with our schedules last winter.  Since that time, we moved to a different neighborhood.  Our apartment is now much closer to prospect park.

Friday night, we went to the skating rink in the park to ice skate. Let me tell you, David is very athletic.  Every time we have been out to try some new athletic activity, he picks it up so fast.  Coming from my background, this is hilarious and impressive.  It took me years to figure out how to bowl without gutter balls over and over (his first time involve three strikes in a row and two games well over 150).  

When I was a kid, my whole family ice skated.  We spent time cleaning off the pond to skate and even flooded our front yard to make a skating rink.  My dad and brother played ice hokey almost every weekend with our neighbors.  Dad played well into his 50s on an international ice hockey league.  

We had a 4H skating party at our house one winter.  Mom always was amazing with her hot chocolate skills (warmed milk in a pot on the stove with nestle quick and some cool whip).  My twin brother and I were a bit slower learning how to ice skate than our siblings and parents.  My first pair of skates was an old pair of mom's figure skates.  I learned how to stop using my toe, instead of a snow plow stop like a hockey player.  It took me years to be able to skate without falling over and over again.  

David was different.  He managed to only fall once, and that was because he was trying to take his hat and gloves off while continuing to skate. 

I managed to not fall at all and even managed to skate backwards a few inches at a time (one of the things I'm working on).  

As I watched him, and we laughed, memories of my childhood came flooding back.  I would spend hours with my brothers and sister trying to skate.  We had to wait until dad said it was ok to go onto the ice.  If my memory serves me, he used to test the ice by heaving a huge block of wood onto it first to see if it would break.  Then he would go out tentatively on it to test it.  We had a pond across the road from our house that was most often used.  I do remember on time when all of the neighbors came and we all skated up and down the swamp corridor that was overflow from Brandy brook.  We used our snow boots as goal posts and always had a fire going off the ice to warm up if we needed to. 

David's skating reminded me of a few things.  

1.) You can't be afraid to fall.  Falling is one of the only ways to learn how to skate.  Even the best skaters fall.
2.) It's ok to hold on to the railing as you figure things out.  We all need a little bit of support now and again.
3.) Sometimes you need to be left alone to figure things out (David was much more likely to try things when I wasn't next to him).  
4.) Even the most experienced skaters have room to grow and learn.  I'm definitely not experienced, but I know I can skate in circles and almost not fall most of the time.  I'm learning to stop and to skate backwards while David is just learning to stay up.
5.) It's ok to start slow.
6.) You have to take some risks if you are going to figure things out.
7.) If you dress warmly enough, only your face will get cold.
8.) Skating uses muscles that we don't use daily. 
9.) It's really awesome to get out during the winter and have some fun.  It makes winter easier to bear.  I was reminded of this when I heard an NPR interview about Hygge.  Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. When winter doldrums get you down, you have to find something to pick your spirits up.  

I hope you all find some joy in the coming winter months.  Learn something new, try a new sport, try an old thing with friends who haven't done it before.  Laugh, get some sun, re-live old memories.  If you want company, call or email us.  We love adventures. 

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