Skating Lessons – Get Moving


As all of my friends stood on their skates and searched for a way to be tripped on purpose, I scrambled onto the boards and pouted, ramming my spikes into the ice as if hitting dirt in the ice. outdoor field of a baseball field.

I didn’t want to learn to fall.

It sounded stupid.

It sounded dangerous.

And it looked like the opposite of what I wanted with the shiny, sharp blades on my feet (jump!).

My instructor smiled at me with a pout in the corner and said, “Elizabeth, once you learn how to fall, everything else is easier. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it works.

The group lesson ended with me skating on the ice having NOT mastered the fall and NOT to attempt master the fall.

For two good weeks, I made it a point during class to NOT fall, whether by accident or on purpose. I had been skating since I was 2, you see. My mom took me out on the ice with her before I could walk. I didn’t have to learn how to fall. I already knew my inside edges from my outside edges and what they were doing. I could skate backwards and was the BEST stopper in the class (I even flew small chunks of ice off the ice like I had watched the hockey boys do before me).

The truth was, I was scared.

Falling didn’t bother me, I had done it many times as I am about as graceful as a water buffalo on a trapeze.

No, what scared me was looking like an idiot in front of the other kids in my skating lesson; you know, the ones that weren’t as good at skating as me. Skating was MY thing. The thing I was really good at compared to everyone else. I had never had THIS THING before.

And I didn’t want to have a lesson on the fall to ruin it.

One day I started skating early with my mom. All the kids in my class were busy in the hall drinking hot chocolate, but I always loved going in and watching the boys pass the puck around the ice cream.

One of the boys (whose sister I knew from my skating class) called me and asked if I could shoot. I shook my head yes and he skated towards me and gave me a stick that was way too big for me.

I had shot at the net before, of course. But never with a goalie actually IN the net to DEFEND him. Of course, the boys didn’t need to know that, so I skated on the ice and stood on top of the circle in front of the net. I curled up, leaned over, tipped over and pulled.

I missed. By many.

The boys told me my footpicks were in the way, half-mocking me, but I knew they were just nice because their trainer was watching.

As I sheepishly skated off the ice, my instructor approached me. She had watched everything.

“If you can do that,” she said, “then you can fall into my class. “

“Why?” I asked him. “Shooting is NOT falling.”

“Yes it is. You knew it would be worse if you didn’t try to take this photo,” she said.

Some days I feel like I’m still on the ice learning to fall.

Again and again.


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