February 5, 2010

How Not To Ice Skate

I am joining Alicia in her Friday Photo Flashback.

Recently, I was telling someone about my experience with ice skating. Which is not really pretty. I had only been on the ice once, with my youth group, when I was a teenager. Even though, I enjoyed roller skating in my youth, the nearest ice rink was an hour away. There for it was not something I had a lot of practice with. My first memories of ice skating involved loud rock music, being cold and a lot of time on the bleachers with some fellows I was friends with. I was terrified of falling and there was little they could do to convince me to go out on that ice.

When my big kids were little, a rink opened up here in town. Some friends of mine were taking their brothers and sisters skating and asked if I wanted to bring the girls along. Sure, I said. Sounds like a lot of fun. So off I went. I spent most of the time creeping around the rink watching the little kids whiz by me. Things never change. I was still terrified of falling and there was little they could to to convince me to move my feet a little more and give it a good try.

Not long after that, my nephew, who was very much involved in sports, was dying to play ice hockey and so my brother signed him up for skating lessons as well. With no sons of our own, we always enjoyed going to watch his soccer, baseball and hockey games. When Kaitlin turned eight, that November, Frank asked if it would be O.K. to give her a session of lessons for her birthday. So every Saturday for eight or twelve weeks Frank, Brandon, Allen and Kaitlin went off to spend some time with Miss Elsabeth, a German, Episcopalian minister, who moonlighted as a private skating instructor. Emma was a newborn at the time and once in a while I would bundle her up in her pink bunting and we would sit on the bleachers and watch them. It always looked like they were having so much fun. At the end of the first session they were skating rather well and even doing some little spins and jumps. It looked so simple.

A few years later, during the Olympics, Brianna decided that she just had to have ice skating lessons. It didn't help that she happened to be reading the autobiography of the Ekaterina Gordeeva wife and skating partner of Sergei Grinkov, My Sergei (good book if you like that sort of thing) at the time. Well, if I am going to interrupt the babies' nap schedules, take time every week to drag a kid across town, pay a fortune for an instructor and freeze to death while she takes skating lessons, then I am going to make sure it is worth my while. I signed all the kids up for lessons with Miss Elsabeth and the boys, who were all babies at the time, cuddled under a blanket with me on the bleachers as we watched our graceful ladies make their way from falling every other minute to doing jumps and twirls. They had a great time. It looked like a lot of fun.

Miss Elsabeth and I often would talk after wards and we got to know each other rather well. One week as the girls were heading out to the ice she said, "When are you going to get out there?" I begin to tell her how it looked like a lot of fun and I am sure I would enjoy but really someone had to watch the little ones. However, it happened to be a rare week that I didn't have all the babies with me. In her 70's and not willing to give up easily she called my bluff and said, "Well, how about right now?"

Before I knew what hit me, there I was lacing up my rented boots and heading out to the rink. It felt invigorating. I was excited at the concept of learning to do all the fun things my kids could do. But the truth be known, I was still terrified and even after months of trying, no one, not even Miss Elsabeth, could convince me to get the lead out and relax enough to really learn what I was there for.

Fortunately, six months later, Brianna sustained a serious knee injury, completely unrelated to ice skating. She underwent six months of physical therapy that ended in reconstructive surgery. By the following fall when she was clear for activity again, the ice skating bug had worn off and I was safe for a while longer.



  1. Wow...I never did learn to ice skate. What a great post. have a great day/evening!

  2. Hi Chili
    I also love skating. but right now i am missing it, due to my hectic schedule of business. i love to do skating with my family. u r very lucky Chili that u got it..

  3. I tried it once in Japan. I was a roller-skater in my teens. Now? Not so much. :)

  4. Only ice-skated a few times in my younger years, but oh some people make it look so easy and graceful. If only that person was me. Great picture and smile.

  5. GREAT picture!!! I think it was funny how you said "Fortunately" she sustained a knee injury - I know you meant fortunately for YOU but it cracked me up. What a fun mom ~ ♥

  6. LOL, "fortunately." You look cute out there!!

    I took my oldest daughter ice skating a couple of years ago (mom & daughter night out), and my feet were KILLING me after an hour. Of course, the boots they gave me were brand new, so there weren't even broke in yet! It was fun until this guy & I collided into each other!

  7. Cute picture. I used to skate as a child. i hadn't been on the ice in 12 years when I took Model on the ice for her birthday. It was like riding a bike.
    If you get a chance to stop by, I am having a giveaway at my blog & the 5 moms blog today.

  8. Beautiful blog - beautiful family - I used to love to ice skate when I was a kid - now not so much - I'd break my neck..

    Love to you.

  9. A great picture of you on skates! And you are up and moving in this photo :o)
    I am here through Alicia's Friday Photo Flashback :o) It is fun meeting you through this post.

    Blessings & Aloha!
    I iceskated with classmates in Taiwan (age 12 or 13), we had a big pile-up...and it wasnt until a while later that I noticed a big hole in my jeans, that someone's blade made a clean puncture in my upper leg... it was so cold, I guess, that I was numb so didnt feel anything! I still have the triangle shaped scar. But I still skated after that.

  10. What a nice story!! I always wanted to ice skate... (i've tried a couple of times, but nothing fancy). Now I just stick to the Figure Skating game on the Wii! LOL!