I grew up on 8 wheels, throwing myself around a roller skating rink on a weekly basis. During the pre-disco era. Between the pom-pom bedazzled roller skates, 18 inch bellbottoms, and requisite platform shoes, it’s a wonder I never broke a femur during that decade.
The one and only time I tried ice skating was in my early 20’s. I was a struggling actress in Dallas and my agent called, “Can you ice skate?” “I’ll let you know.” I mean, how different could it be?
I headed out to the local rink and stuffed my feet into a pair of white ice skates. This is when I discovered that the two types of skates WERE VASTLY DIFFERENT. I hobbled around on the carpet before getting the nerve to try the ice. After about an hour of hugging the rail, I took a break to make my way to a pay phone. I called my agent, “How good do I have to be?” “You have to look like you know what you’re doing.” A couple of moments of tortured silence, and then I said, “I’ll call you back.”
I made my way back to the ice and put in another hour or two until I could get around the rink without hanging on to another patron or the wall.
I went to the audition and was never even asked if I could skate. And to add insult to injury, I didn’t book the commercial. Showbiz.
Fast forward many many decades. My girls and a gaggle of their teenaged and tween-aged friends want to spend a carefree afternoon at the ice skating rink. I don’t ever mind trips to the ice rink, what with ALL THE HOT FLASHES. And since this is Florida, ALL THE HOT.
And if this is the part of the story wherein you think I applied a pair of ice skates to my own feet and showed up the youngsters, you would be wrong. Not enough insurance in the world, my friends.
But the unusual part of this saga is that for the first time EVER, my 9 year old boy wanted to check out the ice skating rink. With ideas of possibly giving it a whirl. My 9 year old son, who has never ever shown ANY interest ANY sport, thought ice skating might be fun.
I’m guessing this could stem from the boredom one might experience if you’re 9 and you’ve been placed on lizard restriction. To save the remainder of the lizard population, we’ve had to instill a conservationist mindset in our boy. This means no hunting, touching, and accidental murder of any more lizards. (Long gruesome story. Best left untold.)
So my son joined his sisters, a bunch of teen and tweenagers, and two of my sweet mom friends at the rink. Ice skating is not a cheap adventure, so I was really hoping Jensen would not only place the skates on his feet, but also, you know, venture onto the ice. After I got him strapped in, things did not look good. He couldn’t get his ankles to cooperate. I even rented him a walker. Yes, just like the elderly, except the bottom is flat and can glide on the ice.
He wanted to quit 3 minutes after getting the skates on his feet. Visions of a shredded $10 bill danced in my head. I encouraged him first to stand, then to try walking around the rubber perimeter. After a time, he saw his sisters and friends heading out onto the ice. He made it to the ice entrance. And then his sisters and all of their friends enveloped him and began encouraging him.
The cute blonde is my dear friend, Beth, who took one for the team and strapped on her leg brace and skates to hit the ice with the kids. She was supremely instrumental in getting Jensen onto the ice. She promised him a handful of M&M’s.
One of Emme’s buddies is well over 6 feet tall, and he began leading Jensen around the rink. He earned his angel wings for all of his patience that day, even taking a tumble when Jensen pulled them both down. But they got back up and continued skating the impromptu lesson.
Before the skating session had ended, Jensen made it around the rink THREE times by himself. He was a wall hugger. But had lots of encouragement along the way. I’ve never seen that little boy be so proud of an accomplishment.
When I was helping him take off his skates, he asked, “Mom, is ice skating a sport?” “Yes, yes it is.” “HEY! I HAVE A SPORT NOW!”
And my heart melted all over the ice.