For just a few minutes yesterday I was Queen of the Ice. No one else noticed or cared but that’s ok. What is important to me is that after a further 6 weeks ice-skating lessons I passed my Level 3 skating test.
Taking up ice-skating at the grand old age of 50 was a challenge but was something I wanted to do and with my 17-year-old son joining me I have enjoyed it every bit as much as I thought I would.
It is not easy however. Skating alongside children and young adults can be uncompromisingly disheartening. They take to the ice like they were born on skates. Fearless and confident, determined and resilient, they can make you feel very self-conscious and slow to learn in comparison. They skate fast and furious, twisting and turning with ease and when they do fall over, they cry, brush themselves off and start again. Admittedly they don’t have as far to fall as I do, but even so, watching them do this time after time makes me realise just how tough kids are. They bounce.
What I have also learned however is that I can ice-skate too. I am much slower to learn new skills, and I skate a lot slower over the ice but I can still perform the basic skills necessary to make steady progress. Slow is good especially when learning to skate backwards. Undoubtedly, like riding a bike, balancing is easier for most people when travelling at speed. Not many people can sit on a bike when it is stationary but they can cycle for hours on the move without falling off. The same applies to skating so that the slower you skate, the more difficult it is to execute some of the moves but for me it is a compromise between speed and control. I am most comfortable on the ice when I am pootling along at my pace, the last person to reach the other side, and the one who holds everyone up when skating around in circles with the younger skaters eagerly queuing up behind me ready to overtake when I move out of their way.
My biggest challenge over the last few weeks has been to master the art of skating backwards and to perform a series of backwards “lemons”. Skating backwards (slowly of course) came after a couple of weeks but the “lemons” have proved a lot more challenging. I don’t feel safe going backwards mainly because you can’t see where you are going, but also, the balance and body position is completely different to skating forwards and I definitely feel out of my comfort zone. However with the patient help of Will and the coach, I finally mastered the “lemons” yesterday just in time for my test.
Skate UK Level 3
Forward One-Foot Glide (straight line)
Two-Foot Jump Skating Forward
Forward & backward Sculling (lemons)
One-Foot Glide on a Curve – Inside Edge (L & R
Now that the better weather is here, Will and I have decided to take a break from the skating and get outside in the fresh air to play more golf. We will return to the ice later in the year when I will resume my quest to progress as far as I can. We will miss our weekly trip to the ice rink and I wish that we lived closer to an ice arena so that we can practice in our own time whilst away from lessons but it is something to look forward to when the summer is over.
In the meantime, I suppose I’d better go and sort the golf clubs out ready for action.