I have a confession: I don’t know how to roller skate.
It’s always been my secret shame that I never learned how to skate as a kid. I can’t tell you how many skate parties I suffered through, forlornly watching from the sidelines, or busying myself with the snack bar and arcade. We didn’t have a proper rink in our town, so lessons and practice time weren’t readily available to me. I owned a pair of plastic Fisher Price beginner skates, but after skinning my knees a few times on the sidewalk, I gave those up.
So this year, at the ripe old age of 30, I decided to finally learn. I headed out to the local rink, plunked down $25 and signed up for a month’s worth of beginner classes. The first lesson was yesterday, and let me tell you, I had plenty to learn.
First of all, I learned I am not the only adult who doesn’t know how to skate. Two other grown women (one on rollerblades, and with her children, but whatever) were in the class. The rest of the bunch were 10 and under, and as the young do, they caught on rather quickly.
As our teacher introduced herself, a tiny girl of about eight with a smart little bob haircut and gleaming white skates spun around her on the rink, performing one-legged spins and jumps like a figure skater. Later I’d find out she’s a professional, sort of, and had just returned from the national skating championships. “Nice,” I thought. “Here I am wobbling around like an idiot while a child young enough to be my own makes Dorothy Hamill moves in my wake.”
After learning how to properly fall (on your butt, hands in the air, one leg kicked out in front of you), I realized there’s a reason you learn to do this as a child. It’s a lot easier to fall when you only have a few feet and 75 pounds to drop.
Once we mastered falling, we started learning how to actually move on the skates, and how to keep our balance. This was it. This was the moment of truth. This was when I’d have to let go of that carpeted wall, and make my way across the rink without something to grab onto. I teetered. I wobbled. I tilted. And I fell. Over and over again. At least half a dozen times, my ass hit the floor like a ton of bricks.
But I got back up, and I kept going. And by the end of class, and the half hour of practice I took after, there were moments when I stopped wobbling and felt my feet and body doing what they were supposed to. I had a rhythm, and there it was—I was actually skating!
Of course, as soon as I realized that, I’d start to stumble. But for those few sweet moments, I came closer than I ever have to ruling the rink, and that’s why I can’t wait to go to class next week. See you then!
Next Time: We’re allegedly supposed to learn to skate backward next week. I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to do that when I don’t even know how to skate forward yet.