Saturday, February 18, 2012

Past Deadline: Skating Around the Issue

I have a confession to make. (Possibly you are saying, “Oh, great. Another one?”)

It seems we over here, as parents, have dropped the ball on a fairly significant developmental issue. (“Just one?” Yes. For now.)

We have skated around this issue – or not skated, actually – for years.

It’s actually about skating, and how we don’t do it. Much. Hardly ever. And we don’t do hockey, either.

I know. It’s crazy! And we were all born and raised here in Canada and everything!

I am pleased to say we do like Tim Hortons and regularly complain about the weather, so all is not lost on us as Canadians.

So how did this skating fiasco come to pass? Well, I think it’s a bit of monkey see monkey do. Or not see, not do, as the case may be.

We’re not a terribly sporty bunch (although dancin’ Girlchild may break the mold). I think a big part of being sporty is learned by example. If being active is a family thing, then it comes naturally for kids.

Skating and hockey are just not on our family radar. I took figure skating lessons for a few years when I was a kid, but by the time I got to university in Ottawa, where skating on the canal was almost a pre-requisite, I was rusty.

They declined even further after that.

By the time we had kids, skating was practically a distant memory for me, and Groom-boy, who skated even less, was no help in that department.

The rare times we do go are heart-pounding affairs involving wobbly ankles and fear. I fall a lot farther and harder than I used to.

I remember being pretty excited a few years back when I had to buy some new skates and decided to try rec skates. They were comfortable and offered awesome ankle support and as I strode around the store I was sure this was the Answer to Everything.

This excitement literally came to a crashing halt the moment I stepped onto the ice. I kind of forgot that crucial part about how rec skates don’t have picks. I learned on figure skates. I use the pick to stop, go, turn...everything.

I fell so hard I smashed my watch that day.

I went out and got figure skates soon after. They are still very shiny and new.

Anyway, because the short people in the family have not shown a huge interest in skating or hockey, it never became a priority. Sometimes it is awkward when friends ask the kids to go skating and they are not interested – partly because they are not strong skaters.

So one day recently it suddenly occurred to me that I have done a complete disservice to my children by not attaching blades to their feet from the time they could walk.

Oh, woe.

After all, skating in Canada is as natural as walking, biking, drinking Timmies or talking about the weather. How could so many years have passed without my kids being able to skate comfortably?

So, naturally, because I am so “content and secure with who I am and what I am doing,” I panicked and phoned my bestie.

She has two boys, one of whom is an avid hockey player. They all skate. They are very sporty – constantly frolicking. Just hearing about all of the stuff they do in a day makes me break out into a sweat and feel tired.

Anyway, they often go to the public skating at the arena and I asked (begged) for her to please take my eldest next time they go. An occasion is coming up that requires him to skate, and I want him to go, have fun and not fret about the mechanics.

Since I currently have a wonky foot I am not overly eager to shove it into a skate – even one with a pick – and wobble around on ice, so I am grateful to others who are more competent and keen.

I should add that my dahlinks are quite good swimmers, so at least we put on a good show in summer.

Published in The Perth Courier, Feb. 16/12

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