As this is my “Year to try new physical activities”, I signed up for an ice skating class. Tonight was the first class and as you can tell from the fact that I am writing this blog, I am still alive.
I remember when I took swimming in the early spring, I was the only Canadian-born student in the class. It was much the same with the beginner’s skating class. People from far away lands were there to indulge in this favorite northern past-time, eager and raring to go.
I, on the other hand, thought to myself, “What the hell have I gotten myself into? Really, if I die without knowing how to ice skate, will my life have been any less worthwhile? No. So… What am I doing here?”
I wanted to leave. But as usual, sheer stubbornness kept me there.
I have been on skates before... which is quite different from actually "skating", I would say. I was always quite happy to get OFF skates too, I might add.
However, I seem to be addicted to making sure that I find new ways to rip myself out of my comfort zone and get into all kinds of trouble.... So, I threw on the mandatory hockey helmet, laced up my skates and hobbled towards the ice. I got on the ice and promptly attached myself to the big soft blue padding that surrounded the inside of the rink.
I will skip all the gory details of the psychological thriller that the first class was, and just say that I was proud to make it around the inside perimeter of the rink twice in the 45 minutes of the class. For those of you who know the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary - note that this is not twice around the Oval ice itself, but rather twice around the inside perimeter of one of the hockey rinks that sits in the middle of the Oval.
By the end, I had even let go of the rubber padding and was clutching on to Michelle, one of the instructors who came over and took pity on me, talking me through every movement – and getting me to respond to her so I would stop hyperventilating. (OK, so that last bit is an exaggeration – but only slightly.) Michelle and I skated for all of about 10 feet together before it was time to get off the ice. Gotta love the teachers who make time for the remedial students!