Sunday, December 26, 2010

Going ice skating

When someone hasn’t done something for a long time, it is often said that the ability for this or that will come back to them naturally. “It’s like riding a bike” they say.
Let me assure you, that is baloney.
Take for instance ice skating.

When I heard that colleagues planned to go ice skating, I was one of the first to sign up to join the group. After all, I had once enjoyed ice skating and even though the last time I had been on the ice was some thirteen years ago, I assumed that my body would remember the balance and the ability to skate. It would be just like riding a bike.

We happily chattered on the way to Nathan Phillip Square, where there is an open air ice rink. We somewhat fell silent as we lined up to hire skates. As we saw the ice and saw the skaters (struggling to stay vertical) our courage began to fail. Would this be like riding a bike?

By the time I strapped on my skates I was half frozen and shivering like a leaf on an Alaska tree. Whether this was due to the cold December wind or nerves I’ll never know.
I struggled to get up from the bench and to stay on my feet. Oh dear, and I was still on rubber carpeting. What would it be like once I was on the ice?
I soon found out ... it was hell on blades.

Even with the support from my son, I stood there, too scared to move. Where were the barricades to hold on to? Where was the balance I once had? Where was the ability to do this on my own? I had once done it, why couldn’t I do this anymore?
Like a wooden doll I shuffled on my skates, in danger of going down at any moment, holding on to my son’s hand for dear life.

As he guided me around the rink I didn’t feel the cold anymore, I felt nothing except fear of going down and breaking something I might need later.
When a colleague came along I clutched at his hand too and now supported by two strong arms I started to feel a bit more secure. Given time I probably would have gotten the hang of it again, but all too soon it was time to leave the ice and head back to the office.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take up skating again, in a proper ice rink that is. A rink with barricades to hold on to until I find that lost balance again.

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