All my life I have wanted to ice skate, but I am from rural Oklahoma. Not many people skate there. You'd think I would have tried it the minute I learned to drive, but I didn't. I don't know why. I love it -- watching it, reading about it, the very thought of what it might be like.
Mostly, I love women's figure skating, but I also like speed skating and ice dancing. I do not particularly like hockey, but I appreciate it (and I got to see Sweden vs. Latvia at the Olympics in Torino when I lived in Italy!). Anyway, I always imagined there would come a time when I would put on white leather ice skates with delicate silver blades and glide along like a ballerina in a fantasy sequence, my hair in a bun, my eyelashes long and glittery, my hands poised and beautiful and my whole self ethereal and perfect.
Finally, today, I got to try it! Of course I did not glide. I did not even wear white leather figure skates. The guy at the skate rental window suggested that we wear hockey skates for our first time out because they give you more ankle support, have wider blades, and don't have the tricky little grinding thing at the toe that causes inexperienced skaters to fall on their faces.
He was so smart. The hockey skates were not delicate and beautiful. In fact, they were black and clunky. But, amazingly, after a trip around the rink clinging to the rails, I started to figure out what to do. Mostly. All the things I'd read about figure skating as a 12-year-old and all the things I'd watched the other skaters on the rink do came together, and I was able to at least stay upright and moving, even around the corners.
I feared false confidence, and so I tried to focus on what I was doing at every moment. But sometimes I would forget, and for a minute I'd just be skating. Then I'd be amazed that I was ice skating! Then I would remember to pay attention. But I would forget again and skate. In my imagination, I was moving along smoothly, but when I dared to check my reflection in the plexiglass hockey walls, I looked stiff and uncertain. So I quit checking and imagined I looked at least like a person not worth watching, an okay skater, someone having a casual day on the ice.
Joe was a good skater, of course. He's good at everything, and he's also brave. He went out away from the rail after awhile, even out to the middle where there was nothing to grab if he started to fall. He didn't love ice skating as much as I did, but he didn't complain. He said he can see how it would be fun if you were able to go really fast. I'm sure he'd be able to go fast with just a little more practice. I don't know if I can convince him to skate again, though.
I am very sad to find out that the ice rink is only open until March. I don't see why it can't be open all year, but I figure it closes because people here get tired of ice really quickly. Once there is not ice outside, they probably don't want to see it inside either. Anyway, I'm going to try to take advantage of the rink while it is open. I'm thinking about hiring a teacher so I can learn the basics of figure skating. I don't have to do jumps. I'd be happy with the very least of the things the ice dancers do -- going around the rink on one leg with my arms open joyously to the world: That would be good.