Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ice Skating: An Inquiry into My Skating

In December of 2009, while ice skating at the Kendall Square Ice Rink at lunch, an elementary school kid called over to me. "Yo, mister. Hey, sir!" It took me a second before I realized he was calling me. I turned around, and smiled at him. "Hey, how do you do that?" he asked. I squinted at him. He was standing, not too wobbly. "You're standing," I said to him. "That's a big part of it!" He scowled. "Standing up is nothing!" he said, almost challengingly. So, the kid wants some skating knowledge. "Push off your edges," I said, and he let it go at that.

"How do you do that?" Such a simple question! I hope my response about the edges got him curious enough to look for the rest of the answers on his own. Edges are important in ice skating, perhaps the most important thing. His question, though, brought to mind a deeper inquiry, about my own voyage to learn and understand how to ice skate. Ice skating is the best sports thing I've ever learned, and as the years go by, it's the one that has given me the best pleasure, the best feelings of satisfaction.

"How do you do that?" To really give anyone the answer to this personal question, I have to go through some old memories. I have to recall my ice yearnings from grade school through high school. I have to recall my college friend, who shared my fascination with this slippery sport. I have to recall my own commitment and recommitment to learning this skill after college, and the culmination of that effort by playing a few seasons with a rag-tag hockey team. Thankfully, the memories are well-worn and fond.

For the month of January, I'll be blogging about ice skating, and my love for it.

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