Saturday, August 6, 2011

I need "That Girl" back

Practice last night. For me. (Stitch is swimming with his Grandma, still avoiding the math stuff I sent with him like the plague. But he's back in just two short weeks!)

I had my skates sharpened, which hadn't happened in awhile, and I nearly faceplanted when I tried to stop. No, I told myself. You didn't catch an outside edge by accident, that is just your New Mondo Inside Edge. But onward I went, sailing a bit faster now and a bit shaky because I wasn't sure about these new edges. I took up a hockey circle and started trying crossovers. Again. This time, hold it.

Like Shuffles, my pushing foot didn't want to leave the ice. I'd try, and it would stay, and I'd get frustrated. So I'd get it off the ice, try and send it over, and abort. Self, I said. What the hell. What are you afraid of? It's not like you've never fallen, or gotten hurt, or recovered.

This isn't the girl who passed out mid-loop on a stand up rollercoaster, coming to again at some bizarre angle, only to run around and do it again. This isn't the girl who worked fly rail, holding onto a lineset badly out of balance then finding herself three feet in the air and being told to "hang on while we fix it!" This isn't the girl who tried taking apart scaffolding while she was still on it. Okay, that last one was dumb, but it was still funny. But for some reason, the part of me that says, "Try it, how bad can it be," mutes when I step on the ice. I had to get that part of me vocal again.

Okay, so what happens if I fall? I get back up. Self, I said, it's that simple. Fall, get back up. No problem. But this mental battle is shockingly hard, leaving you wresting with the notion that this is all you. Other people do it, it's clearly possible, the only thing stopping you is this mental barrier to learning in the first place. I want to skate and I don't want to fall, but skating means falling, so which is it? You can't have your skate and your proud, unbruised ass, too.

I started again. One foot over the other. I thought about rollercoasters. One foot over the other. And again, again, again. Without noticing, I sailed right over that gouge in the ice that I'd been avoiding. It didn't scare me anymore. But the Freestyle adults were doing spirals and I felt in the way, so I recused myself to the studio rink where public skate was going on.

Eventually I was doing crossovers, one after the other, with never both feet on the ice. I could keep it up for five or six strokes before I felt like I was going ninety miles an hour on those new edges and would slow down, but it was a solid improvement over last week. Rink Pal said he saw three good ones. I didn't fall, but I came close several times while trying backwards half-pumps. But I didn't let that fear stop me from trying again. Backwards crossovers look cool.

Courage in the face of yourself is hard. I'm a Legend of Zelda fan, and one of the hardest battles in the games is when you fight the "Dark" version of your protagonist character; "Dark Link." Whatever you do, he counters because he is you, everything you are only meaner. You can defeat him with the Megaton Hammer. So, I guess the lesson here is to beat that Dark part of yourself into submission.

(Yes, I know about the Din's Fire trick too, but this is ice skating. No fire.)


  1. It sounds like you are making great improvement!

    I sometimes feel like if I do good crossovers I get going too fast to continue doing them anymore, so then I just hold a nice long glide between them to slow myself down again (good practice on holding the edges too). Occasionally in power class I actually have to skid to slow myself down, my coach always gives me a "I saw that..."

  2. You've hit the nail on the head - the mental battles in skating ARE surprisingly tough. Thanks for putting this into words! I will take them along with me to the rink today.

    Congratulations on your crossovers!

  3. This really helped me today, thank you Skate Mom! Finally made some progress on that (damnable) toe loop. My challenge with it has been entirely mental - even after succeeding with harder jumps it has been my nemesis. But not today!

  4. Skittle, I tried the glide between them and that helped a lot, thanks for the tip!

    Woot, I'm glad I could help out in my own small way. Now I think I need to fall just to get it over with! I think that day is coming as I try to do backwards stroking and t-stops.

  5. Yep, just fall and it'll be ok. Maybe I am abnormal but I usually have at least a couple of really excellent falls every practice. I tell myself that it means I am learning something!