I was sitting in the stands last week, reading a million boring things on the Internet and praying that Stumbleupon would finally find something fun and interesting for me to look at. I looked out at the kids skating, listened back to the parents chattering, and I realized how bored I was. Just. Bored.
That looks like so much fun, I thought, watching the kids fly through back crossovers and waltz threes. I wish I could do that.
Parents do a lot of jabbering about "oh, I'd never be able to do it" in regards to their children skating. I've said it a million times myself. It's a favorite topic, expecially when some kid is having trouble.
Here is the script:
"Little Susie is having so much trouble with that *insert troublesome element.*"
"Oh, that's unfortunate. But she's really good at *insert strong element here to reassure fellow parent.*"
"I know, she's just stuck. It's so hard."
"Oh, I know. It's all hard. I mean, I know I could never do it!"
*Insert obligatory banter consisting of self-deprecating comments about age, joints, weight, cellulite or any given combination of these things.*
I was crossing the lobby to get a Diet Coke when another mother caught me. "Oh, hey there! How are you?"
"Fine, fine. How is your skater?"
"Oh good. She's on the Synchro team now."
"That's great. They seem to have fun."
"How is Stitch?"
"He's having some trouble with FS4. It's hard for him right now."
"Oh, it's all hard," she said, and I thought, here we go. "He's such a fun little performer, though."
"I know. But it's getting him to work through the hard parts."
"He'll be fine. I mean, I could never do it!" she filled in the script.
At this point I was tired of the script. "Oh, I don't know. It doesn't look so hard. I'd like to take a class."
She stopped laughing, and gave me a look. "You're not going to be one of those Adult Skaters, are you?"
"Maybe. Why not?"
"I mean," her stare hardened and she lowered her voice. "Have you seen those people?"
I shit you not, this was an actual conversation.
"They're nice. I like them." I honestly had no other response to what had just happened. Those People? Really?
She laughed to herself and settled back down into the booth. "Well, just don't hurt yourself."
I walked away, forgetting the Diet Coke. Why not? What's stopping you?
I've talked a big game about joining a class and learning to skate myself. My adult skater friends are always telling me that I should. On Tuesday mornings I watch an adult skater finish up her lessons, and I'm envious. Something always stops me. It could be fear. Could be self doubt. Could be anything, really. Could be that I'm not really believing that I could actually do something like this.
One of my most unforgettable moments with Coach Y was one morning when she was fussing at me, back during the Great Gamma Crisis of 2011. I was pushing back, wanting him to stay in Gamma, and she looked at me and said, "Anyone can do this shit if you have money."
And that kind of shut me up because I realized she was right. Throw enough money at any kid and they'll be doing decent skating, why can't that same equation work for me? And what do I care about those Other Moms thinking I'm one of THOSE PEOPLE? I think they're plenty weird in their own way.
I'm taking lessons in the Summer, and I need a coach to vouch for me to sign up for Alpha. I can do swizzles, forward and back, I can glide on one foot. I'm good at inside edges and still a little leery of outside edges but I can do them if I'm feeling gutsy. I'm better at stopping now, and I'm working on forward crossovers. One of my favorite things to do is Scooter Pushes, really fast. I started trying to go backwards on one foot before my plantar facsitis began crying and I had to stop for awhile. But I got special insoles and that pain seems to be receding, and I'm ready to try again.
I think to some degree all the skating moms are harboring some secret longing to be out there themselves, and having your kid out there can be a pretty reasonable substitute for that. I think every mom standing by the door with her arms out or in or whatever is skating by proxy. Like Munchausen's but more expensive.
Well. I think I'm ready to give it a try. (It doesn't look that hard.)