On the Ice: Ice, ice, baby
November 10, 2005
It may be cliché, but you can teach an old dog new tricks. I know, because I’m living proof – I’m learning to ice skate. Yes, ice skate.A Southern California girl, I never learned to ice skate as a child. And nearly two decades after moving to Colorado, I still don’t know how. It’s not like I haven’t embraced the mountain lifestyle; I have learned to downhill ski, cross-country ski, mountain bike, pitch a tent … the list goes on and on. But for some reason, I’ve never laced up a pair of skates (OK, I lied, I did once take a few spins around the Silver Circle during a party for my husband’s work; I think the keg of beer at the entrance might have spurred me on a bit, however.)Anyhow, I decided this winter was the perfect time to learn. Well, I didn’t really decide. It’s more like I was pushed into deciding. The reason? My son, who’ll be 3 this winter, is obsessed with hockey. He plays a dryland version around our living room day and night; he can’t take his eyes off the TV when a game is on; and he begs to go to the mommy-and-me skating “playgroup” the Aspen Recreation Center offers every Monday. So if I’m going to be a hockey mom someday, I best be able to take the little guy to the rink – and live to tell the tale.Thankfully, the city of Aspen has a great program for new skaters at the Lewis Ice Arena. Classes are drop-in (in other words, no commitment if I’m just too uncoordinated); for adults only (aka, I won’t get my butt kicked by a 4-year-old in a pretty pink skating skirt, although they do offer plenty of classes for the younger set); and led by a patient and professional instructor (thank you, Jenny). So, off I went. Timidly, I walked across the locker room floor on those skinny blades; even more cautiously I stepped onto the ice. I listened carefully to Jenny, kept a close eye on the two other grownups in my class (they were old pros, on lesson No. 3), and warily let go of the wall. And after just a half-hour, I could slowly swizzle on both sides (don’t ask me, it’s a skating term, I guess), make a very wobbly turn, and stop … sort of (my only fall came when I was “free skating” and a pack of teenagers came charging toward me and all I could do was sit down and pray). Still, it was fun, fun, fun. But most importantly of all, though, was probably the simple reminder of just how scary and strange it is to learn something new.Again, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it ain’t always easy (or pretty!).