Thursday, January 2, 2014

#1:Learn to Skate Backwards

The goal - 27 instances of Learning Something New From - OR - Trying Something New With - Someone Else. 

Today Dave and I went to the Blue Cross RiverRink to skate and so he could teach me how to skate backwards. In the days since we decided to do this I've been telling him that it would be in no way his fault if I did not succeed. My forward skating was not all that good to begin. I was very happy that he was game enough to at least try to teach me. 

For those who don't know I married a Canadian. I'm pretty sure Canadians are born with skates on although Dave claims he was not in skates until age 4. And as if being a natural born skater (him, not me) isn't enough Dave is also an ice hockey referee after having spent many many years playing the game (again I kind of thought that was mandatory 'up there') Anyway, you get the idea. If it were not for Dave's patience this could have been a disaster whether I learned how to skate backwards or not. 

As we were preparing to leave the house he asked if I wanted elbow or knee pads. We've been married long enough that I could tell he meant that in a "I don't want you to hurt" way but I had to laugh because on second thought it kinda didn't bode well for his confidence in the success of this effort. 

We decided to go for the first session of the day. It was not sunny - there is a snowstorm coming (yay!) - but skating out doors was way better than indoors. It felt good to be in the fresh air and besides had we been indoors Dave might have felt too much like he was at work. We paid for our session fee and skate rental for me. Our blue cross health plan entitled us to discount so two people and one skate rental was all of $10 for an hour and a half. It cost more to park. 

"Are you really taking pictures
of me from behind?" (silly husband)

First we skated forwards. Dave pointed out that he has never seen me on skates so it's been at least 15 years since I've skated. This was obvious on those first few trips around but once I relaxed and loosened up I was fine. There are some muscles that will be annoyed with me tomorrow morning but by the end of the session I felt very comfortable skating --- forward. I fell only a few times and never did I cause someone else to fall. Bonus points. 

After a few laps around the rink Dave suggested I learn how to stop. He tried to show me several different methods. I asked if being able to stop was required for learning to skate backward. Fortunately it was not because despite Dave's best efforts the wall is still my best friend when it comes to stopping. 

So on to skating backwards. Dave demonstrated multiple times. He watched me and offered corrective suggestions, hints and helps. I had to laugh when the boy in the Phillies hat (about 12 I think) started watching and offered "Just push off and shift with your hips". I inclined my head toward Dave, smiled and said, "That's what he's been trying to tell me". 

Intellectually all the instructions were making sense but the understanding was getting lost somewhere between my head and my feet. When I got a movement right, I got excited. "Wow, that's how it works". But then I'd lose it trying to figure out how I did that. I was obviously over thinking it. I even tried closing my eyes and just feel it. It seemed to me that my right side was more on board with this project than my left side. And if you think about it that means going in a circle. 

Every so often we'd turn around to skate forward again either to get past a clump of people or just because I needed confidence again. It was amazing how (relatively) easy forward skating was after trying so hard to go backward. 

Eventually I did manage backward movement.
It is likely generous to say I went two feet
but it doesn't matter..... 

So #1 is in the books. 

Thanks to my very own patient Canadian, Dave. 

26 more to go. What do you want to teach me? Or what do you want to try and need a partner to motivate you. If it's something that's new to me it counts for my 27. If not, I'll help you anyway. It will be fun. I'm open to suggestions although - Old People Should Not Bungee Jump.  


  1. YAY YOU!!! And major kudos for Dave tor patient teaching! Maybe if you go out skating again in a bit less than 15 years you can continue to improve. LOVE the hat btw..

  2. Woohoo!! Congrats all around and now to celebrate your accomplishment the heavens decided to snow for you!! :-)