Yesterday, I took my daughter ice skating. Now there is nothing remarkable about that unless you consider that she has never been on ice skates and I have not been in the last 10+ years. It may be closer to 15 years since I tried to get on the ice. And when I did it last time, I was not good.
I remember the laughing of my friends, the polite smiles of those who had to skate around me when I wiped out and was laying there, spread-eagled on the ice. I remember those jerky little kids who would skirt around me, effortlessly, as they missed my head by about two inches and sprayed that fine icy snow.
Yes, I remembered.
So I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to stop by the ice rink yesterday. We were out to see the Science Center and it's in the middle of this big park. There are ball fields, archery ranges, tennis courts and, yes, an outdoor rink.
In all fairness, it was a good idea. The air was crisp, they had a big fire going outside the rink and it smelled amazing. Steinberg Rink is this 1920's-era building in the middle of this wide, old copse of trees.
We laced up with confidence. We headed out to watch the zamboni as it finished. My daughter was excited and so was I.
Then we stepped onto the ice. Boy, is that stuff slick. We both wiped out almost immediately, right where everyone else was getting on. I had flashbacks of the ice skating trips of my youth. We scrambled up as the little kids did swoopy things around us, leaving us in their ice dust. We made it half-way around, half-clinging to the rail, before my daughter realized. "We're really not good at this. Both of us." She seemed fairly surprised, as I have been in the past, when these type of things don't always work out. I was glad she'd gone in confident, and tried to talk her off the wall.
She was not so keen on that. She'd seen what happened to me most of the time I got too far from the side - wipeout. She asked me if she'd fall and I wanted to lie. But I told her: Yes, if you get off the wall, you will fall. But you don't get off the wall, you won't be able to skate.
She thought about that. And watched me wipe out shortly after. We made it the rest of the way around the rink. She never did get off the wall and that was okay. But on the way home, she had a thought that made the whole trip worth it. She said, "Skating is kind of like everything, right?" I wasn't sure what she'd meant, but said, yes, it was kind of like life. She agreed and said, "Next time, I'm going to get off the wall."