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Skating with my niece and nephew last week was a glide down memory lane for me. As we made circles around the Los Alamos Ice Rink, with its thick crust of ice shavings and chilly air, I was reminded of another ice rink in another town.
In Littleton, Colo., the rink my family and I frequented years ago was indoors, but its lobby and the local rink share the same smell of hot chocolate in styrofoam cups and wet socks. Lacing up the rental skates on my niece’s and nephew’s feet showed me that rental skates have evolved from dull, scuffed brown shoes to snazzy red and black apparel with Velcro. Trying to squeeze my feet into a pair of skates that once slipped on so easily when my parents bought them for me when I was in middle school, I realized just how much things have changed since then and how some things have stayed the same.
When I saw Kristi Yamaguchi win the Olympic gold medal in figure skating on television, I wanted to perform the same skating moves she executed. When I started taking public lessons and then a few private lessons, I realized that this was far easier said than done and my skating talents were not going to take me far in this sport.
Having big visions of talent and success is something that I think everyone possesses at some point and I believe it is a shock when those dreams don’t easily follow through into real life.
As my nephew entered the rink for the first time in his life, I think he also had big visions of being a natural on the ice and he became rather dissatisfied with the whole sport when he saw it was harder than he originally thought.
He harrumphed, pouted and wanted to call it quits, but as we went to exit the rink, something clicked in him. Just as I realized all those years ago I would have to work, really, really, work to become a mediocre skater, my nephew learned he needed to get a little assistance and learn the basics, in order to effectively learn how to ice skate.
This knowledge seemed to transform the activity for my nephew.
He zipped around the rink using a red metal apparatus to lean on for balance and practiced gliding and stopping after getting some instruction from my dad.
Unlike me, however, my nephew seemed to catch on to a lot more than I ever did. After only a few minutes, he was hopping into the air and zig-zagging all over the ice. Success for me was just starting off on the correct foot!
Since my nephew did not seem to require much help, I made my own circles around the rink, remembering all the times I tried my luck with spins and jumps in the center of the ice rink in Littleton all those years ago. I wondered if I had the guts to try those tricks now. I didn’t, but maybe next time I’ll use one of those red metal apparatuses.