But it's hard to teach if you can't do and if you're worried about falling on your face the whole time. My kids have really warmed up to me and they love when I present them with a challenge, like do as few crossovers as possible around the circle and then I say something like, "Who thinks I can make it all the way around in one crossover?"
Then I have to do it.
I went round and round the rink wanting to try my favorite jump and kept wimping out. After about 3 hours in my skates my feet were killing me and I'd developed a massive, painful blister on the side of my right heel. That was the longest I'd been in my skates in more than five years and the first time in at least as long as I'd tried some of my old skating moves. Don't get too excited, I never could do triples and was only attempting doubles when I quit skating.
The other night, I sat watching YouTube videos of my favorite skaters for hours. It made me want to run out and hop on the ice immediately, but every time I get back out there my body, and my feet, remind me of reality. And it's one that involves achy muscles and banged up feet.
Skating is a life I'd left behind. Not because I didn't love it, but because I went off to college, joined the tennis team, became managing editor at the campus newspaper, had jobs, internships, oh and class. The skating life can be full of early mornings, bruises, sparkly dresses, blisters, petty girls and the epitome of helicopter moms pushing their Olympic dreams on 5-year-olds. Trust me, that part was never pretty.
But it's also full of hard work, of falling over and over again until you land that jump, of setting a goal and having something to show for it. Medals and ribbons are nice and I was never on my way to the Olympics, but I loved getting on that ice and skating my little heart out, saying to myself, "I will do this," and then doing it.
Yes, people are watching like you're in a fishbowl when you're on the ice and know a few tricks, but really, it's just you and the ice. Usually, the ice wins, but learning to work with it, make it work for you and pushing beyond your fears and building strength off ice to do what you want to do on ice, is incredibly satisfying.
What was accomplished on the ice last night was pushing harder, faster, higher on the moves I did attempt and inching back into my comfort zone on ice, feeling more at ease in those stiff skates.
The blister is insanely painful right now, but I'll likely get back on the ice tomorrow and try again. And again and again until I'm having every bit of fun on ice as I used to, probably more knowing I learned those skills all over again.
In the meantime, I'll relive my teenage dreams of becoming an Olympian by watching Tara Lipinski videos. She was my all time favorite skating and she's only about a year older than me. But about a bajillion times betters on ice since she won Olympic gold at 15, you know, before she was old enough to drive. Here's one of my favorites (cut to about a 1:30 for the start).