Monday, July 26, 2010

Kate: All We Know Is Falling

So, one of the things you have to get used to when learning to ice skate is you are 100% going to fall. Everyone falls. Children, professional figure skaters, amateur league hockey players. They make special shorts with butt and thigh pads in them to help cushion your falls while you're learning jumps. When I went to Stars On Ice like three of the pros full on beefed it. In beginning ice skating classes one of the very first skills they teach is how to fall and get back up. They don't teach you how to not cry when you eat it and hurt yourself, but trust me. That's a skill that you will learn all on your own.

I've been skating since I was a kid and have managed some pretty dramatic falls in my day. One time I was racing on the ice in hockey skates and an unwitting figure skater wobbled out into my path. I was unable to stop and I hit them at full speed. We both went flying and I somehow managed to rotate 180 degrees in the air and ended up landing on my left hip. I had to get off the ice and rest for a bit after that one, but it wasn't long before I was out there again, recklessly shooting around with no regard for the safety of others.

These days, I'm a little more cautious. Falls hurt more - I'm by no means old, but I'm not exactly the spry thing I was back when I skated regularly as a child. I tend to fall like I'm sliding into home base - one time I was trying to do a spiral (definition of what that is was in my last post) and I leaned deep on my inside edge and ended up sliding across the ice on my leg. That one was more funny than painful - if I'd thought to artfully lean my chin on my hand, I might have even been able to make it look like I did it on purpose. One time Candice and I were doing the thing where we help each other skate backwards fast - she was going backwards and I was forwards and we tried to whip around so that I was the one going backwards. We were punished for arrogance when we both careened off and I ended up on my butt while Candice windmilled her arms and legs, trying not to end up see-sawing on my head, and finally landed on her knees. I had a glorious bruise on my rear the next day, but it wasn't so bad. Once again, more funny than painful.

My most recent fall, however, was a little less hilarious. I was once again practicing edges and trying to do a spiral properly and I was looking at my feet, not the area around me. I ran into Candice and somehow bounced off of her and went right down directly onto my kneecaps, then belly flopped and slid across the ice like a penguin. I managed to get up all by myself, clutching the tattered shreds of my dignity, and then skated over to the boards to lean and do that thing where you laugh a little hysterically because you're trying not to cry. I was smart and I took medicine, iced it, and elevated it and I wore a brace when I went skating the next day, but I'm still sporting big sexy purple bruises on each kneecap.

The cool thing about moments like that is the other hardcore skaters are usually sympathetic when you fall. People will offer you a hand up and tell stories of their own dramatic collapses and joke about the laugh/cry thing. Candice and I always fist bump when we beef it and then get back up and keep going because that's what it's all about. You fall down, sometimes in a very dramatic way that makes you look as stupid as humanly possible, and then you get back up, dust the ice shavings off of your pants, laugh at yourself, and keep skating. I always feel like a badass when I manage to stay on the ice for a long time after a fall, then I limp home and seriously think about investing in some of those butt pad shorts and knee pads. The metaphor for life's hard knocks is so obvious here it's almost ridiculous, but hey. Figure skating never shies away from cheese and literalism.

1 comment:

  1. Figure skating is all about cheese and literalism. And I am such a master of the laugh/cry, though it's usually because I tripped over a kitten and slid down the last couple of stairs on my ass. At least you're learning a skill more advanced than 'looking where you're going.'