project 365

43. Skating.

Thanks to the Olympics, I’ve become obsessed with figure skating. As a clumsy person myself, I love watching all things graceful, but skating takes it to the next level in my head, because that shit is done on ice.

I never went skating as a child. My first time on the ice was freshman year of college. I was petrified, wondering how in the world I was supposed to stay upright on such a slippery surface. I didn’t particularly enjoy myself, and got off shortly thereafter.

A group of us went back to the rink by the Truckee River a couple weeks later, and I remember explaining to this guy that I was absolutely awful at skating. It definitely wasn’t for me, so yes, he could slip and fall next to me and we could hold hands to keep each other up and it would be fine (there were definitely ulterior motives happening on someone’s part).

I don’t know what happened between that first and second time, but when I got on the ice and found my balance, I started gliding along just fine. The movements were actually very similar to the  roller blading of my youth (maybe I should have gathered that from watching Mighty Ducks 2 multiple times).

Dude was astonished: “You said you couldn’t skate!”

My reply: “I can’t! This is great!”

He then tried to keep up, slipped, grabbed my arm and brought me down with him.

Alas, my time of sort-of-not-bad gliding was short-lived. About a month later, a bunch of us went skating again and decided that, obviously, playing tag was the way to go. While trying to get away from friend Jake, I fell down. He skated over and stood above me laughing, and then offered me a hand to pull me back up on my feet.

As I was trying to stand, my left leg slipped to the side, creating a 90-degree angle at the joint, and I heard a pop sound and felt a sharp pain in my knee. I immediately collapsed, bring Jake down with me. He got up and tried to help me once more, but when I tried to move my leg, I realized that I had definitely pulled or torn something, and me getting off the ice upright was not going to happen.

Eventually, one of the people working the ice skating rink came over, and he, along with some other guys in our group, proceeded to carry me off the ice. Ah, the humiliation. People took photos. I signed a waiver and iced my leg. Though the smart thing to do at that point was go to the hospital to have it checked out, I instead went to Carson City for the weekend.

My knee has never been the same since (I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes me problems when I get older), and neither has my ice skating, for that matter. It’s kind of sad, really. I don’t think I’ve tried skating for a couple years now.

Perhaps the Olympics can serve as inspiration. While there’s no way I’ll be doing anything even close to several levels below that kind of skating, perhaps I can at least lace up a pair and get back out on the ice.

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