This is a guest blog from Gary, one of our regular skaters. He is a mature (read “grandfatherly”) skater who likes to help the beginners learn when he is here. If you would like to submit an article to be considered for publication on our blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary: Most of my years of skating have been quite positive. I have met people of various abilities and talents, and over time I have learned how to teach the skating basics to beginners of various ages. For example, one time a manager pointed out to me a father and three sons who had come in and had never skated before. The challenge I gave myself was to teach them how to skate. Later in the session I saw the father with his coat on and asked if he was leaving so soon. The reply was, “No…You taught them and I can’t get them off the floor!” In later weeks, one of the boys would come up to me, give me a big hug, and say, “Thank you for teaching me how to skate!” That was such a touching reward for me!
Just last weekend a woman stopped me and asked if I remembered her daughter and son. The daughter looked a little familiar, but I was not certain. The mother said I had worked with both of them and they looked forward to seeing me at Skateville. The daughter still uses a SkateMate (a “walker” on wheels available for rent) for security, but watching her I could see that she had mastered correct edging to propel herself around the rink. The best part for me was seeing the enormous smile she had because of pride in her new skill. Giving her a thumbs up made her almost glow!
Sometimes I get to introduce a person to backward skating. Some get the concept, some not so much. One woman told me she absolutely could not go backwards. This was a fun challenge for me. I ran her through my instructional drill, telling her to “do this” and “do that.” As she was going backward, pulling me, I said, “I want you to look me in the eye and tell me you cannot go backward.” She gave out a squawk and said, “Oh my goodness, I’m going backward!” Usually those who practice the drill get the concept and do reasonably well.
I am a member of an unofficial group known as the Rink Rats. We pay no dues. We have no bylaws or secret handshakes. What we share is a love of skating. We trade happy greetings, such as, “Glad to see you today.” We may have a short conversation or ask about someone we haven’t seen for some time. Then, of course, there are the little barbs we throw at each other in fun! There is some sadness when someone announces that they are moving to another state far away. We know we are losing some of the camaraderie we have enjoyed over the years.
As I have skated more and taken lessons with the Skateville Skating Club members, my own skills have continued to improve, which in turn has made my skating even more enjoyable. Being able to occasionally share skills with other skaters is very rewarding to me. And when someone shares a “how to” with me or some encouragement on my efforts, I am being shown real friendship, which is a great side benefit to hanging out at the rink!