Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I didn't grow up in ice skating country. When I was a kid, an ice rink opened at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, convention center, and shopping complex. It was the only ice rink for miles around. Schools took field trips to skate, parents threw skating birthday parties for their kids, and the whole atmosphere of ice skating had a once-in-a-lifetime aura to it.

As we were watching the figure skating at the Winter Olympics this week, Noel reminisced about Cady Gray's school field trip to the Little Rock ice rink. Kids get so excited about skating, imagining themselves gliding over the ice. Then when they get there, it's all falling down and hanging onto chairs and rails. It's hard. And I remember that from my few childhood icecapades.

So it's doubly amazing to me that these young skaters at the Olympic level grew up in families, lived in communities, and had the personal desire to persevere past the unnaturalness of the activity and become a person who can make it look completely normal.

Our attraction to ice skating is the frictionless perfection of curves and the sensation of effortless speed. I'll never have that experience; it's too late for me to become good at such an arcane activity. But there are things I make look easy that amaze others. Maybe as they watch me teach or knit, they sense their possibilities expanding. Maybe even if they never become as accomplished, they enjoy participating vicariously, or just knowing that people are capable of such things. That's part of the reason we love watching others perform at high levels.

1 comment:

Doc Thelma said...

Watching the curlers and their cool one-gliding, one traction pairs of shoes makes she wonder why we don't see more of those at the ice rink. I'd think they's be great for beginners.