Watching figure skaters whiz and dazzle across the ice is one of my favorite things to view amongst the Winter Olympic Games. They perform daring feats and make it look so easy to fly across that slippery terrain with nothing but a thin piece of metal between them and the hard ice.
Being unable to skate on ice to any degree, it’s even more amazing for me. Here are several thoughts that probably crossed the minds of anyone who isn’t so good at ice skating.
Before we actually skate, we tend to be either really positive or really negative.
1. I’m going to finally skate right.
Yes, the good old positive outlook. We go in thinking that our streak of failure has ended. Surely, we must have improved somehow over the time between our last ice skating flop and now.
2. This time will be different.
“I’m going to glide over this ice like the inner figure skater that I am!”
3. I’m actually going to die.
We make a huge deal out of this one to sort of prepare ourselves (and friends) mentally for the embarrassment that is to come.
4. Why am I even paying for this? / Why am I here?
Even if it’s free, I guarantee you that we spend a few odd moments regretting getting out of bed and shambling over to fail at something that everyone else is good at.
When we begin skating, we are literally just a ball of panic and anxiety.
5. Slow Down!
Yes, this usually happens when we accidentally get into a sort of groove while skating. For like 3 seconds, we’re doing it right. We're flying and it feels great. Then reality checks in and we realize that we’re going too fast. We panic and lose all skating ability for the next 2-5 minutes.
6.This is actually going well.
Most likely followed by an embarrassing fall. We get over-confident and try to put on a little burst of speed so that we move from almost crawling over the ice, to a nice walking speed. Trust me, it is not going well at all.
7. Please let no one startle me by calling my name
We are concentrating really hard on not falling so whenever a pro ice skating friend whizzes by and says Hi, it messes up our concentration. Don’t startle us. Just find a way to gently get our attention so we don’t lose our focus and spill onto the ice.
8. Glide, don’t walk
This is almost a mantra that we say in our heads as we try to stifle the natural instinct to march over the ice. Instead, we need to glide... which makes little to no sense whatsoever because it feels so unstable and unsafe.
9. Jerk / Insert any insult here
Usually directed at that group of show-offs on the ice that seem to think it’s okay to zoom so close to you. Hope you break a leg doing that weird ice breakdance that you’re doing. I wish I could also do it, but I can’t so you’re a jerk for doing it.
10. I’m not alone!
Nothing is more relief inducing than finding a fellow horrible ice skater. There is some sort of bond formed as you lock eyes in mutual understanding of the struggles you are both facing.
And when we’re done, we are usually very exhausted and beat up. It doesn’t stop us from heading back to the ice next time for another round of ice skating though!