As emigrants from the Caribbean, skating wasn’t something ma mère ever thought to get me into. And quite frankly, this island girl wasn’t about to try moving about on ice. I avoided that crap as much as I could – walking was enough of a challenge as it is. No. Really. I’m a klutz.
So now that I had made it safely to adulthood and was presented with the opportunity to go skating at Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leafs Gardens), I thought why not?! Preface to that opportunity: I volunteer for the wonderful organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, and this was going to be their Winter Party for the volunteers and our “littles”. And once my little brother found out about it, he was beyond excited to go skating. I couldn’t disappoint him, could I? NO! So, I decided it was time to accept the challenge of putting on skates. Besides, it was free and I was going to be fed. What more does a girl really need?
So another big sister and I embarked on our journey to the centre with four excited 10 and 11 year olds in tow. We arrived and were blown away by the scale at which this 4 hour adventure was being presented. It wasn’t just food and skating; they had games, art and crafts and a photo booth complete with props. Oh yeah – it was going to be a fun day. I got my skates and felt pretty amped. I was going to do this – I was going to skate. If my mother could only see me! So we got settled, ate and then it was time to skate. I put mine on and thanks to my thick socks, my skates were too tight! I tried exchanging them but by that time, all the bigger sizes were gone. Oh well, suck it up and get on the ice.
I got the skates back on, stood up and didn’t fall – YES! I made it down the bleachers and across an aisle to the gate… then I stepped onto the ice and at the first skid realized…. This is not going to happen today, sweetheart. I had never before tried it and had no one to guide me. And there were far too many children around to be adventurous. But YAY me for trying! From putting on the skates to stepping onto the ice and then not falling and cracking my skull. But most importantly I did not harm any children in the process. Not to mention the skates were squeezing the living daylights out of my feet at this point. When I saw people tilting their feet in, I thought that would help me stay upright, but upon review of the picture I realized I just looked silly.
So after all that hype I decided to sit this venture out and just be an on-looker. Womp. But this wasn’t after snapping a couple shots of me on the ice as proof I did try. Afterwards, we did get to take advantage of the photo booth with me sporting a pink wig while my “little” donned an afro wig. We also made Christmas ornaments where I was SOLD on using every shade of the glitter paint available. (Kudos to me for not getting any on myself or those around me). An added bonus was that the kids got to keep the skates and guards they had received when we arrived. And we can not forget the cupcakes! BBBST put on a great event to show their appreciation for the volunteers, and judging by all the smiling faces (both “bigs” and “littles”) it was another huge success.
But now that I have tasted the sweet nectar of skating, I must admit I’d like to try again – this time with someone who has the patience to give me a few pointers on staying erect…. And making it further than the gate.
So what is the lesson here? Well, as the saying goes: “It is better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all”.
Do you remember your first time skating?