Can You Skate?

My first ice carnival - I'm the one in the blue dress.
My first ice carnival – I’m the one in the blue dress.

I don’t remember my first time on skates. All I remember about my first ice carnival is I was dressed in a blue dress and I touched my toes as I followed my beginner group. I also know I only pushed with one foot and didn’t bend my bend my knees – and I seem to remember crying. A lot. But, still my parents never pulled me out of CanSkate.

I asked my Mom years later why it was so important that my older sister and I skated. Was it because of a movie – Ice Castles perhaps? Lived vicariously through her children?

She simply said: she couldn’t skate. She always wanted to learn – but her parents couldn’t afford lessons. When Mom found out Arborg offered lessons, she was determined we were going to learn.

Almost everyone in my small town – or village as Arborg was back then – took CanSkate. If you took CanSkate, it meant you continued figure skating, or branched into hockey or ringette. It was almost unfathomable to think a child didn’t know how to skate back then.

My CanSkate and Skate Canada badges
My CanSkate and Skate Canada badges

I was a competitor though, and I wanted to succeed. I’m most proud of passing three levels – Novice III, IV and proficiency – in one year – NIV and proficiency were in the same day. I remember after I passed the proficiency test, a skating friend and I celebrated. We sat on the boards and split a piece of gum.

CanSkate offers a child so much – it teaches balance, coordination, confidence, discipline and improves listening skills, and let’s face it – it’s fun to be on skates. In fact, it’s amazing. How do you stay upright on long, thin blade? And it gives them great memories, such as the one I mentioned above. Skating is such a beautiful, fantastic, unbelievable, powerful, I am running out of adjectives, sport, everyone at least needs to try it.

What if you are an adult you can’t skate? It might be intimidating to take lessons with a four-year-old who can already do spins and when you can’t even stand on the ice. Skate Canada also offers AdultSkate for those who either skate a little, or a lot.

On the ice in 2008.
On the ice in 2008. I broke my elbow a few years earlier in AdultSkate during a skating accident, and this was my first time back. I usually skate with elbow pads during a session until I’m comfortable taking them off.

Maybe I’m a little biased because figure skating is my passion, and I do feel strongly everyone should know how to skate.

An argument could be made, “well, I have a child that excels in baseball, why would I want them to skate.”

Valid. But think about this: skating is a social winter activity. When children are skating on frozen patches of ice with their friends around the city, it’s nice to know your little one won’t be left out.

That’s how my husband felt growing up. 

 

Sources:
http://skatecanada.ca/en-us/development/programsschedules/canskate.aspx
http://skatecanada.ca/en-us/development/programsschedules/adultskate.

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