Lancient History

On Ice

I am not athletically inclined in the least. My grandparents were. My parents were. My mother certainly was. She was such a great baseball player, a major league scout came to see her play. He was very disappointed to discover that Joe, was in fact, Joan. I think her having to watch me play softball was the closest she ever came to feeling disappointment in me. She always looked so sad and puzzled, watching me play.

I am such an uncoordinated lump that school teams have asked to play short a person, rather than pick me. And, a professional dance instructor asked me to stop coming to her adult beginner classes–for which I was paying–because I was holding back all the other beginners. She was sure I had other talents. She was also sure dancing was not one of them. Listen, I was so bad at kickball (kickball!) that in my 4th grade yearbook, the gym teacher inscribed, “Lane, I will never forget the day you caught that ball!” The single day, the single time I caught a ball. It surprised us both. I fell down immediately after catching it.

But, I am good at a couple of things. I am an excellent swimmer. I am powerful and fast, and I just get how that works. I understand how to make my body plow through water like a shark is after me. Maybe because I am always afraid a shark is after me. No, I’m really a good swimmer. I like to pretend I am a spy in a Bond movie, and the fate of the world rests on my being able to swim X distance in Y amount of time. James Bond is very impressed with me. Romance ensues. Hey, it keeps my mind off Jaws, okay?

I am also good at tennis. I was a demon on the tennis court when I was younger, getting in literal hours of practice in my backyard, playing against the brick wall of my parents’ bedroom (until I broke out the window–amazing that it took years for me to do it, but that speaks to my great control, I think.) That’s something else I understand, and find very satisfying, but can’t play once the temperature is above 60. I honestly can’t take the heat. That pretty much kills the sport for me. Who plays tennis in winter?

Probably my best sport has been skating, though. I forget how good I am at that. I took Thor skating today, trying to burn off the cabin fever of the last four days. It’s been a few years since I was able to skate at my own leisure because I’ve had a small person attached to my hip. But today, he was offered a 15 minute lesson, and while he was learning to wiggle backwards, I had time to give the rink a go.

I would never be a very graceful figure skater, but I am freaking fast and powerful. And, again, I just understand what I need to do to fling my body into the air and land again on these little blades. Why I can do that, but can’t manage a layup, I’ll never understand. You put me in sneakers and I am hopeless, but you put me on blades and I just get it. Still, even if I’m not doing tricks (which I love to do, and am stupidly fearless with if no one is watching) I can push and fly around the ice at (also stupidly fearless) high speeds.

I took full advantage of that today. It felt so good! I’m going to pay for it tomorrow. My knees are 40 now, and I haven’t skated full on since my early 30s. I’ve missed it. I had no idea how much.

I do own my own skates…

I do only live 15 minutes from a rink now…

I wonder if they have some advanced classes for the elderly? I’d love to be able to land jumps again.

We have good insurance.

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