Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Favorite Athlete: Skating

I am the proud father of a Snowplow Level 1 ice skater. Our Girl finished her first skating class and is more than a little disappointed that she's going to have to wait so long to go again.

Our attempts to expose our daughter to athletic endeavors have met with mixed results. We tried soccer and tennis camps when she was younger but neither really took. The one thing that we have absolutely insisted that she must do is learn to swim and we're working on that. This is not to say that she does not have interests in physical activity. Dancing is already a very big part of her life and I expect it will be for many years to come. Organized sports haven't taken hold with her in the same way.

While I won't be disappointed if she never becomes a jock, I do think it's important for everyone in the Great White North to have a winter sport. Winters are long and intimidating in Vermont and if you don't get out and enjoy it, it's easy to feel trapped. We snowshoe and we've tried cross-country skiing and sledding but nothing was quite as exciting for her as when she went skating with her grandparents in November. She was nervous at first but once she got ahold of a couple milk crates, she could not be stopped. Grandma, the best skater in the family, could barely keep up with her. "This is the best thing ever!," Our Girl could be heard to say. It seemed we had found a winner.

And so, I lobbied for skating lessons as a Christmas gift and she got them. We're starting a bit late. Our Girl is already 6 and I think most, if not all, of the kids in her class are younger. She, however, is not troubled by this. She usually flourishes in a setting where she's the oldest kid and skating has been no exception. She needed a lot of help in the first lesson but by the seventh and final week, was getting around pretty well. I don't think I saw her fall once last night - no small accomplishment with all of the equally inexperienced boys flying around and crashing on purpose.

I don't know where this will ultimately take us. She has said that she has no interest in hockey and I'm a bit surprised that she's not more interested in figures, though as I've written before, she does have another outlet for her artistic side. That lack of interest will be much easier on the family budget. Instead, she seems fascinated by the speed. Will I be driving long hours so she can skate on ovals someday? I kind of doubt it but she's a very determined little girl. Anything's possible.

Far more importantly, from first week to last, Our Girl could be found rushing to offer a hand to a younger skater who had fallen down. Those are the moments that make my eyes well up. I love that she's that kid.

Proud father? Every single day.

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