Week two of Adult Learn to Skate  

Canadian Zombies

For the second time I strapped on my son’s helmet and skates and waited with my class for the Zamboni to finish up its last lap of the rink. This time out we have a new instructor: Coach Jigar. "Kristal," he says. "There are no skate aids in my class." This guy is off his rocker. No skate aid? Crazy talk.

Coach Jigar wouldn't budge on the skate aid thing. And, actually, that was okay! Although I needed many breaks, he was able to teach us how to stand up on our own from the ground; how to skate in tiny steps; and even teach us how to glide a bit. We were slow, but we were all doing it! Seven grown adults marching with little baby steps across the ice, arms outstretched in front of us like a pack of Canadian zombies.

Why are we doing this? A question I have been asking myself since last week. I decided it was time to find out. While I was marching along, I asked one of my fellow zombies why on earth she would sign up for this class?

About five months ago, Zenith and her husband welcomed their second child into the world. While on maternity leave, Zenith thought she would take her three-year-old daughter out and learn something new. Zenith and her family are from the Philippines originally, and skating is just not something they do there. No one in her family has been skating before.

After deciding what their great adventure would be, Zenith signed herself and her daughter up for a "parent 'n' tot" course at the local rink. That class only lasted one day. She didn’t realize that the parent needed to be able to skate in order to help their tot. Not wanting to give up, though, they signed up for Canlan's Adult Learn to Skate and Preschool Learn to Skate -- same day, same time, and even same pad. Now Zenith and her daughter get to learn how to skate side-by-side. Admittedly, her preschooler is picking it up much faster than either her mom or I. She may make it to the Olympics just slightly before we do.

By Kristal Kobold Wednesday, January 29, 2020 4:37:31 AM Categories: #Canlancamps

Adult Learn to Skate  

This is how it starts

I have been to countless arenas, bringing children to skating lessons, hockey practices and games. I even made a career of being in an arena. One thing I hadn’t done, though, was actually get on the ice and skate. I figured skating was something you learned young. Since I missed that window of opportunity, it is definitely too late for me to learn now, right?


But then a friend of mine wanted to take skating lessons and asked me to join with her. I am still foggy on the specifics, but somehow it seems I agreed. Apparently, feeling pretty brave that day, I signed up with her and promptly forgot about it. 


Yesterday morning I received a text from her: “Today is our first skating lesson.”


Oh no. I immediately started to worry; I’m not ready for this! In fact, I had already lent my crutches to a co-worker. What would I do after I broke all my bones on the ice?


I tried not to think about it, or I would chicken out. I just drove to the arena, knowing my 12-year-old’s hockey bag was in the back. When I got to Canlan, I got out his skates and helmet. I tried on the helmet. It was too small. “Phew!” I told myself. “You should just leave now. There is nothing to be done about a helmet which is too small.” But, no, I didn’t take that opportunity to run. Instead I went into the Canlan Sports Shop to see Tomm, and we made adjustments to the helmet. 


I went back to the lobby and lined up to check in at the table. That was pretty painless. I used an iPad to sign a waiver. (I could have completed it online beforehand, but that could have given me more time to chicken out before heading onto the ice!) The attendants gave me a free pass for Canlan Drop-In programs. I laughed: as if I would actually be able to come to Drop-In Programs while in traction! Thanks, guys.


Being in the dressing room and tying skates was a breeze—that I’ve done a million times! Actually using the skates, though? That’d be the challenge. I took it slow—tiny steps, two inches at a time—holding on to anything I could. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through this. Surely, I would fall, or just give up. “This is how it starts,” I thought. I took lots of breaks, hoping there’d be a chance to sit and rest. “Why did you agree to this?” I asked myself.


At last, the steps started to come a bit more easily; my confidence began to rise! Finally, I made it to the Player's bench!


On the bench, I met my classmates: other adults who’d made similar questionable life choices (like learning to skate at 40 years old). Some were having issues with their shiny new helmets; others didn’t know how to tie their skates correctly. These were things I did know, and I was happy to lend a hand. As I helped them, I started to feel better about my predicament. I wasn’t alone, I thought to myself. I’ll see some familiar faces in the emergency room, at least.


After the Zamboni was done, the instructor came over invited us all out onto the ice. I took my first step onto the ice. Slippery! I couldn’t let go of the boards; I was certain there was no way I was going to be able to stand on my own. Eventually, though, I did decide to let go—just for a split second—and I didn’t fall! This was amazing! I was skating! (Well, I was standing in a funny knees-bent position with my hands hovering an inch above the boards, anyway.) This is how all past Olympians started, I thought. My classmates and instructor all told me I was doing great. Naturally, I decided I could reward myself with a little rest on the bench. And so it went on like this for the first 15-20 minutes of class: I would go out onto the ice, hold on for dear life, then let go for a second, then head back to the bench. Eventually I worked up enough courage to follow some of my classmates down the side of the ice and back, holding onto the boards the whole way. Each time I went back on the ice, I felt a little more confident. My teacher, Coach Erin, got me a skate aid so I could venture out into the middle of the ice. This was a game changer! By the end of class I could skate fast, slow, kind of stop, and sort of turn and spin. I was whipping around the ice! Toronto Maple Leafs, here I come!


I cannot wait for next week! As I was leaving Coach Erin stopped me. I was sure she was going to tell me I was the best student she had ever had, and she was so impressed at how well I did. “Next week you will need to let go of the skate aid,” she said. Oh no, I thought. I will make sure I bring my crutches with me!

By Kristal Kobold Friday, January 17, 2020 9:47:41 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey #experiences #ice