Things to Note for First-time Skaters
Notes from a first-time skater.
I went skating for the first time ever with an African Association in my school and I had a cocktail of emotions that I was feeling before, during and after skating. What I had imagined in my head was like the ones in the movies where the guy holds the girl or the girl hold the guy and one of them falls in such a pleasant way but my reality was far from that. So, I’m going to be dropping some things that I learned in my first skating experience.
1. Go with people you know: One thing I found out was that people on the ice rink really don’t care about you and so, you can get frustrated as a first-timer when you're seeing everyone just zoom past you. I was moving so slowly that I expected someone to help and say "this is the technique" or something like that. I was a quarter way in the rink before one guy who worked there, kind of showed me the technique and even though I still was not getting it right, at least he cared enough to show me the ropes. The people I went with had skated before, so I was always the last person at each round. They were kind enough to wait for me at certain junctions just enough time for me to catch my breath. Now, imagine if I didn’t go with anyone. It would have been horrible.
2. Choose the figure skates: The guy at the collection point asked me what type of skates I would like to wear and I was super confused because I did not know there were different types of shoes. I turned to the girl beside me and asked her and she was like "girl, I don’t know." It was at that point I knew I was on my own. The register guy said if I’m a new skater, I should go with figure skates, that they’re easier than the roller skates. So, don’t go looking clueless dear first-timer, just say "I'll have the figure skates."
3. Use the skating aids!!: Again, I emphasize go with people. So, one of the people I went with told me I should the red skating aid. I imagined I was going to bend over for a long time if I used it and I told her I didn’t want to. Thank God she convinced me to use them because even with them, I moved one step per minute. I was moving at the speed of a snail. My first step on the rink was not fun, at all. It felt like I was going to fall and break my head and scatter my teeth and at that point, I felt like just giving up and leaving the ice rink but I didn’t! And I’m glad I didn’t. I used the skating aids and I eventually started moving like the wind (that's a lie) I was able to faster after a few more rounds.
4. Falling is all in your mind: Allow yourself fall. Seriously, allow the fall. Now, I had many moments that I would have fallen but for some reason, I didn’t fall. I know me telling you to allow yourself fall when I didn't fall sounds ironic but because I was being too conscious of falling and tightening all my muscles, I'm still in pains days after my first time skating. I was over controlling the whole experience and was sweating profusely. I saw experienced skaters falling and it looked fun, but there’s nothing fun about an inexperienced skater falling. It could be embarrassing. So, even though falling is all in your mind, if you must fall, make sure it's not too nasty.
5. Go at your own pace: After going around the rink twice, I started to get the hang of things. I was beginning to get the rhythm and was beginning to overdo it and guess what? No, I didn’t break my ankle, I almost did. I was trying to catch up with the people I came with at the expense of my precious knees and ankles. I remember we had a race where I was given a head start, but they still beat me to it, lol. After a few experiences at almost breaking my ankle, I realized that my safety mattered more than winning the race, so I moved at my own pace.
6. Have fun!!!: You won’t at first, but when you get the hang of things, please have fun. Having fun is free and honestly, you’re probably not going to see or remember the faces of the people who were in the rink with you. So be free to fall, to laugh and have maximum fun on the ice.
I was happy I went. I laughed, I panicked, I sweat profusely, I shivered, but I took baby steps in doing something I had never done before and I think you should too. So, go out and try something new today while I go nurse my aching joints.