Today was the first day of my skating lessons. I took beginner’s skating for adults at this time last year, yet did not follow up in January since I was out of commission for three weeks at the beginning of this year recovering from an inguinal hernia operation. Mark and I kept up with skating practice at a rink near him though, and the last time I hit the ice was in early March, following a Scrabble benefit in downtown Toronto.
The beginner’s class was comprised of about thirteen adults, and like last year, we were asked to perform certain drills and do certain moves so that the instructors could place us into our appropriate skill (or lack of skill) level. Yesterday night I consoled myself into accepting that I might be put into the lowest level again, as I am no expert and I last laced up six months ago. I was ecstatic when the assessor pointed to me and told me to stay right where I was: I was to be in the second class. My instructor from last year is teaching the next level this time, therefore I have the same teacher.
I have been looking forward to lessons for months, and you’d swear it was Christmas Eve last night because I kept waking up before the alarm. I cycled to the rink and from the time I left my house to the time I was all ready and laced up on the bench, ready to take the ice, it only took 22 minutes. We did some new moves that were not covered (or barely covered) in the first level of beginner’s skating last year: cross-cuts (or crossovers). I managed to do cross-cuts taking turns with both feet, and was not scared of knocking my feet together or falling down. It helped to listen to the instructor and apply what he said. That sounds trite, yet the biggest fear to overcome when doing cross-cuts is not to look down at the ice as you switch your feet. Once I decided I would trust the instructor and look straight ahead, I found that I could do the cross-cuts with greater ease. There are three others in my class and they had less of an easy time doing cross-cuts. I also managed to get down my stopping, yet I still can’t stop on a dime. After thirteen lessons last year, I could not master the art of stopping, and relied on the boards every time. Today I needed the boards only once, and that was for the first time I tried to stop. Future lessons will include how to do backwards cross-cuts, yet I have to work on my basic backwards skating first.