04 March 2011
i don't like ice skating because it's one of those things- like tennis- at which i am an olympic medalist in my head and abysmally bad in real life.
when i was a kid and the mall of memphis was an actual mall and not the DMV, my mother, aunt and i would watch the skaters on the rink in the middle of the food court as we ate our chick-fil-a.
this was memphis, mind you. if you want to get a sense of the climate in memphis, go sit in a sauna for four hours and you've got a good idea. the mere existence of ice- a phenomenon one saw so rarely outside of a freezer- was stunning enough. the concept of winter sports was so alien as to be something one would specifically go to a mall to watch.
we never ice skated at the rink in the mall of memphis. i do not know why. perhaps because, in the mid-80s, the mall of memphis gained a reputation for being the stomping ground of thugs and undesirables. perhaps because i was too young. perhaps because my mom and aunt, for all their we will skate with you some day! enthusiasm, actually feared skating as much as i do now.
i didn't skate until we lived in atlanta, though, as we all know, i did plenty of skating in socked feet. but once i did skate, something was clearly missing. i had started too late. skating would never come easy because i was too old to begin.
katie i. and i went ice skating last night. i fell. so hard that it knocked my hat off and sent it skittering across the ice like a pebble thrown into a pond.
there are these vintage reels of good old dick button that nbc rolls out every winter olympics. he is wearing either a suit and tie or a navy peacoat and khaki pants. he is wearing what we, today, would consider light winter wear and he is skating in the olympic games. it looks as though he was just passing by the rink and decided, on the sly, to skate in.
this is what i always want ice skating to be like. casual. effortless. the winter sports equivalent of an mgm musical, where instead of an acceptance that the hero/heroine will occasionally bust out in plot-forwarding song, there is the expectation that he/she will now and then take to the ice and toss off some insouciant triple loops.
ice skating is never like this. it is the great tragedy of my life that it isn't.
filed under: we all fall down