No matter how long you’ve know somebody or how close you may believe yourselves to be, there are always some things about each other that you may not realize. Beliefs, idiosyncrasies, fears. Any number of surprises waiting to be discovered. Over the past year many of us were faced with the reality of good friends, even family in some cases, that we were much farther apart from politically than ever before imagined.
My wife recently learned something new about me. Not really a secret, nothing intentionally kept from her, but a skill that she had never seen me demonstrate in all of our years together. She found out that I’m a kick ass roller skater.
Some of you are probably laughing right now, and I understand that. This beer belly doesn’t exactly scream athleticism and most days my gait is closer to Fred Sanford than Scott Hamilton.
It may also be that you are too young to understand, coming of age in an era that gave you a wider variety of things to do on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon. If that’s the case, you probably didn’t understand the Fred Sanford reference. You probably don’t know what it means to “shoot the duck” or ever bruised a tailbone showing off to Van Halen’s “Jump.” Your first taste of romance probably wasn’t holding a sweaty hand while couple’s skating to Journey or REO Speedwagon.
If you did, then you understand how cool this makes me. How impressive that after a twenty five year hiatus I was able to lace ’em up and not completely embarrass myself, only falling down once during the three times we’ve gone these past two weeks and not severely injuring myself.
Alaina’s first attempt at following me down this road to awesomeness wasn’t overly successful but I didn’t push her to continue trying as much as I may have another day. As much as I sympathized with the parent’s trying to hold a winter birthday party on Super Bowl Sunday and appreciated that it was held several hours before kickoff, I deemed the risk of an afternoon in Emergency Care too great. Everybody seemed content with cake and the video game options available at the facility so I let it go.
She, however, was not. With yet another birthday party looming at the same place the following weekend, I wasn’t at all surprised that only a few hours later she was asking if we would be able to go back and practice before then. For my local readers, Tri-State Speedway in Dudley, Mass has a rink that is much slower than the one in Plainfield, as well as a go kart track, bumper cars, mini golf and a large soft play obstacle course. As an added bonus, there is a sports bar attached. It was the perfect place to refine her skills.
The practice paid off, as it usually does. She still wasn’t comfortable hitting the hardwood without assistance, but the kid was doing some serious cruising and had to be coerced off the track when it was time for pizza. Once again, she made this dad proud.
There aren’t any more skating parties in the near future, but she’s asking to go back. It’s a great way to get some exercise during these last few cold months and one of our jobs as parents is to pass along our knowledge and skills. Its also more fun than I should probably admit whipping around and reliving my youth. I just need these blisters to heal first.