Ever since we dropped off our daughter at the local rollerskating rink for a Girls Scout event a couple of weeks ago, she has been begging to return. So tonight, we did.
It’s probably been two decades–at least–since I’ve put on roller skates. I think I went ice skating once, maybe two years ago, but I am pretty sure I was in my teens or twenties the last time I went on wheels.
And you know what? I had a lot of fun. I was somewhat surprised that my body seemed to recall what to do on skates, even after all these years. But I did notice something.
Throughout the night, the woman on the PA system kept calling out special periods on the rink: fast skaters only; couples only; backwards skaters only; and so on. Twice, she asked everyone to come to a full stop, and then reverse directions–instead of skating counter-clockwise, we reversed and skated clockwise.
No big deal, right?
Even more amazing than my body’s ability to remember how to skate: simply reversing directions threw me off entirely. I can’t say what it was, but suddenly, every move seemed tentative, unnatural–and on the brink of catastrophe.
By the second round of “reverse skating” I was feeling a little more confident, but the experience really got me to think about how subtle changes can yield big disruptions. But it also got me thinking about how being uncomfortable isn’t always such a bad thing. It did feel good to skate with ease, no doubt. But at the same time, skating through the awkwardness had its own kind of satisfaction.
Now let’s see what it’s like getting back on skis after twenty years!