My Experiences Learning to Skate

Some people may roll their eyes at team building days at work, but last week our team participated in an event that was actually fun. The company booked a private function room in Melbourne at an ice skating rink. We did some activities, had a bit of a laugh, and then it was time to get on the rink and have a crack at skating. I was a little daunted at first because I have no experience with any type of skating, but once we got into that cold rink area, I couldn’t wait to have a shot. The first step was putting on the skates and practicing to walk on a rubber mat. This helps you get used to the feeling of the skates on your feet and getting your balance. I felt a bit like a clumsy penguin but it was a good laugh.

When we finally got onto the ice, I was eager to start doing laps like those graceful figure skaters on TV. The reality was nothing like that. As soon as I tried to stand on the ice I slipped and fell backwards. The team erupted in laughter. Then the instructor came by and showed me how to practice walking along the edge of the rink, holding onto the fence until you get the hang of it.  Soon my confidence was building again and I was able to release my hold on the rails. I was wobbly, holding out my arms like an unstable aeroplane, but finally I was skating! The trick is to bend your knees a bit and lean slightly forward. It’s also important to keep your body loose and relaxed, because when you’re rigid you quickly lose your balance. I never thought that I could learn ice skating as an adult but I was wrong. It was a rewarding experience in which I learned a new skill and had a boost in self-esteem. I also had a great time bonding with my fellow team mates through laughter and games. It was such a fun day, and my body had a good ache afterwards!

Disney on Ice

Last nIce skating Melbourneight we went to Disney on Ice with our kid. Yeah, I know, it’s a pretty standard, money-making tactic on behalf of yet another big corporation, exploiting their fans and their fame to sell us more things we don’t need. I understand all of that, and in an act of rebellion make a point of any watching pirated films (my own small, revolutionary move) but try explaining the problem with capitalism and consumerism to a six year old. The only thing he was interested in was seeing Goofy on the ice, not sitting through one of my lectures.

The show was fine I guess, which basically means that Ralfie seemed to be having a good time, but on the way home we ran into an entirely different problem. The first thing he said when he we got into the car to go home was “Daddy, can we have my birthday party there?” I was stunned.

Ralfie’s birthday is about a month away but I didn’t even register he’d gotten old enough to notice that kind of passing of time. Geez, they just grow up so fast, you know? More than that, though, I was taken aback by his (relatively) simple request. I mean, I have been looking at kids party venues for the past week or so, just trying to work out how to deal with as many children as he wants to invite with minimal effort on the part of me or my wife. But I hadn’t even considered having it at an ice skating rink. I mean, I’m sure there’s an ice skating rink in Melbourne that probably do acts as kids birthday party venues in Melbourne, but I have no idea where they’d be.

That can be easily fixed, though. I can ask around a bit at work, I know one of the guy’s kid had a birthday at an indoor soccer centre, maybe they had a look at ice skating. If not, I can always just Google it.