My fear of ice skating is deep-seated and completely reasonable. The likelihood of falling, bruises, and accidental throat slitting by the skate of a passerby is ever present in this ridiculous winter sport. Naturally, when I spoke of this fear to my friends, they insisted that ice skating be bumped to the top of the ColeTries to-do list. Joy.
Perhaps thinking that the fun of our yearly “Friendsmas” would season my mind for the torture to come, my friends planned to take me to the rink the day after our overloaded gift exchange. After all, it’s hard to be scared when you’ve just unwrapped an ocarina and a doll that looks just like you (see below). Still, the morning of our planned skating endeavor, I was terrified. We were about to ruin a gorgeous winter day with assured injury…possibly even death.
As we approached the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon, my terror slightly subsided. The ribbon was abandoned. We looked at the ice through the flurries of gigantic snowflakes and saw a zamboni, slow and steady, gliding across the ribbon. We had to wait about a half hour for the zamboni to finish its run, giving us plenty of time to rent skates, pee four times due to nerves, and continually lose our hold on reality out of sheer terror. Walking on skates was no treat, either.
Finally, the crowd started to gracefully alight the ice and fly around the path. Many of them had made multiple laps by the time I could even step onto the ice. But step I did, and fall I did not (yet). I held firmly to the railing for most of my first few laps. After I was comfortable enough to stand up, I felt invincible and just wanted to go fast, like the six-year-old who kept passing me without even a glance. This usually ended in a rushed, clumsy stumble to the railing after a short burst of yelling out of frustration, which Erin (rightfully) did not appreciate, and which I apologized profusely for after the whole ordeal was over.
My one and only fall happened out of pure chance–a routine stumble sent me careening towards the railing (I stayed close to it out of instinct), but this time I just couldn’t reach it. I fell flat on my stomach and Erin, who was skating behind me, ended up with one skate on either side of my body. My worst nightmares were coming true. She was going to cut my throat with a skate. I yelled multiple times for her to move, sure my death was imminent. She obliged (kindly, I might add), and helped to lift my shaking form back to its feet.
It took me a while to regain my confidence after that near death experience, but by the end I could kinda-sorta glide along without too much trouble. I was especially adept at sitting down and drinking hot chocolate–an idea I vehemently supported once Dylan suggested it.
We finished our last few laps and, after a short struggle to get my skates off, walked through a slightly-less-slippery Chicago winter and went about our merry way. In my next post, I do something a lot less terrifying, but much more foreign.
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