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Let's get this out there now: I can skate. I learned on my own going to public skates a few times a year and rollerblading at the park near my folks house. I can go a decent (if not blazing) speed. I taught myself how to crossover and can cross my right over my left well and left over right ok. (Most public skates go counter-clockwise so I've practiced a lot more that direction.) I never have been able to figure out how to go backwards, and my stopping has always been quite suspect. I'm not a good skater, but when I got to public skates I usually hold my own and felt "average".

But I want to learn how to skate backwards, and stop better so I thought signing up for an Adult Skating course at the local ice rink would be pretty helpful. Thursday I went up to the local rink and went to sign up for the "Adult #2" course (out of 4 skill levels).  I talked to the lady and asked her if that was right after telling her my skill level.

"You can't skate backwards? No you want Adult  Skate #1"

Ok then. Humbling experience number one. I am not a good skater. I am a novice. But I still feel ok and show up Saturday for my first real Adult Skating Lesson. Adult Skating Lesson. Adult is the key word in those last two sentences.  So imagine my surprise when I put on my skates, head to the rink and see a bunch of children getting ready to skate. So I ask one of the instructors, who looks like Roberto Luongo: "Am I in the right rink for Adult skate lessons?"

"Yup, come on out". I am so not pumping his tires.


So I head out on the ice with a bunch of children (the oldest is probably 13, but most in the 6-9 year old range) and start skating when I notice that not only are they all children, but they are all little girls (save one other male, probably 10 or so). But at least the parents in the stands are about my age. At least as I'm skating along I'm holding my own and even passing some of the little girls.

Luongo yells "Ok everyone, backwards!"

"Oh no" I think to myself (I would have said "Oh shit", but hey there's way too many little girls around for that kind of language.)

I then proceed to fall flat on my ass.

Any delusions about my ability have now been completely erased. I start going backwards and just to rub it in the little girls pass me as if I'm standing still, which really isn't that far off. (Or they were concentrating on their own skating and not paying any attention to me, which is probably more accurate).  At this point I at least notice another adult IS in the class (turns out she decided to take the class with her ~13 year old daughter)

We break off into groups based on our ability, and I am placed with the other adult adult (good) and four little girls who, if they sat on each others shoulders, might be as tall as me (bad). Luongo is no longer my instructor. When we did the drills it became very clear that I wasn't ready to do the same drills as a 6 year old so I went to the other face-off circle and skated in circles (which is what we were supposed to be doing, but over there me and the other adult weren't getting in the little girls way)

Then, when we are practicing turning from forward to backwards and I was placed along the wall so that I didn't crash.

So my lesson for the day: the only way I will learn to skate is through a giant spoonful of humilty. I can't wait to go back Thursday and take my second lesson.