Tomorrow Noah and I will be lacing up for the third time this season. We’ll be skating round and round and round the ice surface at Cole Harbour Place – Sid the Kid’s old haunt. We had a couple of sorties last winter. They were outdoors at Frog Pond and the Kiwanis Park on the Caldwell Road. They were not overly successful venues to actually getting our hockey mad lad to learn how to skate.
After just two times this year, the learning has gone exponential. Earlier in the week he was out on the ice for a solid 45 minutes. He keeps his balance through the age old Canadian tradition of leaning on a chair. On two occasions he went half way around the rink without falling. When he does lose it – the balance that is – 30 or 40 times a session, he’s a real champion about picking himself up and dusting himself off. So far, he’s managed to retain his patience, his sense of humour and not get discouraged. By my estimation, Noah will be skating unaided by props within the next few weeks.
We’re fortunate that the rink is virtually deserted during the morning public skate hour. There are no worries of Noah getting inadvertently knocked over by a passing skater as he veers off any semblance of a course and winds up going opposite the prevailing direction. There are quite a few other kids using a chairs as props also. He’s not alone and this is a good feeling.
He’s excited about his accomplishments to date as am I. I think he’s doing fantastic but I’m not sure if I’m providing him much beyond encouragement. Right now it’s about Noah-David getting comfortable out on the ice. The fact that he never wants to leave is a pretty good indicator that this one is just about in the bag. The letting go of the chair and general teaching to skate will be the hardest part. My dad did a fine job teaching me even though he never clapped eyes on a pair of skates until he emigrated to Canada from Scotland in his early 20s.
I’m sure Noah and I will sort things out. There are some helpful sites to give parents a hand. Canadian Parent has an excellent article on Teaching Your Toddler to Skate. Wondertime also provides some practical tips. I’ll be putting some of these into practice tomorrow.
Noah is fast like an éclair he says – a bolt of lightening. Given a little time and some practice, I have no doubt that Noah will be able to give even Anthony Lobell a run for his money.
On your marks, get set, go… Watch out Olympians.