Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cold, hard skating lesson

Today I took CeCe for her first skating lesson.  We had found a class one morning a week that wasn't on a preschool day, so we thought it would work out well.  Since she only has preschool twice a week, we thought it would be good to have something on another day.

All three girls took skating lessons last winter in Saskatoon where things were ran a little more 'loosely'.  There were large classes and a lot of teachers on the ice that broke things down into smaller groups of similar abilities.  They all had fun and they all learned a lot.  The improvement they all showed each year was pretty impressive.  CeCe only had one year in before we moved, but she went from needing a walker to being able to get up and shuffle across the ice.  Her biggest problem is that she gets lazy and would prefer to sit and listen to the teacher as opposed to stand there and balance.

So when we found this class here, I thought it would be perfect.  This was the description on their website:

Lil' Skaters Step 1 (Ages 3 - 5 years)
This class is designed for preschoolers with prior skating experience who are still unsteady and unsure of themselves on the ice. This class is recommended for skaters that can get up off the ice to their feet with little to no assistance from parents.

They use the word lil' in the title of the class.  How serious could it be?  The answer is 'quite.' We had a small class today - only four kids came out, but there are only five registered.  That should make for a lot of one on one instruction time, right?  Not so much.  

The instructor introduced herself in a thick Eastern European accent.  She listed her credentials - certified power skating instructor, figure skating instructor, speed skating instructor, roller skating instructor, in-line skating instructor...okay, maybe I added a few, but the list was impressive.  She then said how all kids learn at different paces and that's okay.  (maybe she's not so bad)  Her son wanted nothing to do with skating until he was four.  Every time they took him to the ice he would sit down and cry.  Then one day he just took off.  Now he's nine, plays AAA hockey and is the best skater on the team.  Gulp!  Then she sat all the kids down on the bench to inspect their skates.  She told me that CeCe's blades were too rounded and she would have trouble.  She then said that knee pads were mandatory (website said optional) and face masks were strongly recommended.  (When she says strongly recommended, it feels like mandatory.)  Then she said that all children were required to be able to stand up on their own, and they would be working on rudimentary skating skills - forward, backward, cross-overs.  Gulp!  I looked over at the two moms beside me.  They gulped.  She said that parents would be allowed to stay at ice level for the first couple of lessons and then they would be required to stay behind the glass.  She then pointed to her eyes and said that was so she had their attention.  Gulp!  Moms gulped! 

Finally the class began.  I looked at the two moms and we all wondered if our kids would be allowed to stay.  The lively 'ring around the rosey' playing over the sound system seemed in sharp contrast to the mood on the bench.  Before long, she was back at the bench confirming that CeCe had in fact taken lessons and could stand in these skates.  (She had a serious hate on for non-Bauer skates.)  I said yes.  Gulp!  The moms gulped for me.  A few minutes later she was back at the bench with some grippers for my shoes so that I could help CeCe out.  One other little girl had to have a parent help too, but she was better than CeCe.  At first CeCe didn't want me out there.  But as the lesson dragged on, she leaned on me more and more and just wanted it to be over.  By this time, so did I.  

After the lesson, she asked the other mom if she would be comfortable going on with her daughter a couple more lessons. She then asked me what I wanted to do.  I said we would try it for a while.  She asked if we would change skates.  Gulp!  I said yes.  Reluctantly she nodded.  I guess we're on probation?  No improvement and we'll be sent down to the minors - parent and tot lil' skaters. I've never really been that intimidated by a child's instructor before.  

It's no wonder athletes were so good during the cold war.  Later.  

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