Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jack Hath Skated, and Well

IN 2004, in the midst of raging obsession and outright mania, this post would have been extensively researched, and laced with pictures, video, and really iffy anecdotes.  Plato would have been quoted.  It likely would have been the first of a five part series.

Jack has skated.  Ice skated.  Twice.

Don't fret, I'll give you The Philosophy and Art of Hockey:  A Personal Statement someday.  But let's just say for now that I have been waiting many, many years to take the photo above.

So they put up this makeshift ice rink in The New Town every winter.  It's south Texas, so I naturally use the term winter uh, liberally.  I had seen the place go up and then be taken down for a few years, but had not been in to skate.

But this year I finally got my tookus in there on a very cold day to scout it out.  And to see if daddy had any legs left, there was that.  It was probably mid 40s inside, with me and three other people, one of them the hockey-playing skate guard dude.  We talked shop.

I wanted to avoid Jack having my first experience with a public rink (old, oatmealy Prestonwood in Dallas).  It was great fun, what with the ill-fitting medieval torture devices disguised as rentals, and two hours of hugging the wall, soaked from the waist down.  Yeah.

But this was magnificent.  The cold air in your lungs, on your face, numbing your feet through the black plastic toe guards.  I looped for a half hour, shaking off the rust.  The rink (and my legs) had passed inspection.  Dad's still got it, man.

A few days later after work, I picked Jack up and grabbed his Union Jack helmet.  Off we went.  He was superduper excited, but was patient as I laced him down into the (very good) rentals.  I mean, they actually looked comfortable.  Didn't see any rusty nails sticking out of them, or anything.  I put some dinky little worthless kneepads on him just to pass the Look! This Man Is A Seemingly Responsible Dad sniff test.

And he loved it.  Loved it.  They had the foresight to provide these little metal walkers (they look exactly like what you just imagined).  But darned if he would occasionally ditch the walker and go out on his own.  He looped a few times with me in the role of the left-behind walker.  Sometimes Jack felt it necessary to just see if the old man could skate and hold him by one arm in midair (yes) or if I might be persuaded to say, fall if he suddenly... FLUNG HIMSELF BACKWARDS LIKE THIS (no).

I think his favored mode of locomotion was locking his arms into the walker, letting me push him swiftly around the rink like the world's most poorly designed lawnmower.  Speaking of contraptions, the Zamboni was also a huge hit.  He's now well versed in ice rink management and water phase changes.  Gotta teach 'em early.  There was some disappointment when I couldn't wrangle him a ride on the thing.  Clearly, I don't know folks in high enough places.

He spent a lot of his time on the 16x16 kids' rink.  This was because there was a SUPERIOR buildup of snow over there, so snowballs were made.  One snowball was thrown.  One itty bitty snowball may have clobbered a little girl in the face.  A certain fourpointfiveyearold may have been threatened heartily.

We realized too late that his head, at some point over the last month or six, had outpaced his helmet (see pictures).  It's the thought that counts.  But there were no catastrophes, no crying, no blood, blisters, head injuries, water-soaked jeans, no mental scarring.  He did remarkably well in doing something that is patently unnatural for humans to do.

And I am so very proud of him.


Bebe said...


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post. Beats Plato hands down. No doubt. I have never been very good at ice skating--the last time I ventured onto any was my Freshman year at Harding--and it was accidental and involved the breaking of a bone that I use DAILY and involves SITTING. So ice is not my fave--but this almost, very nearly made me want to at least go and watch you both.