Monday, December 12, 2011

When Do People Begin To Say, "I Can't Roller Skate?"

So, when does a person begin to say, "I can't roller skate?"  Is that the day they consider themselves an adult?  And what other parts of life are we missing when we accept that we can't?

My granddaughter turned six years old this Spring.  She asked to have her party at the roller rink.  I used to skate every Saturday as a child.  I wondered if I would still be able to skate at 52 years old.  It had been years since I'd tried.

We had such a fantastic time that I took my granddaughter skating several more times over the summer.  It's during the week day schedule so it's a small crowd each time - sometimes only ten skaters.  That works for me - as I am not so good at avoiding crashes when people starting darting in and out amongst each other.  

I found myself fascinated with the grade school age children who spend the entire afternoon trying to skate.  Why aren't they sitting on the side?  They definitely can't skate! 

The kids I watched each week were part of some sort of Summer program.  The two adults in charge would bring them in and then line them up for the count before loading them up to leave.  In the three hours of time in between, they would inch around the rink alone, or with a friend, and then go sit alongside the edge a few minutes before trying again.  They did this week after week.   

I guess no one told them they couldn't skate!  None of them, as far as I could tell, ever decided to just take off the skates and give it up.  None of them pointed out who could skate and who couldn't.  Many of them didn't seem to get any better at it over the Summer.   

At the same rink, there are maybe six adults who sit at tables around the edge and watch.  They "don't skate".   They never put on a pair of skates, never proclaimed that they did or didn't skate, but it was obvious to the children with them that they didn't come to skate.  They came to watch while the children skated.  So, is skating for children?  Is that why fewer and fewer adolescents are skating - its been downgraded to an activity only suitable for young children?

I skated all summer with my granddaughter.  Occasionally, there would be another adult who would skate too.  But, mostly the kids just watched me suspiciously - trying to figure out why I didn't know the unwritten rule, "adults don't skate."  I watched them, wondering how many times I could fall down in one loop around the rink before I would give up.  I have to admit that one time around would have been it for me.  I can't endure failure that many times especially when people are watching.  I don't participate in things where I don't see a good chance of success.

Am I really that afraid of failure?  It seems so.  So what other things am I missing in life because I chose to sit on the sidelines?   I need to rethink some things because even the things I do everyday really don't offer me much chance of success no matter how many loops I make around!

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