Over the past two weeks, my inline skating fitness journey has continued apace, with all the period fervor of the reunion tour for your favourite ‘90s band. After researching how to choose the right skates and the right gear and brushing up on the fundamentals, I planned to close out my Lifehacker Fitness Challenge by mastering a few skills I’d never picked up back in my skating prime. Instead, I would end up having fun sharing the sport with the next generation.
As the parent of a grade-school-aged child, I am very aware that my relationship with “cool” is a precarious one. I’m OK with that. If it was up to old people to dictate cool, we’d all still be, I don’t know, wearing wide-legged jeans. (Oh, wait.) So I fully expected my kid to tell me how deeply uncool it was to see me skating around at the park, practicing my moves.
But as I worked through the final three steps of Get Rolling: The Beginner’s Guide to Inline Skating (for more on that, see my previous post), something else happened: My daughter got excited about skating herself.
Now, I can’t take total credit. This isn’t my first day as a parent, and I know she cares just as much what her friends think (and soon, more). She’d mentioned wanting skates a few times in the past, but every time she’d try a friend’s pair, she would get frustrated at the difficultly she had finding her balance or managing to move. Once my sleek new pair arrived, though — and she saw me strapping them on — she quickly grew more interested.
A school event held at a skating rink proved the perfect motivation for both of us. She’d been planning to use traditional roller skates, but decided inline skates were the way to go (smart move — it’s way easier). I procured her a pair, and some safety gear, and we hit the park two weeks out from the skate party to practice. At first she was tentative on her wheels, clinging to my hand as she shuffled across the pebbled concrete. Every 15 minutes or so, she’d rest, and I’d let go of her hand to skate around, practicing my own moves. “You’re really good,” she observed. That felt nice.
After a few more practice sessions, we suddenly were at the rink with all her friends, and she was thrilled to be able to skate without stressing about it, while I was free to zip around among the other slow-moving kids and parents, feeling just like my 16-year-old skater boy self again. Yes, I felt cool because I was a better skater than a bunch of little kids. No, I’m not proud. (I’m a little proud.)
Working with my kid did take my focus off my skill development. Though I did attempt a few jump turns (Lesson Four), I didn’t drill them hard enough to do them with confidence, and I didn’t move on to the rest of the lessons in the book. But I don’t care. Sharing my enthusiasm for the sport with my daughter seems like a much better use of my time — and makes it much more likely I’ll keep up with it long after this month has ended.