Staying Cool And Being Cool

There is no better way to stay cool in the summer than to lace up and head to your local Ice Skating Rink. Yes, you read that right. Being no stranger to the world of skating, I often like to take a break from the heat of the summer and head inside for a cool skating session. The Sports Center of Connecticut in Shelton has the best public skating session in the state! Clean, with professional staff and easy to get to. And if skating isn’t your thing, they also have Golf, Mini-Golf, Batting Cages, and Laser-Tag, to name but a few diversions that can get you out of the heat.

Recently, after years of talking to my dear friend Angela about teaching her son Harrison to ice skate, I was finally able to convince him to get on the ice. It was now my responsibility to teach this tall, smart teenager the elements to skating. As the former head coach for the Town of Westport’s Learn to Skate Program for ten years, I actually know a thing or two about teaching – even for his preference to use hockey skates!

In one week I was able to get my new student away from the walls, skating backward, and doing crossovers. Turns out he is a natural. I forgot just how much fun it was to witness the process and to see all those “aha!” moments go off in a student’s head. I can teach anyone, at any age, the process of how to skate, but when you add raw talent the sky’s the limit.

After we had several lessons under our belt, I was asked to take Harrison’s two buddies Matt and Jack along to the skating rink this week; Matt is visiting from Florida, and Jack is a neighborhood friend. Of course, I said yes but I didn’t want to make a big deal of teaching Harrison, as I wanted to play it cool. Rather than embarrass him by bragging, I just let them notice his new skills on their own. It was quite a change for them, as last time they saw him try to skate he was holding onto the walls! I think he was pretty happy with himself.

Truth be told, something else rather great happened that afternoon. In my childhood days, most kids would criticize or make fun of my skating skills because it was not “cool” to be a figure skater. However, these future leaders of tomorrow found it totally cool that this old guy (yikes did I write old?) could not only skate really well, but could also teach and have fun with them. Sure, my once-perfect double axels and double jumps were definitely a thing of the past, but my basic principles of skating were very much intact and admired.

I guess you could say I kept cool by skating indoors, but I felt cool for knowing how to skate. Now that makes it a doubly cool sumMAR, right?

Photo: From left; Harrison, Matt, and Jack.