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My Forward Crossover

Crossovers are the way skaters move around corners and the ends of a rink. Mastering forward crossovers make a figure skater better and faster.

Recently, I went out to celebrate the holidays with co-workers. Part of the night turned into a “Team Building” exercise filled with lots of laughs. We went Ice Skating. When this was first proposed, I thought it was a joke, but chose to play along. As the night got closer, I realized no one was joking. Uh oh-we are going skating! I have vague recollections of ice skating on a neighbor’s pond when I was a kid. I think I was probably ten. I am almost 47 now –Do the math.. That was a LONG time ago. My first reaction was I can’t do this, because I have a bad back and if I ever fell I would be screwed.

But then I thought – Don’t fall.

So we get to the ice skating rink and part of me was still hoping it was a joke, but as everyone laced their skates, the reality set in – it wasn’t a joke, we were doing this. I was doing this. Recently, I have been taking more chances. In the past, I would overanalyze a situation and in the end talk myself out of it. I have been working on not doing that. So far this year, I have jet skied, parasailed and now ice skating. All new things to me, that scared the hell out of me. What I have learned from each experience is that everything “bad” I thought could happen - didn’t happen. So I am learning to take more chances. I am learning to enjoy the journey and not focus on all the “what ifs?”

So I rented my skates. They were bright white with not a scuff on them. I think I was the first one to ever wear them. So after I laced them up, I stood up. Ok, I thought “still standing”. Then I walked over to a co-worker. “Hey! Look at me. I didn’t fall” Now I know this is the easy part, but for me it was the first success of the night. We had to wait for the rink to open. As I looked around at everyone waiting, I realized that I was probably one of the few that did not know what the hell she was doing. Most of the others there were kids! Ugh I am going to be shown up by pre-teens. Then I changed my thought – “Who cares?”

Once they opened the rink, we walked to the ice and got on. Still standing. WOO HOO! I grab on to the side of the rink and realize I have no idea how the hell to skate. And I mean no idea how to move forward. So I start by just pulling myself by the edge and gliding. I think to myself, “This is going to take a long time to get around this rink”. One of my co-workers skated close to me. Finally I asked him to pull me around because I thought at this rate, I am getting nowhere. So he does that for a little while. Then I attempt on my own, still holding on to the edge. Every time I tried to let go, I got a little wobbly and felt I was going down.

Then my boss tried to show me what I needed to do. He was showing me how I had to push off on one skate and not “walk”, as I seemed to have been doing. He kept showing me and I just couldn’t get it. It was like my body just could not do what it was supposed to. But I kept going around, still holding on to the side. I was on the ice and I was participating even if it was at my own very slow speed…

As I was coming up to the end of my first time around (I think everyone else was at least 2 laps ahead of me), there was a group of kids huddling around the side. “OH NO”, I thought what do I do, I can’t hold on to the side, if they are in my way. I can’t scream, “MOVE”, or can I? “Ok. You can do this”, I thought. I pushed off and went around them. “Look no hands”. After I got around them, I quickly grabbed the side again. Phew. Safety!

My co-workers kept trying to explain how to skate and I just was not coordinated to do this, but then I found something that worked for me. I pushed with my left leg and led with my right. I got into a “groove”. But I realized I could not switch legs. I could not push off with right and glide with my left. This put a ton of pain and pressure on the left leg. No matter how I tried, I could not get coordinated to switch. After a few more laps, I had to decide to get off the ice, because my knee was really bothering me.

So it got me thinking, “How often do we do the same thing in the same way even if it doesn’t suit us?” There are things in our lives that do not benefit us or can hurt us, yet we can’t or don’t change. I learned that the continued pressure on my left leg really hurt and because I could not change legs, I had change something else and that was to get off the ice. Now I would have much rather been able to switch legs, but I knew enough to choose another path that would not hurt me. Getting off the ice was the only option that would not hurt me.

How often do we stay on the same path in life even when it does not suit us or hurts us? We keep old behaviors that can hurt us. We stay in jobs, marriages, friendships etc. that may not be good for us. I realized that when I could not change legs to stop the pain in my knee, I still had to take an action that was good for me. That action was to get off the ice. I think in the past I would have kept going because I cared what others thought instead of what was best for me.(who am I kidding – in the past I probably wouldn’t have even gotten on the ice) I had to make a conscious decision to do what was right. Even though I was having fun with my co-workers and didn’t want to be the first off the ice, I had to get off, because that really was what was best for me.

How often do we do the same thing because we worry about what others think? How often do we not do what is best for us just because others have an expectation? We need to have expectations for ourselves and not worry about others expectations of us.

I had a conversation with someone recently and I realized I am an all or nothing person. If I cannot do it all or know everything about what I need to do, then I tend to find excuse to not do it. Then she asked me, “How is that working for you?” Well I guess it’s not, because it is holding me back. So I decided that I need to change my behavior. This behavior left me out of a lot of experiences because I would talk myself out of them or try to do everything all at once and then decide that was too much. That one little question has made a big impact on me.

Truth be told, I had no interest in skating. I hate winter. Therefore anything winter related does not appeal to me. But what I did want to enjoy was the experience. I wanted to share the laughs with my co-workers. I wanted to at least say I tried it. At no point could I skate without being near the edge, but who cares? I wasn’t there to train for the Olympics. I was there have an experience.

When I first got on the ice, I was concerned about what others thought of me. Then I realized I did not care, I was not there for any other reason other than to say I did not talk myself out of doing it. My co-workers encouraged me and said I did well. I can’t say I skated well, but what I did do well was – TRY!

As we left the rink, we passed two men that worked there. They both looked at me and said – “Good Job”. I am sure they got a few chuckles watching the grown woman being shown up by a bunch of pre-teens, but I bet they also thought - Good for her – she tried!

I know that is what I thought!

 I still don't really know what a forward crossover is... But I mastered something that night that made me better.....

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