Roller Skating as a Microcosm of Life

So my kids have taken up roller skating, which means I have also taken up roller skating.

My daughter actually showed an interest in it a few years ago. We went out and bought skates, went to the local rink a few times, she grew out of her skates not long after she fell out of love with skating and mine began collecting dust at the back of a cupboard.

Now son and daughter are both showing an interest, and ever keen to support a blooming passion that doesn’t involve Roblox or TikTok, we’ve been spending a lot of time at the roller skating rink.

I feel like a bit of a fool showing up with my own skates when it’s a struggle to stay upright, but I do save myself £2 a session, that’s got to count for something, right?

I have the same kind of low level fears related to my own insecurities that I’m sure many parents possess (you do possess them don’t you?! I cry, whilst visibly shaking you by your lapels). I sometimes look at my kids and find myself wishing they’d try harder, or stick at something, or at least be more willing to give something a go that doesn’t involve screens. Such thinking is usually followed by an attack of the guilts and a strong urge to read another positive parenting book.

Yet the past couple of weeks I’ve been amazed at the kids determination and tenacity. They’ve shown me what it’s like when they get truly interested in something. We’ve been to the skating rink more times than is good for my tender bottom, yet no matter how many times they fall over, they still want to go back for more.

When taking breaks from making a fool of myself, I like to engage in a bit of people watching, and it occurred to me the other day that the way people approach skating can be loosely analogous to how we approach life.

The Rail Clenchers: these are the people who can be seen hanging on for dear life, mustering their courage for the short gap where one rail ends and another begins, flailing for balance as they make the transition, before grabbing back onto the safety of the rail in sweet relief. They will do everything in their power to avoid falling over.

It takes these people a lot of time to gather the confidence to let go, but once they do, the rink is lit up by their beaming faces, as they find their skating legs like a new born deer finds its feet.

Slow and steady is their mantra.

The Do or Die’s: these people will fall over an average of once every thirty seconds, but they will not let that stop them. They throw themselves at the task of learning to skate with grim determination, picking themselves up every time they fall over and beginning again. Apart from the frequent tumbles, they can be spotted by the steely glint in their eye and the set of their jaw.

Once the falling has subsided and they begin to keep their feet, they will almost immediately begin to work on speed, pushing themselves ever faster around the rink, a small smile tugging at the corners of that grimly set jaw as they enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Their mantra is, well, do or die.

The Skill Perfecter’s: These skaters show some proficiency for balance from the off, and will use that proficiency to carefully develop their abilities, building each new skill one at a time, only moving on to the next when they feel confident.

Like the rail clenchers, these skaters don’t want to fall over, but are more accepting that they will fall, and that this is all part of the learning process.

Their mantra is, I’ve got this.

The Pro’s: They glide around with an air of self assurance, totally confident in their abilities to weave and dodge between the other occupants of the rink, as the beginners watch on in awe.

These are the skaters that have put in years of practice that the rest of us mere mortals have not been privy to, so that their abilities look almost super human, but they will definitely have started off their skating life in one of the other categories. No one is born a pro.

Their mantra is, weeeeeeee!


Do you identify with any of these categories?  Or maybe you have a suggestion for another category?  Leave me a comment and let me know

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9 thoughts on “Roller Skating as a Microcosm of Life

  1. I’m definitely a rail clencher…. hurts too much falling over. Give me something with an engine and I’m happy.
    Love your observations x

    Liked by 1 person

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