When I was in fourth grade, I went rollerskating every Friday night. Every Friday night. My mom dropped my sister, brother and me to the rink and left for a couple hours and then picked us up. Sometimes, she stayed and waited, hand bag slung over her arm, watching with worry. (Thanks, mom!) After awhile, my sister and brother didn’t want to go, so I’d be dropped off alone. When I first started, I fell. A lot. I held onto the walls and fell and got back up. Pretty quickly, I gained my balance and before you know it, I was the fastest skater out there. I couldn’t get enough of it. Overhead, we had the disco ball, the strobe lights, the BeeGees! It doesn’t get much better than that, people!
I still go rollerskating now, four decades later. My daughters won’t go. They don’t enjoy it. Neither does my husband. So, once again, I skate alone. I go hard for an hour and then I go home.
I went today and many kids were using this, in record numbers:
It’s called a “skatemate”.
One boy using a skatemate fell and his dad ran out on the rink (with shoes on) and picked his son up. He ran behind him, pushed him gently to give him a bit of acceleration and then he left the floor. Not much later, his son would fall again. Out came dad, running to pick his son up. Mind you, his son was about 9, probably a fourth grader. I was impressed by the father’s sprint, his unwavering attention to his son and his intention. Clearly, he cared. But maybe he cared too much about the wrong thing.
I’m pretty sure his son is going to take a long time to learn how to rollerskate. I mean, what with the physical crutch of the skatemate and then the mental crutch of being constantly rescued, he doesn’t get to practice much.
Learning often necessitates frustration, time and yes, pain. But the rewards are well worth it.