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Husband and I passed our stage 5 skating badge this Sunday. \o/

It went like this:

Coach: so Skate Canada changed the rules on us this year.
Me *watches as new guy, who is clearly a beginner, crashes into the boards*: Wow, good thing he's wearing a helmet!
Coach: PRECISELY. Now you mention it...
Me: what?
Coach: ... you need to pass your fifth badge to be allowed to skate without a helmet...
Me: what??
Me: Oh man.

We'd never tested anything so far in skating, though of course there was a fair chance we would have passed a few badges if we'd tried. Badge one, for instance, is "STANDING UPRIGHT ON THE ICE". On a good day, I can totally do that. Most of the time. Ahem.

Badge five started easy. Skating forward in a circle: that's not a problem. Crossovers in a figure eight: we got that one pat down. Backwards pumping: as long as we manage to avoid bumping into each other we're good.

Coach: OK, now for the, erm. Yeah. Well.
Me: the what?
Coach: one-foot spin.
Me: the WHAT?
Coach: OK, can you spin on both feet?
Me *rotates awkwardly on both feet like a penguin looking out for predators*: like this?
Coach: a little faster?
Me *rotates awkwardly on both feet like a penguin on speed*: meep!
Coach: Good enough for me.
Coach: yep.
Me: but...
Coach: You lifted your foot. This piece of sh...paper says you have to lift your foot. You passed.
Me: but...
Coach: do you really want to buy a helmet?
Me: ok. What else do I have to do?
Coach *deep sigh*: a waltz jump.
Me: Oh no.

I spend hours and hours in this arena every year watching my girls and countless other kids jump and fall, jump and fall, and I am always amazed at the speed with which they get back up and TRY AGAIN. It's like they're made out of rubber: elastic kids FTW!

I, however, am 5'10" and not a kid. I am so deeply afraid of heights that just looking down at my feet sometimes scares me. The ground is awfully far away from my head, see. The ground in the arena, being made of ICE, is also insanely hard -- just looking at it and picturing myself going down hurts.

Now, I have not broken a single bone in my life so far. This is the result of a quiet life and a reasonably cautious choice of activities. (Though I realize that this is no garantee of unbroken-ness: I do have at least one friend who leads a perfectly cautious life and still manages to break an average of one bone a year. But then he is famous for his sheer creative clumsiness whenever he attempts anything remotely dangerous, such as walking in a straight line on flat pavement.) If I find it very hard to take ONE foot off the ice at a time, suggesting that I lift both feet off the ice AT THE SAME TIME sounds like an awfully unreasonable idea.

Me: I can't do a waltz-jump. I CAN'T.
Coach: You can do it while holding up to the boards.
Me: but that's chea...
Coach: HELMET!
Me: OK.

Husband, of course, was already competently leaping in the air (that man is disgustingly good at EVERYTHING). I made my way to the boards and warily started practicing.

Coach *looking at Husband and a couple of other hopeful stage fives*: Wow, everybody is doing so well!
Me: I am not letting go of the boards.
Coach: that's okay!
Me *jumps while HOLDING THE FUCK ON with both hands*: THERE.
Coach: YOU PASSED. You don't need a helmet!
Me: YAY!
Husband *skates over*: I have even better news!
Me: what?
Husband: now that you have your stage five badge, YOU CAN TRY OUT FOR THE BEGINNER SYNCHRO SKATING TEAM!
Me: ... what have I done.

Of course, that is not happening. You have to be under the age of twelve to be in the beginner team, see.

Also, it's damn hard to skate in a synchro team while never letting go of the bloody boards.
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