An afternoon of ice skating is one way to have fun

December 30, 2005|by Lisa Tedrick Prejean

It was with some trepidation that I slipped my feet into a pair of rented ice skates on a recent afternoon.

Hoping that was the only "slipping" my feet would do that day, I headed toward the ice with my 6-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

They could barely contain their excitement. School was out for the holidays, my daughter's friend had invited her to the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex and they were eager to hit the ice.

And hit the ice they did.

They kept track of how many times they fell. His final count? Seven. Hers? Five. Mine? Zero.

I have to admit it. I wasn't as adventurous as they were. There's something about reaching the age of 40 that makes a person cautious. That's my excuse anyway.


On my first trip around the ice, a nagging question seemed to slow me down. (Did you really drink enough milk in your younger days? Just how strong are your bones? I certainly didn't want to find out the hard way.)

It's funny how people say you become more like your parents as you age, and that was so true on the ice. I not only felt like my mom, being extra cautious on the ice. I started to sound like my dad, encouraging the kids to experiment a bit.

The contrast of the two made me smile. Here I was telling them to try what I wasn't about to try because I'm the mom and I'm 40 and I have to be responsible, blah, blah, blah.

But the words coming out of my mouth didn't quite match my actions: "You'll never learn to skate if you don't let go of the rail. Don't pick up your feet as if you are walking, allow them to glide across the ice with a stroking motion."

I remembered my dad saying similar things to me when I was a child. The difference was that he could show me basic techniques and neat tricks. It had been so long since I was on skates that I barely was away from the rail myself when I told my daughter to loosen her hold of it.

Perhaps I should have listened to her complaint about the fit of her skates. They were too tight on her toes, she said. I told her they should fit snugly.

After our skating trip, I did some reading about skate sizes. If toes feel cramped, a larger size skate should be worn, according to the Montgomery County Park and Planning Web site,

The site also suggests that skates be one-half to one size smaller than the skater's shoe size. Skates should be unlaced before being put on, and then tightly relaced. Only one pair of thin socks or tights should be worn. If a skater's heel lifts up and down or there is inadequate ankle support, smaller skates should be worn.

Skaters should dress in layers that allow for movement. That's a suggestion from the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex Web site,

The site also reminds skaters to wear gloves. Students younger than 6 years old should wear a bike or hockey helmet. Figure skates are suggested for first-time skaters since the blades are longer and provide more stability. Switch to hockey skates after you've had several successful lessons in figure skates and have learned balance and control, the site recommends.

While at the rink, I learned not to walk on concrete in ice skates. Concrete can damage the blades.

It was such a relaxing afternoon, gliding around the ice with my children. I'm glad we took the time to go. Sometimes we get so caught up in work and other responsibilities that we forget to have fun with those we love.

We might even head back to the rink this winter. Hope to see you there!

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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