It is a little known fact that I used to be a figure skater.
Yes, once upon a time I frequented the illustrious Bloomington Ice Garden, where my parents enrolled my brother and I in Saturday morning skating lessons. Naturally, as we’d never been in skating lessons before, they enrolled us in the beginners level.
The only trouble was that the rest of the class consisted of kindergartners.
I was in 4th grade. This is a big deal in elementary school.
And then, to add insult to injury* (*don’t worry mom, I was neither insulted nor injured; just a figure of speech), we didn’t even pass the class. I distinctly remember the stern, grey-haired gentleman with a thick European accent making swift check marks upon the pad of paper he held fiercely as I did my best to display my newly learned skills of Schwizzles (skating while moving your feet in and out) and skating in a straight line, and I recall my horror when he told me I hadn’t passed. I mean COME ON. I mean, I was no Katarina Witt, but seriously. I was 9. To this day I swear I was jipped.
But I digress.
The lessons didn’t really matter. What did matter was the letter that I receieved shortly after my classes ended, inviting all skating lesson participants to take part in the spring skating show, along with the figure skating club (the “clubbers” were the REALLY good skaters).
I was so excited! I remember begging my parents to allow me to participate, but not because I loved skating or wanted to grow in my “craft”.
No. I mean really. I was a 9 year old girl. I’d seen the Olympics. I wanted a cool costume. Something…sparkly…frilly…maybe even pink?!
My parents relented. They paid the little fee and signed me up. I started going to the practices. I was part of a group of skaters who would be performing a number called “Ragtime Rhythm”. The other girls in my group were 5. I was awkwardly tall compared to them. So very awkwardly tall. But “it will be worth it”, I told myself “once I get to wear that beautiful costume, it will be worth it!”.
Finally it happened…I remember well the first time I got to get a glimpse of our groups costumes. I’d seen my friend Jacquie’s costume — a frilly, tassled, pink number that screamed “roaring 20s”. So cute…so pretty. I couldn’t wait to see what mine would be!
Then I saw it.
It was orange.
Shimmery, metallic, orange, with a few black and white sequins on it. And it had…it’s almost so painful to type…a large black and white checkered foof right on the bum.
I was sorely disappointed.
Still, I skated with my kindergarten friends.
And that was the end of my figure skating career. And kind of par for the course for me for the many awkward years to come (ha ha!) 🙂