Growing up afraid to fall made it very difficult for me to learn how to do basic and fun things normal children do growing up like ride a bike, rollerblade or skate… I also never really wanted to try to attempt these activities because I knew it wouldn’t end well. I always thought about getting hurt and how it would affect competition season (being the dancer that I am), so I just simply pushed these things to the side .
My dad however was known to be the star athlete. He was good at every sport and me on the other hand, was not. How sad it made him to think he didn’t pass on any of his athleticism to me as I grew up to be a dainty little dancer. But he really tried to get me to do sporty things as we spent weekends outside playing basketball and soccer, learning how to throw a ball, catch a ball…anything sports related we tried. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps so badly but even though he knew it just wasn’t for me, we always had such fun trying.
We tried year after year to get me on the ice and skate by myself since it was one of his favourite things to do. I had all the help in the world. Between his direction, home-made assistance tools and protective equipment, it wasn’t coming easy. Although I wasn’t terrible I definitely wasn’t good.
Riding a bike was interesting too. We both took a wipe out during this experience, so that should give you a good idea of how that went.
Rollerblading however was a lot of fun. My dad always wondered how I could be a dancer yet couldn’t hold my weight on skates or blades and understand how to balance. He would constantly tell me to pretend I was dancing on my toes…but it clearly didn’t help. My dad always told me to keep my knees bent and go slow. But I never listened. I took one huge wipe out and never took those roller blades out again.
These past few weeks have reminded me about a lot of things that my dad and I liked to do, tried to do and failed miserably at. Although sad and sometimes hard to think about, also uplifting as it reminded me about the good times and the laughter we shared.
This led me to gain the courage to try some of these things out and show him that I can do it! So that’s exactly what I did, starting with rollerblading!
I dug out the rollerbaldes he bought me when I was 12, along with the knee and elbow pads and made my way down to the Lakeshore. It was a beautiful day, as the sun was shinning and the sky was blue I didn’t feel alone. I felt safe because I knew someone was watching over me.
I sat on the bench as my boyfriend helped me tighten my rollerblades and get me up on my feet. As I held his hand, ever so tightly, I took my time with gently strides and reminded myself with every stride to do it for daddy.
This experience was filled with such mixed emotions. I was terrified but excited, I was happy yet a little sad, but with the help of my better half I did it. He too reminded me how proud my dad would have been considering the many conversations they shared about my lack of athleticism. At first I was intimidated as fellow Torontonians flew past me on their bikes and blades, but I kept to myself because I was determined to do this.
I’d like to add, I didn’t fall! I was so impressed with myself but was even happier to know that my dad was with me every stride I took. Probably laughing at me and yelling at me to stop or slow down, I know he was proud because I finally did it. By no means am I a pro, but I’ll get there one day!
Next step will be skating once the winter months roll around. Now that I can assure you will be a site to see, so stay tuned!
On that note, I’m going back this weekend…Wish me luck!