Friday, 13 April 2012

Making The Best Of It.

It's frustrating to me that I haven't quite found 'the' place to skate
outside of my twice weekly classes. No doubt I have some high ideals.
It needs to be close to home, with a good quality surface that
preferably is as flat as possible, a decent size and generally free
during school hours.

I have tried 1/2 a dozen different parks, basketball courts and
general concreted areas but so far I haven't found anywhere that rocks
my world.

But luckily I'm nothing if not inventive.

Earlier this week the kids and I went to a skate bowl. The actual bowl
was writhing with tweens on skateboards and scooters but next to it
was a 'basketball' court. I use the term basketball court liberally
because it was so full of pot holes, cracks and general flotsam that
getting any sort of skating in seemed impossible. There were also two
huge muddy puddles, a metal bar from some old signpost and some faint
markings that may have once marked out a court but had long been
forgotten. I was frustrated! Here I was, skates on looking at the
beautiful surface on the bowl but I was unable to join (unless I
decided I was good enough to suddenly do stunts).

Then I had an idea! I decided to use the obstacles like a course.
Jump the pole, skate between the puddles, and don't roll over any of
the green lines. This gave me an opportunity to practice my hops,
weaving, small jumps and generally pretend that every obstacle was a
fallen derby girl I was trying not to hit. It was fun and challenging
and as much as I won't be heading back there in a hurry it was a good
experience to have.

Yesterday I took the kids to a park with a basketball court I have
used a few times. The surface is a bit rough but mostly clean of
holes. But it's a busy park and you never know just what will be going
on in it.

To my surprise the court was free so I sent the kids off to play on
the equipment and explore. Within the first 10 minutes an elderly
couple came to the edge of the court, set up a little CD player and,
facing the court, started doing tai chi. This wasn't so much a problem
as an annoyance. The music was definitely not skating music and the
space they were in was about 30cm from the edge of the court. Then a
woman and her small child came over. She sat in the middle of the
court to read book whilst her child threw a ball around. This bought
to my mind the idea of park etiquette. Would the same woman have taken
my kid off a swing so her son could use it? Or have come and sat down
if a group of people were playing basketball? Or dare I say it, would
she have done it if I were a guy? Quite a few times I have gone
somewhere to skate, only to have to wait until the current occupants
of the space had finished whatever they were doing. I wonder what was
going on in her head? And if she felt my death stares directed at the
back of it?

Then as the topping on the cake Jack wasn't enjoying the park. This is
something that is happening more and more. Swinging and climbing seems
to be a favourite of the past and seeing we hadn't bought a book or a
scooter, he was soon frustrated. So after about 45 minute I packed up
and we went home.

Today I decided to try again. I took the kids to a park that's close
to us. The court isn't in great condition, with a few huge cracks and
a fairly intense slope. My main worry was a. The court wouldn't be
free as it is right near a youth centre and b. that the kids would
loose interest before I was finished. Luckily the court was free (yay)
and later when the kids had had enough of climbing and swinging we
came up with a plan.

They would first chase me on their scooters. This gave me a chance to
practice my speed especially around the corners and also work on being
able to look behind me and watch who was coming up so I could adjust
my speed and path accordingly.

Then I would chase them. Seeing I was a lot faster than they were this
gave me a chance to practice my pacing speed as well as playing at
pushing them around the court. The whole game was an amazing work
out! Jack would go for a few laps and tire, then Hamish would step in
and so on. By the end I had skated at a pretty full on pace for over
1/2 an hour.

Then Jack found a ball and he and I played catch and then aiming for
the basketball hoops. Which meant I was working on quick stops and
turns as well as speed and control. All in all the later half of
today's one and a half hour skate was the best fun I've had outside of
class. The kids also had a blast playing with me and ran off a lot of
the engery that seems to bloom during the school holidays.

It was a great reminder of what life is meant to be all about about.
The old adage 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonaid' just about
sums up this weeks skating experience. Add to that that I love
sharing skating with the kids. Actually yesterday afternoon I went out
to practice for a bit longer (that dodgy 45 minutes just hadn't cut
it) and Jack, after hearing me complain that I couldn't see if my feet
were right doing crossovers, suggested videoing it so I could see
myself. Sweetly he and Hamish took turns videoing me going back and
forth on the small flat area of our street as I tried my hardest to do
a few crossovers back and forth. And yeah, I think they are ok ;)

Watching - Game of Thrones S2

Reading - The Strain, Guillermo del Toro. (never heard of it before
but found it in my ebook library and thought, what the heck!)

Listening - whatever music feels perfect when I skate. Including,
Prince, Pumped up kicks and various others.

State of mind - so happy that the kids and I had a great time together
and also that I finally feels sated in the amount of skating I've done
in a day.

PS. If your wondering what else is going on in our world the answer is
not much. It's just all calmly moving forward in a comfortable and
predictable way. But there is certainly no complaints about that at
the moment. It's nice to have a calm period of life for a while.

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