Lanky on learning to ice skate
People often ask me what I do when there’s no cricket on, and my usual answer is that I like to learn a new skill. It’s always good to keep the brain going!
It can sometimes be difficult to choose what new skill to try, but this year was an exception. I was so sick and tired of slipping and sliding on the ice, that I was determined to learn to ice skate! You might be thinking that giraffes aren’t exactly built for ice skating, and you’d be right. However, I’m no ordinary giraffe – how many others do you see walking around on their hind hooves?
So, I got myself on the tram to Altrincham ice rink. I think I’ll always get funny looks when I’m on the tram no matter how long I live here – people just can’t get used to it. The first hurdle to jump was trying to find skates that fitted over my hooves, but it turned out they kept a pair of giant skates in the back, just in case.
I have to tell you that my first lesson wasn’t pretty. I know I look co-ordinated when I’m dancing at OT but that’s come through years of practice. My legs flew from under me as soon as I stepped on the ice, and as I sailed through the air I thought to myself: ‘you’ve made the wrong decision here, big fella’. I got up, immediately fell over again and then got up once more, dusted myself off and proceeded to try really hard for the next hour. I spent most of that lesson crumpled in a heap on the floor, and by the end I was actually starting to enjoy myself.
My ice skating lessons became a weekly fixture, alongside dance training and fielding practice. I felt like one of those celebrities on Dancing on Ice – but without Torvill and Dean to help me out. My coach didn’t start trying to swing me round his head, either, which was probably a wise decision. It was one of the best new skills I’ve tried to learn because I started at such a low level and it required so much effort. I never thought anything would beat cross-stitch into second place!
By the time I had completed a personal milestone of only falling over 17 times in an hour, the ice outside had thawed and the daffodils were daring to peek over their grassy shelter. I’ll have to wait until the winter to show off my backward-skating, twirling skills. That’s if it’s even icy this winter. Oh well.