Ice skating: an adventure in embarrassing the kids

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SUNRIVER, Ore. (AP) - “What did you think about ice skating?” I asked my daughter Lucy.

“Eh. It was OK,” she replied, distracted by her reading.

We - including her twin sister, Lilly, and their mom, Catherine - had gone ice skating at Sunriver’s covered rink the day before. Now, on Sunday night, I was rooting around for a theme to help shape an article about the experience.

I thought about going current and tying it into the Winter Olympics - but we were far too amateurish to pretend anything resembling athleticism was involved in our skating.

There was always “the nature of going in circles as a metaphor for the human condition,” but that seemed too contrived and depressing.

“Would you go again?” I asked Lucy.

“Maybe,” she said. Thinking about it a little more, she added, “Yeah, I guess so.”

“Do you think you would have more fun if we went a second time?”

“Mmmm.”

I’m not sure what that meant, other than I’d lost Lucy to her reading again. As our conversation started and stopped like a wobbly ice skater, a theme emerged: Seize the chance to hang out with your children while they’re still somewhat willing to be seen with you in public.

We opted to go to Sunriver, but there are a couple of other ice skating options in the area.

During the recent holiday weekend, Sunriver’s rink was more crowded than it had been the week before. There were lots of families, a group or two of teenagers, some 20-somethings showing off in the center of the rink, several tiny tots pushing equally tiny walkers that helped them remain upright (I looked around for grown-up sized ones, but no luck.)

While it may be embarrassing to hang out in public with your parents, it’s not like the skaters who can skate circles around us beginners are paying any attention, other than steering clear, especially when you start doing the telltale “I’m about to fall” move, your arms gesticulating wildly as you lose another round with gravity.

Prior to that Saturday, I’d ice skated just two other times in my life. The first was about 12 years ago at Seventh Mountain Resort with Map Guy and our deceased colleague, Jim Witty.

The second time was earlier in February at Sunriver, with Lilly. Once I’d laced up those narrow little shoes and stepped gingerly on the ice, I marveled that anyone had ever bothered to invent ice skates. Ice is more slippery than a watermelon seed to begin with, and then we have to go and put nothing under our feet except a thin metal blade.

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