Skating Fridays

One Small Leap for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind

OK, so my header is a bit dramatic, but I feel like I hit two big milestones last week.

Remember the severely autistic boy that I told you about last week?  Well, we had another breakthrough. At the last class, he not only asked for me by name, but he was smiling and having a good time. Guys, this is big. Oh, and it gets better.

The boy was doing a great job marching around the ice, but remember that he’s been holding on to mom for dear life. He hadn’t actually skated on his own yet. This week, his mom made a declaration and said that he could have some M&M candies if he skated by himself. So we challenged him. And as expected, he defiantly said “NO!”

We slowly marched over towards the boards and had about 5 feet left to go. I asked him to march over by himself. His mom let go of his hand. I let go of his hand. He marched his little feet as quickly as he could and got to the boards on his own without falling down. The mom and I squealed in delight and celebrated his success. I gave him a high five and told him how proud I was.

After class ended, I got off the ice. I heard someone yell out, “I got M&Ms!!” All the other adults around me laughed and were confused. To them, this was just a loud kid who got candy, but I knew better. I couldn’t help but smile. That moment of his accomplishment made my week. It certainly was one giant leap for this little boy. I hope he takes this as a springboard for all the greatness he can achieve.

The next day, I had a private lesson with my coach. We ran through all the elements in my program. I actually executed a pretty nice axel for her (which is super rare since we skaters know that once the coach is watching, all elements tend to disappear). She said, “Wow! That was gorgeous.” Um, hello? Who are you and what did you do to my coach?? These types of compliments are few and far between.

I ran through my program, and I botched an element. Everything else felt pretty good. Afterwards, coach said, “That was actually really good.”  Holy cannoli! Of course, there were little things here and there that I could have done better, but it was amazing to hear two big compliments from my coach. I had gone through a horrible skating week the previous week so to come back strong like this was just delightful. That’s one small leap for me.

Let’s hope I can continue to make progress each week. And I hope that my little skating buddy continues to blossom. Sky’s the limit for him. And I guess for me too.

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