One of the things that I miss about my communities is the feeling of being cared for and expressing care for others. It’s just so much harder to experience care and kindness when you aren’t physically together. Skating has reminded me of that though.
Nearly every time I go out skating in the park, there is somebody there who is struggling with something. Often there is someone skating for the very first time on their brand new skates, taking their first tentative baby steps around the rink.
It’s easy to pick them out. They are in full on survival mode, all tensed up, barely moving around at all, their eyes wide, near panic.
I’ve gotten pretty good at engaging these folks. I roll up beside them, ask them how they are doing. I try and be as encouraging as possible, letting them know that what they are feeling is totally normal, and that it will get better. If they have a question, I try and answer it, and demonstrate it if asked.
Or I see someone who is working on some move or trick, like transitions, skating backwards, or crazy legs. I can see their intense concentration and frustration. I like to give them a thumbs up and ask how they are doing. Sometimes we stop and chat about the move and work on it together. Or I just cheer them on if they unlock it.
I love seeing someone’s emotions swing from fear and frustration to joy! I know that feeling so well.
When I think about it, it’s also one of the things I love about lindy hop, climbing, and other pursuits that I’m passionate about. It just feels good to help another human and see their spirits lifted.