Skating – Howard Reede-Pelling

This post is part of a series of short writings by a small writer on particular topics and stories named Howard Reede-Pelling, he lives in Victoria, Australia and is in his older age now. Here, he has written about rollerskating.

Have you ever experienced the pleasure of gliding along with the freedom of flight, the very smooth rythmic flow of good balance and the wind in your hair as you glide majestically through the suburbs, up hill and down dale, in and out amongst mere pedestrians and trees, along smooth bitumen paths or around a car park? Then you don’t know the glory of skating. Skating is fun, be it upon the ice, on cornered wheel boots or in-line-skates, it is freedom of flight and ease of movement flowing along with grace and poise. It is an exhilarating form of sport, exercise and relaxation.

A few precautionary tips. Make sure you are well protected in case of a fall, and you will fall occasionally, due to the very nature of the sport. Matches, sticks and stones, even other pedestrians can cause a downfall for the unwary. Proper protective padding is a must for the skater. Headgear, elbow pads, kneepads, wristguards and even shinpads are a necessity for your safety to enjoy this most pleasurable of pastimes.
Care and respect for others is also a must. All have the right to co-exist in safety, so be aware of the needs of others. Just because you have a pair of skates does not give you an automatic right of way!

To fully appreciate and enjoy the thrill of skating, take care and go slowly at first. It is much better to properly master the use of your blades, be they ice or roller, before you can go hurtling along at breakneck speeds. Instead of lifting your feet one after the other, try letting your weight pull you along.
With a little practice this is easily done by first of all putting the weight evenly upon both blades, then ease the skates away from your body by leaning to the fore with the weight upon the heels. After one has moved about one metre, the weight should be transferred to the toes and pull the feet together.
This will bring one to the upright position again and you will have moved about two metres. This movement is called ‘wows’ and should be repeated for as long as it is practical.

Wows keeps one evenly balanced, remembering to always lean slightly to the fore, and as one practices, skating by lifting each foot in turn will automatically follow. Let the body flow forwards and movements is made possible by stepping forwards rather than pushing forwards. Skating can be very hard on the ankles at first as one is using muscles that are seldom exercised so vigorously. Take care not to overdo it for the first few weeks. Later, the muscles will have hardened and skating will become second nature. Have fun!

Howard Reede-Pelling.

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