I am a figure skating coach.

One of my favourite duties is teaching young children. What I love about a couple of them is they can be as different as chalk and cheese but indistinguishable in their love of skating.

Meet Kary. She is a sturdy 5 year old who loves nothing more than skating. Fast. She is full of the kind of passion and exuberance that is reserved for the very young. She had already been through about 4 coaches in my club before landing in my lap, and although I had been warned about her abundant energy, I took her on. She is my very favourite kind of child. A bit wild, totally fearless and free and without even a hint of “brat.” For some; too much to manage. For me one of my favourite 15 minutes in the week.

The pattern is always the same. She races toward me hell bent for leather and launches herself at me; arms open wide for a big hug at the beginning of our lesson. She has way more faith in my ability to catch her from whatever the angle than I do. But then again, I am more worried about being sued for a broken child than she is, which is my obvious motivation. Her grandmother who brings her to skating has a warm smile and always wishes me luck. Hmmm….should that have been my first clue?

She loves to skate but isn’t as interested in learning which makes for an interesting lesson. I am old enough and experienced enough though to be able to sneak in the odd skill. We make deals. She likes it when I watch her “do her tricks”. Her favourite is skating (she has two speeds: fast and faster) with her eyes closed. Is it any wonder I have gray hair?

The first day back after the Christmas break and Kary couldn’t be more excited. Her Grandma (the other one) bought her a skating dress AND a matching blue jacket with rhinestones. DID I SEE THE SCRUNCHIE??? IT CAME WITH THE DRESS!!!! Her not quite long enough hair was pulled back in a ponytail/bun anchored by said scrunchie and she couldn’t wait to take off the jacket so I could get the full effect of the royal blue dress with SILVER SNOWFLAKES!!! (Can you feel the excitement?) Even better, a new little girl has joined our club which will give Kary a pal to be with on her session where the kids are closer to 8 and 9 than 5.

As I approached the 2 giggling girls to take Kary for her lesson. She said “This is my friend!!” I said “That’s great! What’s her name?” skating circles around my stationary body, she said “I don’t know.”

That’s the best thing about being Kary. You can be friends without knowing and remembering pesky details like names AND be secure in the knowledge that silver snowflakes on your skating dress will make you go faster.

I wish I was 5.