I was lucky enough to be invited today to go and see my young cousin Stephanie in her club’s skating show.

The show started in the typical way with a number choreographed for some of the more senior skaters to skate, which was well done. To be honest, I was wanting to see Stephanie skate as a Train Conductor and then in the second half as a Lightning Bolt the most but along the way there were some delightful surprises.

The first was a number that featured dads in tuxedos and hockey skates skating with some girls. It took me a minute to realize that the men were skating with their daughters in a scene that was achingly tender and charming. The girls ranged in age from about 11 to about 14 years old and were so sweet and earnest in how they guided their dads to where they had to be and getting them through the choreography. The dads on the other hand beamed with pride seemingly unaware that they were being “managed” as they were so intent on not making a mistake, sensing the importance of the occasion. The piece de resistance came when each of the eight dad/daughter duos skated along the end of the rink, one team at a time, doing something unique with the final two dads picking up their daughters in a dance lift. It was lovely and I wasn’t the only one dabbing my eyes just a little.

So often the dads are the ones at the skating show who are doing the “heavy lifting” so to speak. To see dads skate in a Club Carnival not as a joke or for comedy relief but in a way that those girls will remember for a long time was really touching.

Speaking of memories…it brought me right back to my own experiences as a young skater as I watched a group of dressed up little girls hit the ice. There was the usual line and “intersection of death” (ok that’s not what it is really called…but I love upping the drama…) and then there’s the part when clusters of little girls gather in a group to create a circle. There is always one bossy little one whose voice you can almost hear and whose body language is clearly visible from the audience as she tries to get her group “with the program.” I guess it takes one to know one.

I have to say that the Cotton Candy kids were the best! They were the wee-est ones and my favourite had to be a little fella in pale blue with a hat covering his helmet that had pale blue organza on top to resemble cotton candy. In any event, this little guy is not much of a skater – more of a stander- so an older girl carried him out to where the rest of the group had skated near the bottom of the ice. He stood there and waved, while all of the other Cotton Candy Kids skated around and when the number was over he was scooped up by a a “big girl” and carried offstage again. Hilarious! Skate Canada has a CanSkate program that we teach to our youngest skaters (it’s a learn to skate program) maybe they should look at a CanStand program as the pre-cursor??! Remember you heard it here first!

The Train Conductors were wonderful as were the Lightning Bolts!!!! My cousin Stephanie, in my opinion, was the best one of all! In fact, her younger brother Kyle (almost 6) overheard me telling the guest skaters, Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier (who were also outstanding!!) that they were “good too just no match for the Lightning Bolts”. He was wide-eyed, looking like his world was suddenly upside-down. First off his cousin Pj (an “off the ice person”) was talking to Vanessa and Paul (“on the ice people”) AND she was telling them (THE GUEST STARS!!) that his sister was better??!!!!? What can I say?I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

Congratulations to the Markham Skating Club – a great show!