This precious historic moment was safely nestled in the glowing period that lolls between the two towering winter holidays, of Christmas and New Years. A golden opportunity had opened up in the life of this preschooler. It consisted of a fortuitous convergence of opportunity, motivation, and timing. Some of which belonged to him and yet much more belonged to the inevitable force and momentum of the Canadian psyche.
The critical elements also included, besides available ice, competent coaches and trainers for this operation to succeed. This was fulfilled quite nicely by the attentive encouragement and support of his parents and the appearance of a bonus Uncle, as added backup, should the coaching breakdown in any way. The most important ingredient in all of this was of course a pair of brand new skates. Provided no doubt by the recent visit of Santa, who had either brought skates fresh from the North Pole or the local Canadian tire store.
Kane, to his credit, had already clearly mastered all the standard problems associated with humans primary mode of locomotion, namely walking. Was he ready to adventure forward into the more challenging world of skating was another matter. I never had much of a discussion with his folks, but my guess was that they had simply decided that today was the appropriate moment to test the waters, or rather the ice. Regardless, this day, Wednesday December 29th had been anointed as the proud moment when Kane, regardless of the outcome, was going to stride forward in his life and officially take part in the great Canadian past time, skating.
There are a little over 34 million of us stretched across this vast country. The number of indoor rinks has been calculated to be roughly around 2500, depending upon which census you look at, or believe. When you factor in as well the countless frozen ponds and lakes that are created, when the heel of the frosty winter boot strikes down hard upon our 10 provinces. The opportunities to strap on sharp steel onto your feet and fly across expanses of frozen water in this country of ours is tremendous.
|Skating in 1884 Montreal|
I was enjoying all the action whizzing around and about me but it was clear that Kane was perhaps the star attraction today. He was the smallest little boy by far of all the kids. I couldn't help but imagine that this day would most likely be one that he might never forget. Certainly his entourage would not forget. As they all masterminded and coaxed this marvelous moment, and occasionally snapped pictures with a small digital camera.
Then, just when it seemed that the laws of physics and biomechanics were simply not going to get the job done, modern technology was brought in. Yes, it was time for the dreaded last resort, the red plastic slidy stand. Which oddly enough seemed to provide no more advantage than the less practical but emotionally more supportive arms of Dad. It was evident after some time that the learning curve for Kane's tender was going to be skewed onto a date in the not too distant future. Eventual success of course was virtually inevitable in this skating crazed country of Canada.
Throughout Kane's foray into the new and daunting world of skating, I never noticed even an iota of a change of expression in his zen like gaze. No joy and yet no fear or frustration either. Perhaps the whole experience was simply overwhelming, a mix of mystery and wonder. As well neither did he speak a word, utter a cry or laugh with glee. It was all very puzzling, difficult, but also perhaps he felt the not too distant pleasures of the sport teasing and tempting him. That perhaps in just a few more days and weeks he would be able to conquer it all on his own.
An irresistable temptation got the better of me and I found myself asking them if they thought Kane might one day become a hockey player or perhaps a figure skater. Dad said simply, that Kane was not destined for gliding glory on the ice. Instead he insisted, Kane was certain to find his rightful success in another sport, golf.