I learned a new trick

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Sue Ellen Ross-The Southern Yankee

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks: This old adage referring to middle-aged and older persons can be challenged, no doubt about it.

You will find many of the ‘older’ crowd at local health clubs, art classes and even karate sessions. Also, on the levee rollerblading.

A few years ago, I purchased a pair of rollerblades. When I was growing up, I had a pair of ‘roller skates’, which consisted of four wheels balanced under the shoe section. I had trouble then, so I knew I would have trouble now.

But I am very determined when I make up my mind, and no matter how much my friends laughed at me, I was going to do this.

Balance is the big thing when your learning to rollerblade. You have to go slow at first and be ever mindful of the uneven pavement in front of you, literally the ‘bumps’ in the road ahead.

Although rollerblades include a brake, located on the rear of one of them, I have never learned to use it.

I guess I am afraid I will pitch myself forward and lose a couple of teeth if I stop this way, so this phobia continues today. When I want to stop, I just find a grassy area and head toward it. It sounds laughable, but it works.

At the time I purchased my new ‘blades’, I lived in an apartment complex with all front doors located on the ground floor. The only practice area that was available was the sidewalk in front of my neighbor’s doors.

Each night after work, I would change into my sweats and do a few laps around the complex grounds. It was a beautiful place, with a lake and lots of greenery, so I concentrated on these things instead of my wobbly knees, hurting calves and weak ankles.

I finally did learn to roller blade without falling down and breaking my neck. Before I moved to Louisiana, some of my Indiana friends and I went roller blading on a regular basis.

Now that I am in an area that boasts warm weather (a majority of the time), I am going to find some roller blading buddies. And I want to tell everyone who thinks they are too old to learn: if you have the motivation and general good health, you can do it. Think success!

Just look at a child who received roller blades as a Christmas present, and wants to learn to skate, no matter how awkward the process.

As I watched my boyfriend’s 7-year-old granddaughter lace up her new skates last week, I saw a look of firm resolution in her eyes and realized that I would soon have a skating partner.

She’s a determined little girl, who knows she will shortly be gliding gracefully along the levee trail. And a Maw Maw will be right beside her.