Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Skater Girl

They were pink in colour and un-securely strapped to her feet as all 8 wheels spun to a stop.   She huffed a semi frustrated sigh, but a small inkling of confidence emanated from her aura.  She struggled to pick herself up, trying desperately to cement her rolling foot into the ground beneath her.  Once again, she fell on her back side and this time, she sat helplessly staring up towards her mother asking for help.

The look she gave to her mother was one of which I have seen so many times.  Once again, my teaching instincts kicked in and I wanted help her try...just one more time.

"Hi, I can help her."  I said to the mother assuming that she could understand English.

The mother panned her head to the left to respond to me.

"I teach skating lessons in Canada, I can help your daughter skate."
"Ah, ok! He is going to help you skate!" she said to her girl in Italian.

I took a knee in front of her to get at eye level. 

"Ciao bella.  Mi chiamo Antony, e tu?"
"Fragola."  she responded gnawing at her index finger, staring down at her skates.
"Molto piacere, Fragola. Quante anni hai?"
"Quatro".  she said.  

I quickly adjusted her skates by fastening the buckles and made sure that her pads were correctly placed at the centre of each knee.  I then picked her up and had her stay in one position.  She fumbled a bit to find her balance but soon she was able to freeze in one spot. 

"Guardami e fare cosi." I said slowly.   

I told her to keep her knees bent and to keep her arms straight.  I began to march in one spot and she happily mimicked me.  After marching in the same position for 3 minutes, I had her try to touch her toes without falling.  She did as she was told and I had her count to three.

"Uno, due, tre!" she said.
"Brava...e poi alza. Vieni qua."

She stood up and trotted slowly towards me hobbling along the way.  I tried to keep her eyes focused on my chest.  Slowly, slowly she began to improve slightly as she skated across the smooth brick ground. By this point I handed my camera to her mother to document the her skating.

After the lesson her mother talked to me.

"Thank you for teaching he.r  In a few minutes you had her skating.  She doesn't skate very often."  she said happily.  

"Fragola, dire grazie."

Fragola said thank you and then she gave me a little kiss on the cheek.  She smiled and continued to skate on her own.   

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