Monday night was the eldest son's first skating lesson. And it marked the first real foray into organizied sports activities with our children (other than "swimming lessons" he took a couple of years ago which were really more like "hold your baby in the water and sing songs lessons"). I'm sure it won't be the last.
It went about as well as could be expected. All the kids in his group (3 to 4 year old beginners) really did was practice trying to stand from a sitting position and stand on their skates using their arms for balance. The days of chairs or other devices to help stablize beginner skaters are over. They learn to stand and fall (often) on their own right from the get go.
One of the more amusing scenes occurred when the kids first took the ice. Instructors helped ferry them to the boards, where they placed their hands on top of the side walls and told them to hang on. And hang on for dear life they did. It looked like a bunch of non-swimmers clinging to the side of a pool. One by one they dropped off and fell to the ice where most of them remained laying or sitting until the actual class began.
It made me think back to the days when I learned to skate and realizing that I recall nothing of the experience at all. Since neither of our parents skated, JB and I just went to the rink by ourselves, strapped on the blades, and through a process of trial and error (a lot of the latter) figured out how to make it work. No one ever told us what to do or not to do. It was all learning by experience, hard experience.
You can see the pros and cons of that method and the way kids learn most things today. I'm not sure which is better. I just my son enjoys the stride as much as I did (and still do).