At the Rink
Children Having an Ice Skating Race
"What's wrong?" asked Ted's father.
"I don't know how to stop," said Ted looking down to the ice now from his father's gaze, ashamed of his inability.
Ted and his father were at the White Club's "Winter Carnival" on a frosty January afternoon. They were participating in the events to be held for the children that went to school there in the afternoons in Asheville. Ted was a precocious but shy five year old boy with bright blond hair and diamond-blue eyes. He was short for his age but he made up for it with his natural athletic ability. He was fast, just like his Dad was. But Ted didn't know all the ins and outs of hockey yet. Neither did his opponents. Ted was nervous nonetheless because he knew they skated so slowly they would be able to stop at the finish line. Ted thought he would smash into the boards at the other end of the rink and die.
The next event was the fifty-yard dash across the crisp ice, almost from one end of the rink to the other. It was an outside skating rink, and it was extremely brisk outside. The weather had been that way that whole cloudy day. Ted and his father were standing in the corner of the rink planning their strategy which should have been a simple one, while there was a small crowd of other friends and fathers nearby.
"That's Alright, Teddy. Can you beat these guys?" his father asked.
"Yes, but I don't know how to stop. I'll slam right into the boards!" Teddy exclaimed. He was very nervous, and he hated losing, especially if he would probably end up a pancake at the other end of the rink when the race was over. What good was first place when you're dead?
Ted's father let out a deep chuckle and put reassuring hands on Ted's shoulders. He knew how much his son wanted the first place medal. But his attitude was a smooth as a razor. He knew exactly what to do. He always did.
"Don't worry, Teddy. I'll catch you."
"Catch me? Dad, no way. I'll be going to fast."
"Just skate straight towards me for the entire race. I'll be on the other side to slow you down. I'll catch you. I promise."
Ted was not filled with much confidence at all because his father wasn't even wearing skates to catch him. He would have no leverage, or strength. He thought he was just too fast for his own good.
Before they had time to solidify their plan, the call for the beginning of the race had started. Ted nearly lost his stomach. His father could see how nervous he was so he said, "Don't worry, kiddo. I'll catch you."
This began to irritate Ted because he thought his father really didn't know the velocity in which he would be traveling across that slick ice on what appeared to him to be a foreboding winter afternoon. His father just kept saying that phrase. And Ted thought he was going to die. But he moved towards the starting line and saw his father all the way at the end of the rink looking so tiny among the other fathers, Ted nearly decided not to participate. Yet he he felt had no choice because he knew he was fast, and that was that.
The whistle blew and all the children exploded into action. They had one, simple goal. And that was to move their legs and arms in unison as quickly as they could. The finish line looked too far away. But as Ted predicted, he was jetting ahead of the pack with a very large amount of momentum. His father was getting closer, and closer, just a guy with two hands that were usually holding a drink and a cigarette. Ted was moving with terrifying velocity. He felt very free for a time, like he was coasting on thin air, and nothing was going to be able to stop him from winning. And that was the problem as he began to start thinking. He was going to win!
Ted's leg's flew out from under him like a storm and he felt his father hands under his armpits with a serious amount of pressure. Ted's eyes were closed. He just felt like he had not won a race, but come home. All of his friends were yards behind him and the other fathers were in awe at Ted's speed and the highly unusual style of the father and son combination as his father brought Ted down to the ice's surface. They worked together. And deep down Ted had to trust in his father. He had trust in his father. He didn't know anyone like him. He felt invincible.