In Part Two of the series I talked about expanding my circle of friends that enjoyed skating as I did. Not only did I have more friends that enjoyed skating, but we also worked together teaching and learning new skating techniques and skills. I also shared my invitation to work as a floor guard, what that meant to me, what the responsibilities were, and how much fun it was. I also told you about my continued enthusiasm for skating.
In this part, I am going to deviate from the plan a bit and reflect upon the most significant event in my lifetime that would not have occurred had I not become so enthralled with skating.
I am referring to the love of my life. We met at the skating rink on Ladies Night. Her and her sister started showing up on Ladies night in the Spring of 1977. And it wasn’t just the two of them. My wife to be had a 9-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. Both children were special in their own way. It took a long time to win over the daughter as she was very attached to her biological father (as it should have been). Her son was a whole other story. He was small for his age and had Cerebral Palsy, which meant he was already sporting a wheelchair, but most important was the effect he had on me. I can still remember the first time I asked to hold him. We were sitting in the parking lot of the rink after an evening of skating, and I asked if it would be possible to hold him. His mother agreed and showed me how to go about it. The joy in his face rolled over into my heart almost instantaneously. It was love at first contact.
Over the months ahead his mother and I continued to see each other, and that fall I finally got up the nerve to ask her to marry me. Without hesitation, she said yes. Less than 2 months later, we were married. Some people said it wouldn’t last, and while there were times of trial and tribulation (which everyone experiences), we are still together 41 years later. I would say we have done quite well. At this point we have 2 daughters, 1 son, 4 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. Our children are grown now, obviously. The oldest daughter went into Social Work, and the other, believe it or not, Manages the local skating rink. The son, our son, stills lives with us, and hopefully always will.
Now that I have described the most significant event in my life that happened as a result of my affiliation with skating, why don’t I get back to describing how my career and time continued to grow at the rink.
After becoming a Manager at the rink, I learned there was a lot more to the business than just putting on a pair of skates and keeping the customers engaged and entertained. Of course, to me engaging, entertaining, and insuring everyone was having fun was the most fulfilling. But working in the office and learning what it takes to run the business was a challenge I was ready to take on. In addition to the feelings of trust and confidence I received from the owner, there was also the sense of accomplishment that motivated me to continue my journey.
I soon learned that dealing with people really can be challenging, enjoyable, fulfilling, and sometimes frustrating. But in the end, if I handled the situation and myself in the interest of the customer, with professionalism, understanding, and respect, it was gratifying as well.
I continued to work in this capacity for several years, but as with everything else in life, there comes a time to change things up.
In Part Four of this series, I will be discussing what that looked like for me. What I did with it. The direction in which my journey changed.
Until the next time …