Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creative College Credits

I was watching this week's episode of Glee (a brief--and snarky--Glee-cap here), when the roller rink they featured took me back to my college days. I went to a liberal arts school in Ohio, which offered all sorts of interesting classes. For instance, for my PE credits I took horseback riding and rollerskating. It's the latter that I flashed back to this week.

The class wasn't taught by one of the school's professors. Instead it was taught by local competitive skating star Betty Lou, backed up by her loyal partner Don. Betty Lou was 150-years-old. Don was 155. And they were both still skating. Competitively. This meant that not only did Betty Lou take her skating very seriously, but she also dressed for the occasion. She outfitted herself in a short little skating skirt that bared her wrinkly knees. Don also wore skate-appropriate (though interestingly, not age-appropriate) clothes. He usually had shiny black pants and some sort of flowy shirt on.

During our lessons, Betty Lou would tell us what skill or trick we were going to learn and then she would demonstrate it. I'll say this for her, she was certainly spry. She could zip around the floor with all the grace and ease of Ginger Rogers. After we were given the demonstration, the music was turned on, the discoball spun, and we were off to try it ourselves.

One trick that I never could master was called "Shoot the Moon," which consisted of skating in a tucked position and as you move, sticking one leg straight out in front of you while keeping the other knee bent close to your chest. Never fail, every time I tried it, just when I got to the shooting part, my balance would betray me and down I'd topple. This provided great amusement to my friend, Kentucky Roomie, who would dissolve into giggles as she whizzed around the rink, Betty Lou-style, shooting the moon all over the place.

Often at the end of class, Betty Lou and Don would regale us with one of their skating routines. They'd put on some sort of waltz and skate around the rink with smiles plastered on their faces. It was the kind of slice of Americana that you don't appreciate when you're 20, but looking back you realize it's the stuff of Norman Rockwell paintings. I don't know what ever happened to Betty Lou and Don, but I'd like to think they're still skating, dazzling college kids with their mad skills, and shooting the moon like a couple of teenagers.

1 comment:

  1. Hey...how come I didn't know you could take horseback riding and rollerskating? Why didn't you share that with Am-o????

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