In my ongoing effort to somehow participate in some Olympic Games somewhere, I decided to take up ice skating. Ok, well, I didn’t really “take it up”. I was invited to a good old-fashioned ice skating party in an old hockey rink. And….as you might expect for this part of the world, the roof was all leaky and all the rain dropped in on our heads and left puddles on the ice (which you would think would freeze quickly on ice, wouldn’t you???). The entrance smelled like the worst locker room I could ever imagine, what with all the old sweaty ice skates for rent. And so I took a deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth, and headed off to chase my newest dream.

The skates I rented only come in European sizes. Which is a problem. I don’t know my exact European size, though I do know the range. I asked for a size 39, but they didn’t have any. I used my excellent Bulgarian vocabulary to ask for a size 38 instead, which I then tried to squeeze my feet into. Being new o the sport, I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to feel like my feet were being bound Chinese-style, or if that was just the normal fit for ice skates. Not wanting to have yet another foot surgery, I once again, stuntingly communicated to the guy that now I needed a 40. And so he gave me big man hockey skates. But they were comfortable. So I guess my feet are now man-sized.

I started out careful, of course. My traveler’s insurance was due to expire at midnight that night, so I didn’t think now would be a good time to test out its effectiveness by rushing into a tripe axle jump. No, no. Instead I held on to the side wall with a grip so tight that the wood splintered and stuck in my palm. I made my way around the rink several times using this method.

But then I got brave. I would let go of the wall for like 5 steps at a time. Before I knew it, I was skating whole laps without ever touching the side. Well…now that I was a professional, I decided it was time to begin my spins. That’s right…I spun, as in, going in a circle. And I was successful! Nothing could stop me now. I could just envision myself in a short ice skating skirt twirling around the rink, flipping and triple toe-looping all over the place. And so I did what all the pros do. I made my way to the center of the rink. Where all those poor souls hanging on for dear life around the sidewalls could witness my transformation–my transformation from gangly schoolteacher to swan-like Michelle Kwan.

I did a few spins with ease. I even put my hands in the air and waited to spin with lightning speed like I’ve seen the skaters do on T.V. Lightning speed never came. So I figured I should throw my own twist into the deal. I spun around and then lifted on to my toes the way Michael Jackson does in his “Billie Jean” video. You know, the one where he wears the shiny, white-silvery socks and the infamoous glove? Yeah, only I didn’t have the glove on.

So when I fell flat on my you-know-what, my un-gloved hand struck the freezing ice with extreme force, leaving it bruised and a bit scraped up. Once I stopped coughing trying to catch my breath, I realized that it’s a good thing I was showing off my skills right in the middle of the rink so the entire party of about 100 people I hardly knew could watch the whole spectacle, laugh and point at me. I felt awesome.

I guess this sport may not be my ticket into the Olympics. And since I’ve been too lazy to swim, that’s not looking so promising either. Maybe I should begin the movement to include Sudoku-solving in the Olympics…