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Pique N' Your Interest

Lifelong learner

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I don’t get many opportunities to speak French, but now and then, when nobody is around, I’ll put on French television for a few minutes and try to understand what the people are saying. Hockey games are best because I’m familiar with the subject matter, but movies I’ve already seen a few times in English are a gold mine. I don’t understand all the words, but I think I’ve finally got the accent down.

Part of the reason I love Whistler so much is the fact that you’re always learning new things. Whether it’s riding switch on a snowboard or figuring how to get my bike down a rocky slope in one piece, every day I feel like I’m being tested.

Sure, the tuition here is expensive and failing tests can be painful sometimes, but an adrenaline rush is as good a motivator as a teacher’s gold stars could ever be.

Most recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself to skate again. I quit playing hockey when I was in pre-PeeWee for the very simple reason that I totally sucked at it and wasn’t having any fun. I also wasn’t much of a morning person even then, and hated getting up for 6 a.m. practices and games.

I could barely skate, and as goalie it was always my fault when we lost. I also didn’t have the right attitude – I got mad when somebody scored, and took a lot of dumb penalties.

Luckily I discovered skiing around the same time I dropped out of hockey, was hooked, and spent my winters riding the snow-covered bumps around Toronto.

Still, I’ve always wondered what might have happened if my parents had forced me to keep playing hockey with all of my friends. I’m not the world’s worst athlete, despite what I thought when I was 10, and I easily went on to make my high schools’ football and rugby teams. Maybe I’d still be playing hockey today.

Rather than wonder what might have been, lifelong learner that I am, I’ve been strapping on the skates. I’ve been to a few public skate nights and afternoons to test out my legs, and thanks to the awesome skate patrollers at Meadow Park and a few patient friends, I’ve gotten lots of pointers. Last week I went to the LUNA Hockey 101 event and played a bit of pickup hockey.

What I’ve discovered is that I still suck. I can stop on both sides (usually), skate backwards (slowly), and do a few other (very basic) moves. I’m a long way from front and back crossovers, or even making a complete lap of the arena without a bobble and a near-crash.

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