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When Should We Retire Our Skates and Skis?

When I became a grandma eight years ago, I retired my inline skates. Even though I was a confident skater, I didn’t want to risk falling and getting an injury that would put me out of commission for grandma duty.

I started inline skating in 1990 and loved the exhilaration of sailing down hills listening to the wind rushing through my helmet. I skated with groups through the streets of San Francisco, in Golden Gate Park, and on Stanford University campus. My favorite place to blade was on Canada Road/Bicycle Sunday in Woodside, CA. This two-lane road, which is closed to traffic on Sundays, provides beautiful scenery, gentle hills, and the camaraderie of cyclists, walkers, and other skaters. I loved the work out and felt energized when I completed the 14-mile round trip.

I also skated through my neighborhood and occasionally took a few spills that left telltale bruises for weeks. But I was lucky and never had any serious accidents.

I decided to quit winners. At first I missed skating, but I enjoyed walking and took dance classes instead.

Last March, my GaGa friend, Irene, fell and broke her hip on a ski vacation with her grandchildren. Irene is one of the fittest grandmas I know. She swims laps five days a week, skis, walks, and takes Pilates classes. On a recent family vacation Irene got kudos from her seven grandchildren for doing ten back flips off a rope swing at a water park.

Ironically, Irene was not skiing when the accident happened. She was getting off the chairlift when her grandson slipped and put his pole tip on her ski instead of the snow, causing her to fall. Within 28 hours she was in surgery for a hip replacement. She is now making remarkable progress with her physical therapy. She’s driving, swimming, and doing Pilates.

Irene continues to inspire me. Her excellent physical condition and discipline have enabled her to bounce back fairly quickly.

It made me wonder when we should hang up our skates or skis and enjoy “safer” sports? It’s really an individual decision based on many factors. My mom’s friend, Eve, skied with her grandsons until she was 83.

Last week I threw caution to the wind and put on my inline skates again. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to skate with my two granddaughters. The older one celebrated her 8th birthday at a roller skating rink. I had fun gliding across the smooth wooden floor. I got so confident I zipped around the corners crossing one foot over the other. I felt like Apollo Ohno speed skating at the Olympics.

That old exhilaration returned and I wondered if I should head over to Canada Road this Sunday.

I won’t. But I will definitely skate with my granddaughters at Rollerland again!



Some Kudos We've Received

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