People who grow up in Southeast Texas do not ice skate well.
I’m sure there are some notable exceptions, but none come to mind.
When you grow up in a climate where the largest body of water to freeze over in winter is a birdbath, things like snowball fights and outdoor ice skating are activities relegated to characters in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.
Which is not to say that the Houston area is devoid of ice skating.
In the early 1970’s, visionary real estate developers built the famous Houston Galleria, with its overpriced retail establishments encircling the centerpiece of this three-story shopping utopia: the ice skating rink, because little rich girls have dreams, too.
There have been other Houston ice rinks in the 40-some years I’ve lived here, most of them fell victim to a lack of interest and downturns in the local economy. Only the Galleria rink has endured. Being smack dab in the middle of one of Houston’s most popular tourist destinations has helped secure its survival.
Fortunately there are a handful of other ice skating rinks in Houston, one of which is only 20 miles from my home on the outskirts of western suburbia. (Twenty miles may sound like a long way, but if you think that, you don’t live in Houston. Anywhere worth going to is at least 20 miles away from you. This city is HUGE. Also? The rink is actually 30 minutes from my house, not 20 miles. Because this is Texas, and we measure travel in time, not distance. But I digress.)
This other skating rink is also located in a shopping mall. Nothing attracts bored teenagers with a pocketful of gift cards on winter break like a shopping mall with a giant Starbucks and an ice skating rink. Which is not to say that any of these teenagers are particularly good at ice skating. As I mentioned before, people from South Texas do not ice skate well. But this does not deter them from strapping on rental skates in the misguided belief that they really are much better than past experiences would indicate. My 13 year old daughter has been ice skating with her friends on numerous occasions, and she will tell you that she is a “pretty good ice skater”. I’ve seen her skate. If by “pretty good ice skater” she means “I only fell down a handful of times”, then yes, she is pretty good. Much like women of childbearing age, teen skaters suffer from what researchers call the Halo Effect.
In both scenarios, hormones cloud the memory centers of the brain and block recollections of intense pain and humiliation. It is said that the Halo Effect in young mothers is to ensure the survival of the species. I can only surmise the phenomenon in teenagers is wholly for the benefit of the onlooking parents of said teenagers.
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