First in a series of three articles by Charles Cunningham on being unemployed in the non-profit sector.
It has been many, many years, since I properly landed my first Triple-Axel on roller skates. I remember all the years of preparation.
It all started in third grade when I won a blue ribbon at the Powell Valley Grade School field day in Gresham, Oregon, on their outdoor cement roller rink.
It seemed that from that moment on through High School, I was rushing from the school to the roller skating rink to be there early enough to have the rink to myself so that I could practice. I had a paper route and all my income from this went to either buying my skates and new wheels, or to pay for my rink time. I took every kind of roller skating dance class there was, but Free Style was my favorite.
One of my friends was in all of the skating competitions. He and I privately competed with each other. All the official skating competitions were held on Sundays. But my family went to church on Sundays, which meant I never entered any of them and never won a trophy.
My friend’s house was just down the street and around the corner. His room was filled with trophies. He and I laughed about that but he knew I was just a bit jealous. Especially with the many times I had beat him when we privately raced speed skating around the rink and even in various dances. He always told me that I pushed him to be his best. He took Freestyle lessons before I did and had learned how to land a Triple-Axel way before I did.
I found Single-Axels and Double-Axels fairly easy, but every time I tried a Triple-Axel I would land wrong and wipe out. I went home black and blue and with my arms and legs all scraped up virtually every time I went skating. I was determined to learn how to land that Triple-Axel. I spoke to the dance skating coach and she told me that I needed to start lifting weights and to put sand weights on my arms and legs. She told me to stand up on the fronts of my feet and run forwards up the stairs and then backwards down the stairs to build the strength in my legs. My gym teacher, at Marshall High School, caught me doing this during the lunch period and gave me permission to do this during gym class instead of during lunch. Spending about 45 minutes three times a week doing this quickly built my leg muscles. Also I rode my 10-Speed bike for my paper route and to and from school every day.