Andy was struggling to get a grip on the ice. He had never worn ice skates before and was wobbling, even though he was holding on the metal bars. That was all he had been doing since he got on the ice fifteen minutes ago.
As he tried to make an attempt to skate out, he watched Molly skating on the ice. She had always been more of a skater that he was. While he was more into skateboarding and bowling, she was more into ice skating and cheerleading.
Andy was impressed to see his sister had caught up with her ice-skating even though she hadn’t ice-skated in nine months. Riley was impressed as well. She only had to give her three or four tips to improve her ice-skating, which she took and was grateful.
Then Molly pointed out that Andy was the only who was struggling.
Riley skated to him. “Come on, Andy. It’s your turn.”
“Yeah, Andy,” Molly teased.
Both girls giggled as they took his arms.
“Oh, no, no. Please, no.” Andy’s begging didn’t help him at all. He decided to go with the flow as he let them guide him along the ice rink.
“That’s it, Andy,” Riley told him. “Just feel calm and relax.”
Andy started to feel more relax.
“Now, we’re going to let go.”
That shocked him to the core. “No, no, no.”
When the girls did let him go, he closed his eyes, expected to fall down.
“Oh, open your eyes,” Molly called. “You’ve not fallen down at all.”
Andy opened his eyes and saw that he was still standing. And he was catching his grip. He started to move his right leg forward. Then his left leg forward. Then his right leg forward further. Then his left leg forward further. He kept doing further and faster than before. And he was feeling good about it.
“That’s it, Andy!” Riley cheered. Then she turned to his little sister. “Was he a late bloomer at everything?”
“Well, not with skateboarding, school studies or toys,” Molly said. “He was at bowling and basketball, but he still won his trophies in the end.”
“That’s good.” Riley’s good feelings started to flush. She realized that she had been so focused on ice hockey her own life and had time for nothing else. It was her most favourite thing and she had no regrets as she was chosen for the Olympics. But then she started to realize how much she was missing out of life. Her parents, her friends and all the other skills and activities she wanted to try at.
Her emotions were shocked to find Sadness touching the panel.
Joy pushed her away “Now’s not the right time for this, Sadness. Can’t Riley be sad after this is over, not during?”
“Sorry, Joy,” Sadness apologized. “But if Riley doesn’t realize what she’s missing out of her life now, she never will.”
“Not that I’m taking sides,” Fear said, “but Sadness does have a point. We don’t want it to be too late for Riley.”
“Look, we got enough on our plate with the Olympics,” Disgust intervened. “She can’t be distracted with anything else.”
“Like I always say,” Joy said, “we’ll just worry about – ”
“You said a hundred times already,” Anger snapped.
“Yeah, can’t you say anything new?” Disgust moaned.
Joy couldn’t say anything new because she didn’t know what to do if anything bad would happen to Riley. But she couldn’t let the others know otherwise the whole moving to San Francisco event when their girl was eleven would repeat all over again.
They heard a loud bump.
“I think Andy’s fallen over,” Anger said.
Anger was right. It was Andy who had landed on his knees. Riley skated to him. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Andy said. “I just went too fast, I bet.” He started to look into her blue eyes. He never realized how beautiful they were.
Riley just smiled back. “Well, let that teach you never go too fast again. You can never tell with the ice. You can fall, unexpected.”
“Next time you fall, let’s hope you land in a pair of arms,” Molly teased.
Andy frowned at her teasing. “Go away, Molly.”
Molly giggled and skated away.
Riley helped Andy up.
“I’m still enjoying, though,” he told her. “I just need to practise more.” He hoped he would practise more and faster so he could be worthy enough to help his girlfriend. Then his phone started ringing. It was from the orphanage. He skated off the ice to talk to them.
Riley and Molly skated off the ice to catch up with him.
When he finished speaking, he turned to them. “That was the orphanage,” he told them. “The show we were going to see is cancelled. The theatre has a major power cut. The kids are upset and the staff is angry that the money can’t be returned.”
That made Riley feel sorry for the poor orphans. Then she had an idea. “Remember when you said that I could teach your orphans to ice-skate and maybe even ice hockey?”
Andy nodded. Then his smile grew wider as he guessed very highly what she was going to say.
And it was exactly what he thought off. Riley was trying the orphans how to ice skate. The stadium kindly let Riley and Andy let it open for the night. The kids were laughing and enjoying themselves so it seemed to pay off. Even the antisocial Jenny was enjoying herself and she was very friendly with Riley who listened to every tip she gave her like everyone did.
As Andy was enjoying the moment, so were his emotions.
“Isn’t it just lovely?” Andy’s Joy sighed.
Everyone agreed. Even Andy’s Anger couldn’t find anything wrong to point out.
Andy was soon joined by Riley.
“Thanks for agreeing to this,” he said. “It’s really made their night tonight.”
She smiled. “No problem. Glad to be of help.”
Then Andy introduced her to the orphanage staff and she shook their hands. They couldn’t thank her enough for arranging all this for tonight. They were enjoying as much as the kids.
After so much excitement, it was time for rest and dinner. Dinner was on both Andy and Riley and the kids and the staff enjoyed their sandwiches and salad.
“You know what you said about me becoming a coach?” Riley said to Andy.
“Well, while I’ve been helping your little friends stay on ice,” she went on, “I thought that I could. Just in case the Olympics doesn’t work out well. So, thanks for the idea.”
Andy smiled. “You’re welcome.” He always felt better when people took his suggestions and felt better afterwards.
After an enjoyable dinner, it was time for Riley to teach the kids how to play ice hockey. Though she was not a certified ice hockey coach, she used her best judgement on the kids and she decided that they were all good enough skaters to play the game.
Andy trusted Riley and the orphanage staff trusted Andy, so it was all decided to go ahead.
Riley showed the kids how to hold the stick and whack their rubber pucks. She did her best to teach them as best as she could. She hoped they were enjoying it and she wasn’t encouraging the kids to fight dirty like some professional ice hockey players did.
At half eight, it was time to head back to the World Vision Orphanage. The kids were all sad that it had to be over but each and every one of them never forgot to thank Riley personally.
The orphanage staff and Andy all thanked Riley for her time to a wonderful night for everyone, despite her busy schedule. She said it was her complete pleasure and it was her biggest break since she started the Olympics.
Her emotions were feeling exactly the same as well.
“See everything’s going well,” Joy said. “Nothing bad happened so far.”
“For the time being,” Fear said.
“What could possibly go wrong?” Joy asked.