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In Their Own Words

January 11, 1870

Advice to Skaters

The Atlanta Constitution responded to the opening of the city’s first skating rink with this tongue-in-cheek column of advice for the novice skater:

“ADVICE TO SKATERS. – We give the following advice gratis to those learning how to skate: Never try to skate in two directions at once. Though often made by beginners, this movement has never proved a success. Eat a few apples while skating, and throw the cores on the floor for fast skaters to break their shins over. Then lay back and enjoy the fun. Sit down occasionally – no matter where – right in the way of the rest, if you want to – only be certain to set down often. There is no law to prevent you from sitting down when you are so inclined. When you meet a peculiarly handsome lady, try to skate on both sides of her at once. This will create a sensation, too, if her lover or big brother happens to be about.

“When sitting down, do it gradually and gracefully. Don’t be too sudden, something might break. Don’t give up at the first fall. Remember that the greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall. When entitled to the floor, never display your pedal extremities elevated above your head. It might cause a descent of brain, and besides it is a feat too unpolite for the skating circle. Never disturb the equilibrium of your body, by gyrations with the hands. Keep them in your pockets, and by all means never try to skate on all fours, or on your head.”

Source, Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of 1954 original volume), Vol. I, pp. 841-842.