Sunday, March 21, 2010

Muscle Memory

Okay, I'll cut to the chase.
I signed up for Roller Derby class.
(pause)
Some friends asked me to join and before I thought too much I said yes...
an
in writing,
signed on the dotted line,
charged the Visa
YES.
I am not sure what came over me but, I watched Whip It one time and suddenly adopting the lifestyle seemed like the next logical step...a natural progression of sorts.
Because, well, you know, Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore are practically my doppelgangers save for the fact I misplaced my Hello Kitty roller skates about twenty years ago and have a pretty serious aversion to both falling and fishnet stockings.
These are not insurmountable obstacles; they are just little pebbles on the roller derby track of life. Besides, I already decided to be really smart about this whole endeavor.
I decided to get back on roller skates BEFORE the class starts so I won't look stupid in public.

Today my friend Lynn and I went the Coachlite Skate Center in Roselle (the #1 place to roller skate in the Midwest, of course) to take a few trips in a circle to help my muscle memory kick in. I expected to be a little rusty after 20 years sans skates, but I was anxious to give it a try.
Once a roller skater always a roller skater.(Image via skateluv)

I tied the neon orange laces in my rented black speed skates and nervously prepared to hit the rink. I stood up and everything seemed fine. Lynn and I made our way to the edge of the rink and she took off among the happy gliding children and creepy muscle shirt wearing men. Lynn is a graceful lady on skates and pretty much the only person I'd want with me on an adventure of this sort. She glanced back at me and suggested I stick close to the wall...you know with the tots in training skates...and I did.
It came time to turn left and suddenly I went down...hard. Okay my muscles forgot how to turn, but I thought I can work through this. Undeterred, I got up and kept going until moments later a kid fell down in front of me and I realized my muscles didn't have a freaking clue how to stop or steer. Down I went again, but harder this time and on top of a kid. Oddly enough the young lad apologized to me for the collision and I confidently let him skate off thinking it was all his fault. I fell again moments later.
I rapidly became aware all of my muscles had roller skating amnesia and I was a 3/4 lap away from the nearest exit. After three more falls, my muscles were in a full on dementia style panic, but I unattractively powered on and finally made it to the exit. At that point the rink reversed the traffic for a song and I bowed out. I can't even change the wattage in my light bulbs or turn off my living room ceiling fan without feeling physically ill and I knew the reversal of a counter clockwise roller rink traffic pattern in my fragile state would just about kill me. Hell, I know my limitations. Lynn came to visit me and suggested I practice on the carpet for a while. I think she was beginning to know my limitations, too.

Even though I still couldn't turn, stop or steer, I can happily report skating on carpet is a skill I pretty much have in my wheel house. Witnessing my carpet skating prowess, Lynn suggested I enter the rink, skate straight and exit on the same side. Then I could skate on the carpet and do it again. She is a good skater and an even better friend. I re-entered the rink and I skated straight. I actually avoided a small child and did not fall. I felt a hint of a breeze and slightly in control. It was glorious. I was doing this. I exited the rink, spun a little on the carpet and even stopped.
I was victorious!
Until...
(image via freaking news)
...out of no where I started flailing about and crumpled violently into a pile near the coat racks.
An Indian gentleman jumped over me and graciously offered to help me up.
"No thanks, I've got it," I replied.
I pulled myself up and just as quickly as I righted myself my legs went out from under me splits style and I grabbed his wife; a lovely woman wearing roller skates and a sari. There I was, blue eyes to bindi, willing my thighs to bring my wheel clad feet together. Alas, I failed and down we went.
Before I knew it I was sitting on a bench laughing so hard tears were pouring down my face. I was doing all of this to AVOID public humiliation? I fell countless times, landed on kid and even took out an Indian lady in a sari. Seriously, the only way this outing could have been worse is if I had ended up in the hospital.
I was awful and I loved every minute of it!

I guess I can only get better from this point and isn't that really what trying something new should be all about? I hate exposing weakness and today I learned just how stupid that is. Shouldn't everyone have a moment where their courage kicks in?
The beauty of life resides in moments of vulnerability.
So I suck at skating.
I am easy points for any jammer.
FOR NOW.
Oh yeah, I will learn how to skate again and laugh my ass off until I do!

5 comments:

mary said...

oh dear! Kudos for trying...how do you feel today?

kswen said...

I'm cracking up, Mel. I can't wait to hear how your first practice turns out. Hopefully you'll be well protected with padding and a helmet.

Nubia said...

CRYING!!!! The minute you got to the Indian couple, I could no longer breathe!

I hope you aren't too sore...I'm totally impressed and your courage :)

That's our fearless Mel!

Flash Nordin said...

Your skating skills are perfect for Derby Lite - you know how to put on skates!
And, you know how to laugh at yourself and have fun.
You will begin to impress yourself immensely in no time.
Looking forward to skating with you some day soon ~
Flash Nordin

Amygeddon said...

Can't wait to have you join us soon! It's a blast and Queen B will have you whipped into shape in no time. It really helps when you learn how to fall. Then you can laugh at yourself even more when you do it.

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