…since I was about 11 years old…
I went to a family roller disco on Sunday! I expected my friend and me to be the only people above 12 years old – and it wasn’t far off! There were a few parents there to hold hands (not ours) and a couple of other people our age but other than that there were some surprisingly young superstar skaters.
Anyway my friend and I wanted to go along to a roller disco to get some practice in before attending the Brighton Rockers roller derby team’s ‘fresh meat’ taster session in a few weeks! After watching Whip It last year I decided that’s what I should be doing with my life and enquired about signing up with the local team.
Thing is, I haven’t skated since I was about 11. I used to be pretty good, but then so are most kids. They have no fear and if you fall the ground is much closer!
But I bravely went along to the King Alfred Leisure Centre on the seafront in Hove, which hosts roller discos every Sunday afternoon. Putting the skates on alone was quite a struggle – getting one on is fine, but then as soon as you put your weight on that foot to lift the other into a roller boot, the wheels start rolling around underneath you! And trying to actually get in to the arena was a challenge as whenever I tried to move forwards I appeared to roll on the spot, or worse, edge backwards.
We went around the area a couple of times clinging on to the wall to get the hang of the movement of our feet and find our balance. By the time I was on my third lap I had inched away from the wall a little and was off! Through the session I started to get the hang of the motion of skating again – swooshing my legs slightly outwards to get going and pick up speed; then slowing down by bringing my feet in and using the front brake pads a little. At one point I started to get a bit cocky and speed up, but then I scared myself that I wouldn’t be able to stop so wisely slowed down!
Did I fall over? I was doing so well and stayed on my feet for most of the session but towards the end the organisers decided to play a game of tag. A handful of the skating guards went round tagging people with a foam stick and once you got tagged you were ‘out’ and had to go stand in the middle of the arena while everyone else continued to skate round in a semi-circle. When I was tagged I quickly made my way across to the middle, conscious that many were still shooting around and I didn’t want to cut anyone up or crash into them. And although I managed to slow down in time before taking out any five year olds and sort of stop myself, once I was standing still the wheels took a life of their own, started rolling and took me off my feet. I fell backwards, slap straight on my arse! Luckily I didn’t hurt myself too much (I have good padding in that area) but it was pretty embarrassing and I gave a fellow skater a good laugh. I’m pretty pleased with myself though, since I haven’t skated in so long I did well not to fall over more often!
The hardest thing actually was navigating around people who were a bit slower next to the wall or small kids who were zooming in and out of small gaps between people.
Afterwards my friend sent me this video for inspiration:
That’ll be me soon! (maybe, not soon, probably never). In the meantime I’ll be watching more skating videos on YouTube. Ones about how to fall properly…