Roll With the Changes*

There is little scarier than having your doctor call  you and tell you that your lab results show elevated liver enzymes. Especially when your uncle has died of pancreatic cancer and it is one of your own death fears. And yet, that was how this week started.

Tuesday, I went to get a blood draw and then took the rest of the day off to get my nails painted so I would stop biting them and to buy my roller derby gear so that when I do go, it can be on my terms.

By the end of Tuesday my doctor called me back to let me know all looked fine and there was nothing to worry about.

I decided to do derby anyway…

Today, Sunday, I went to the Rose City Wreckers 101 class. The first thing they did was make sure my insurance waiver had cleared. Then they checked my gear and told me to get on the track. I looked at the ladies on the track took a deep breath and proceeded to sit down on the bleachers. The instructor, “Brute” came over to me once she’d checked a few more ladies.

Brute: Are you waiting on an insurance check?

Me: Nope.

Brute: Well, don’t you want to be on the track?

Me: Yep.

Brute: Then why are you sitting.

Me: I don’t know how to skate.

Now, I must admit that I have been ice skating and inline skating a few times this past year. However, my friends who were there will agree, I don’t know how to skate. Most of my skating time is spent holding Andrew’s hand while he drags me around the rink telling me I will be fine. My stopping skills have really improved in that they now involve me slamming into walls instead of splaying to the ground.

Brute seemed disconcertingly less-than-plussed by my pronouncement and told me to try to just get to the center of the rink. Then she left me alone to do that. In truth, I think it calmed me more to think about how little they cared if I broke my neck.

We gathered in the center rink and Brute proceeded to shuffle around the rink showing us how to take a knee, how to take two knees, how to fall forward and then had us practice all of these things. Derby skating is done in a quarter squat stance. If you try to stand up straight and you fumble you will fall backwards and smash your tailbone (as I witnessed others do). The trick is really to stay squatted and to just let yourself fall forward if you fall. After practicing falling for a while I felt super confident. I mean, I knew how to crash to the ground without injury and there was a certain satisfaction to land on all that padding and barely feel it.

The moment of bravery died at the onset of the next lesson where Brute, obviously on some sort of hallucinogenic, stated that we could cross one foot in front of the other.

While. In. Motion.

I laughed out loud at her obvious misunderstanding of physics. Once finished with her description, Brute spoke an incantation and magically sped around the track lifting her right foot in front of her left and pushing off with her left. It was enchanting and I almost believed I could do the same.

Until I tried.

And then realized I was a mere mortal.

I kept trying though because there was nothing else to do for the rest of the hour and a half of class. Eventually I was able to unglue my wheels from the track and trust my weight balance to lift my foot. Of course, crossing the one foot over the other would have been much easier had I not been wearing a football helmet sized knee pad.

Eventually, I got the crossover down (in that kind of way that someone who has spent very little time on skates but has strong legs and can mimic well can do a crossover, but not in the elegant, magic-induced, skate-nymph way of Brute).

About 20 minutes before class ended it felt like someone had lit a fire on my backside. No, I don’t mean I suddenly got faster. I mean it felt like the muscles in my lower back were on fire. I was so disappointed. I consider myself pretty fit because of all the Crossfit, and running, and general exercising I do.

Me (to girl in front of me): My back is on fire.


Me: Oh Thank GOD, I thought it was just a sign that I was old.

Her: Well, I am 20 and my lower back is killing me.

Internally, I was about to gloat that I was keeping up with a 20 year old. Instead, though, I went into the center of the rink and started stretching and removing gear.

I don’t need to keep up.

I am just here for fun for me.

Also, my back hurt.

Also, I am not 20.

Also, now that my liver is fine, I can take my time on this one and work my way up to my inevitable Roller Derby injury.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s