Derby’s already taught me a lot about what I’m capable of. But another wonderful side effect is what it’s taught me about what I am willing to do to get there. Like most people, I prefer not making a spectacle or an ass out of myself in any way, shape, or form. It’s just something I’d rather not do. I don’t like being the center of attention, and most of the time I prefer to blend into the background. (Does that mean I prefer to wear conventional clothes, make-up, hairstyles, and do what most people do? No. That’s another story.) Unfortunately, I tend to be quite noticeable, which was unfortunate throughout my school years. I don’t have the best possession over my appendages, I’m someone who should never eat in public, etc. etc. Then something magical happened as I meandered into adulthood – I really stopped caring.
Enough awkward, embarrassing, cringeface things had happened to me by that point, that I figured adding another thing or two to my list wouldn’t really matter. After all, this line of thinking is responsible for getting me skating in the first place (full awkward story featured in the JAM! book). This has done nothing but benefit me so far throughout my derby career – as long as I don’t mind making a complete fool out of myself, I will keep progressing. After all, how many times have I seen skaters I admire take embarrassing tumbles? Many. So many. And all it does is add to my love and the feeling of camaraderie and companionship within the sport.
Anyhoo. So we had a practice the other night led by a former childhood figure skater, who showed us all kinds of crazy drills to test your balance on skates. One, she had us balance on one leg, while swinging the other leg like a pendulum to the left and the right in front of our body. In theory, the momentum would eventually propel us forward as we remained balanced on the one leg. It was an extremely awkward and weird feeling (especially reversing the process, swinging a leg behind you in order to skate backwards) that made me feel like I didn’t even know how my body worked. But from my experience, this has been the only way I’ve learned anything about skating so far – doing something that feels SO odd, SO crazy, that the more I do it and get used to that feeling the more I’ve expanded my skills repertoire.
My off-season goal: to keep practicing awkward drills like this until I resemble Gene Kelly’s insanely awesome roller skating in this movie from the 50s.