Something I never thought I would actually end up doing, and have always been equally fascinated and terrified by, has snuck itself into my life.
Sometime in January a friend of a friend asked me if I would be interested in joining her for a roller derby ‘fresh meat’ introduction weekend. I said yes, even though my skating skills are none existent and I usually try hard to avoid putting myself in harm’s way. I already felt the adrenaline rush and I hadn’t even signed up yet.
I do have a faint memory from my childhood of a pair of roller skates, which could be adjusted in size and strapped on to my sneakers. I’m not sure how much time I actually spent rolling up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, but it can’t have been much, because I never got the hang of it and have always been convinced it just wasn’t meant for me.
Some time in high school I got a pair of roller blades and my best friend tried to teach me, but again, I gave up before I had even given it a chance. Add 2-3 times on the ice and that’s all I’ve ever been using my rolling skills.
Forward almost twenty years and I find myself trying hard to stay on my feet while being pushed around a sports hall at mind-boggling speeds and trying to avoid landing on my knees, which by now have already turned into beaten up roast beef.
Roller Derby is a contact sport on wheels, with rather complicated rules and a can-do ‘girl power’ attitude. So far I’m enjoying everything (apart from the fact that I suck big time) and I get a kick out of conquering my fears and keep getting back on the wheels even though I fall constantly. (So far my back, tail bone, knees and thumb have suffered from this new obsession). My fiancé is so enthusiastic about it that he sponsored my skating equipment. (How awesome is he?!)
I think what makes it work for me, is that I suck at it now, but I can see that if I stick to it and keep showing up, I will eventually get the hang of it. It also helps that people around me are really inspiring, encouraging and keep cheering me on, even though I constantly need extra instructions in English and have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve always lived by the Woody Allen quote: Eighty percent of success is showing up. But I think I’ll add another mantra for 2012: the more you fall, the more you learn.
So thanks everybody. I’ll keep applying the pain relief cream…