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Sk8er Girl

Lee on Wheels

I was thirteen the last time I went roller skating. It was the summer before high school. My self-esteem was so low that I forced my parents to sign me up for summer school gym, so that I wouldn't be forced to get undressed and shower in front of other girls like we were supposed to do in middle school. (I never showered; I just washed my hair in the sink. They ribbed me enough about that, I assure you.) School wasn't the hard part; my parents often enrolled me in summer classes in lieu of camp, and I was happier for it. The hard part was Boot Camp. One credit's worth of gym taken all at once boils down to four hours a day, five days a week, for six weeks. In the summer. In the South Carolina summer. I might have benefitted more from a trip to the psychologist. 

We all had blisters, we all smelled like Ben-Gay, and we all hobbled like arthritic grannies when we weren't being chased around the track or dodging the volleyball/softball/dodgeball, or lifting weights. (I actually liked lifting weights, but I still couldn't do a pull-up to save my life. Still can't.) One of our grand field trips was to the skating rink. We were all so excited to be out of the heat--we looked forward to it for weeks. The fateful day finally arrived...but where was the bus? Oh, no, Grasshopper. Here in summer school PE, we *walk* to the skating rink. 

Some kids were so tired by the time we arrived, they barely skated at all. Me? I loved skating. The music, the wind in my hair, the wooden rink flying beneath me... I had loved ice skating in Vermont, and this was the closest I could get to it. I could skate for hours. And I did. And then we walked back. Those were the worst blisters I've ever had in my whole life. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

But it wasn't yesterday; it was nineteen years ago. Still, I can see that chubby girl flying around the rink, ponytail streaming behind her, lost in her dreams and the music, and wishing that someday she'd have someone to slow skate with. (Things haven't changed much.) And they're still there too: that willowy girl who floats effortlessly across the floor, the guy who dances like he was born on wheels, the younger kids whose skates hit the floor like parades of elephants and who fall down all around you, and the DJ who won't play anything but crappy Top 40 hits.

Last night I accepted that I was going to suck right out of the gate, so I took it slow. I only fell once. Kitti and Jenny were very supportive -- they only started again just last week themselves. I took breaks when I got too hot, and I quit when my knee got wobbly. It's still a bit wobbly today, but that's okay. I have a small blister on my heel (two pairs of socks next time; those damn skates have no insole at all), but that's okay. I'm not hurting yet, but I probably will be, so I took some Tylenol this morning just in case. I'm older now, and I'm smart enough to do this right.

But I'm still allowed my delusions of grandeur. You bet your bippy I'm going to be there next Thursday. Roller Derby, here I come.

Hungry  Jenny raids the concession stand. Mmm...pickles


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 17th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I've never actually skated, despite the fact that every serious birthday party from grades 4-8 was held at the TarWheels skating rink in Oteen. I could never get over the crippling self doubt. My little circle of friends and I would sign in, get our skates, strap them on and then *slowly* roll over to the arcade where we played Rampage for the rest of the day. So I have been in skates, but I have not skated. And that's not even the most telling story about my screwed up youth.
Oct. 17th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, hun...I'm so sorry.
Oct. 17th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
Did I mention I was playing Rampage. That was a pretty fun game. But yeah, it's not an ideal lifetrack.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 17th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Awesome!! I hear there's an ice rink in Nashville too...I may have to check those out when I get a bit more proficient.
Oct. 17th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
It's at Centennial SportsPlex, over by the park! I've skated there myself, about a thousand years ago.
Oct. 17th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oct. 17th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
You know it, bay-bee!

Hmm...I may have to upgrade my lj, just so I can have a Roller Derby avatar.
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
We totally have to skate together sometime. I haven't been in YEARS, and I always loved it.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Snow White

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