Riddle me this. How many gins does it take for me to say I’m going to start Roller Derby as a new hobby?
One. The answer is one rather lovely, fragrant, cardamom spiced gin. And tonic.
That, and a one hour windmilling wobble around a roller rink with some friends. One of which happens to be a retired Roller Derby-er(?), saying ‘you should try it, it’ll be really good!’
I think the clincher might be how competitive it apparently gets. Not that I have an issue with being competitive, but if I did, I’d totally have way more of an issue than you…erm.
There also seems to be lots of barging and blocking and well, I did used to like hockey mainly for the accessory of a hefty wooden stick…
Some combination of the above found me googling Roller Derby NZ later that night as we waited for Chinese takeaway to arrive.
The only issue may be actually being able to skate. I wouldn’t have thought I’d have an issue with roller skating. I had them as a kid, then roller blades. I’ve ice skated, skied, snow bladed, snow boarded – basically engaged in lots of activities involving making my feet really unsteady and then adding momentum. No problem.
Until. Until a few months ago at work. Yes, we do work extremely hard. Ahem. We’d just been moved sites and found ourselves in a totally different set up – windowless and segregated and not at all how we’re used to working. We knew our mental health might well take a hit so we were planning around this. Going for a walk at lunchtime somehow morphed into roller skating down the promenade. One friend (the aforementioned Roller Derby-er, yeah I’m going with it) had skates in her car, so a practice run/skate/slow motion fall was agreed upon.
Well. Never has the phrase Bambi on ice sprung so easily to mind. The moment I stood up, my feet slid forwards and rather rudely did not take the rest of my body with them. It was like they were trying to escape. I was like a cartoon character slipping on a patch of ice, arms and legs doing a frenzied backward cycling thing to try and keep my balance.
Then of course it didn’t help that we were all in fits of laughter. In fact, it’s probably mainly my love of making people laugh that prompted me to carry on with the debacle and head outside. That, and a determination not to be beaten by pair of roller skates. No, you’re the competitive one.
I won’t bore you with all the details of that never-to-be-repeated outing, but it did include me ejecting myself from a pedestrian crossing at speed, grabbing onto the traffic light post as it passed me, and swinging back round towards the road with feet flying and ending wrapped around the post half a foot off the floor like a stunned sloth. Wearing roller skates.
No help from my wonderful work friends who were all but on the floor laughing by this stage.
Now, we walk to Lidl at lunchtimes and do a press ups challenge together instead.
All of this is to illustrate how ludicrous it is that I’m even considering turning up and roller skating again. But the second time I tried it – not on an uneven pavement and a lot stronger than I was – I actually enjoyed it! I realised I don’t often learn a new skill, most things are routine and familiar and it confuses me when I can’t do something straight away, like cross my feet over to take a corner on skates. I had to have a word with myself to remember it takes time, practice and patience to learn something new. But it can be a lot of fun.
It was a fab night with friends I will truly miss. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, and all the better for it.