It’s time for another derby update! I finally got my outdoor wheels and put them on … just in time for a snow/ice storm to keep me from actually skating outside. The place I ordered them from put the bearings in for me, but two of them are in kinda crooked, so they wobble,so I can’t use them till I fix that. It’s easy to do, but I didn’t order the bearing puller. Delays delays delays, and it’s all my own fault. I’m now adding a bearing puller to my Christmas wish list in case someone in my family wants to get me a cheap but very happy-making gift. Luckily, I can still use the indoor wheels to practice at home and at the rink.
Jenn and I now have friends at our regular rink, including the manager who helped me fix a slow wheel, the skate guard who used to play derby and gives us tips, and a handful of frequent skaters who just like to chat. There’s a dad who skates every Tuesday with his kid and just seems happy not to be the only adult on the floor. He tried to get me to do the Macarena with him, which was so not happening. I did, however, manage to do a little jump, even if my wheels only came about an inch off the floor. This week, there was also a mom and daughter pair who seem to be into figure skating. The daughter skated around gracefully, making grand gestures with her arms and balancing on one foot. The mom danced and bopped along at a steady pace. When I commented on how much fun she seemed to be having, she said, “I used to do this in a bathing suit, in New York, carrying a martini.” Does that not sound like a fun job?
As you can probably imagine, the rink was a little empty on the Tuesday night after Thanksgiving, so they were indulging a lot of requests. We skated backwards for the entirety of “Rock Lobster,” which is a lot longer than I realized. That was actually great for me as skating backwards is something I’m just getting the hang of. I was SLOW, but I did make it around twice before deciding my thighs had had enough. The backwards skate was when I got the most advice from strangers, though. It was a little sad that people could tell I needed advice so much. Even a little 8-year-old girl came up and started telling me what to do with my feet.
After that experience, I have spent most of the week practicing skating backwards. It’s not that hard to get started, but building up the confidence to move quickly and turn without stopping takes practice. I did find these two videos really helpful though: