Ah man. This weekend was really not my finest in terms of self-image. I mean, any week that starts with being the only adult at a children’s roller disco can only get better, right?
Okay, so two months ago I realised I needed a hobby. Preferably one in which I could be legitimately competitive and get fit and learn skills and not be laughed at for being an adult who still gets excited by dinosaurs and Saturday morning cartoons.
Obviously it had to be Roller Derby.
I’ve been watching my local team train for the past 8 weeks now, learning the rules, NSOing for them and generally waiting until their next intake of Fresh Meat. It’s pretty awesome and the team is super friendly. I ordered my first set of quad skates (Suregrip Rebels), and am practising any time I can find a smooth surface outdoors. So far I’ve mastered not-falling-on-my-head, and a few seconds where I accidentally skated backwards…
But none of these cool skills on a slick indoor track. Cue roller disco!
(The kids’ roller disco at the local leisure centre, to be precise. Four of the Derby girls even offered to accompany me for my first indoor skate attempt, which was ace.)
Of course, being wonderfully organised (read impatient and excitable) I arrived about half an hour earlier than intended… and realised very quickly that this was no place for a lone adult who can’t skate. So there I was in my padding like some kind of safety-conscious woman-child, doing that thing where you check your phone, try to look vaguely cool, and like there’s a sensible reason that you’re the only adult watching a hall full of skating children…
…And then a kid asked me ‘whose mummy I was’.
I decided I would look infinitely less creepy if I just got up and skated. So I did the scariest thing I have ever done in my socially awkward life.
And I don’t just mean I sheepishly went round the track a few times, I mean I really skated. I pulled out all the moves. In my head I was a hero to the socially-inept everywhere. I was that girl.
Fortunately my moment didn’t last long – it was a blissful coincidence that the Derby girls arrived just as I stumbled back to my bag to catch my breath. And that’s when I broke my finger.
The rest of the night went remarkably smoothly and productively (ignoring the fact that I’d fractured a knuckle); the four Derby girls showed me how to fall properly, how to stop, and chatted to me as we skated round. I basically copied the way they skated, learning how to cross over on corners, and plow my feet if I wanted to slow down.
I sorta fell in love with skating indoors too. Once over the slipperiness of the floor, I noticed that everything just works on an indoor track, I love it.
Oh, and my broken finger. Yeah that’s actually an embarrassing anti-climax. I think I was so freaked out after my epic solo skate, and so nervous about meeting the Derby girls properly I lost concentration for a moment. One second I was introducing myself and saying hi, the next I was sitting on the floor having crushed my finger awkwardly under my arse. (I, uh, didn’t fall, I just sat down real fast yeh?) It wasn’t even dramatic, it just hurt a lot and then went numb, and seeing as no-one saw me do the actual finger crushing bit, I mostly ignored it until afterwards, when my fiancé pointed out that my right middle finger looked like a bratwurst. And then when I moved it, it didn’t move.
And now I have the problem of explaining to people that my fingers are strapped up because my arse crushed my bones, and yes I was on skates but I wasn’t really skating when I did it, and yes I can still just about do my job even though it is about 80% drawing and I’m right-handed, and no I didn’t get to see the x-ray but they assure me that I probably won’t be permanently deformed. And then the look on their face that says “yay no deformed finger” but also “aw, no deformed finger”.
And that is how I realised that however hard I try, I will never be cool. But I might end up with a deformed finger.