Sunday, October 11, 2009

Madmother: Queen of the Roller Derby

Yesterday, my ego swelled to mammoth proportions. No jokes about it matching the size of my arse please readers, I am well aware of my blatently bountiful butt buns, now back to my gloating. Our family has been roller skating every couple of weeks for the last few months, a love I was ecstatic to return to, and even happier to share with B1 and B2. Boy 1 does not enjoy most sports. Not only does he suffer from low muscle tone, as does his brother, he finds the intricacies of the rules, noise, and team dynamics just too distressing. To find something he enjoys, albeit with ear plugs in place, is a blessing. To find a sport we all enjoy as a family, even better. Boy 2 is mini me in personality, he puts on those blades and takes off like a rocket, weaving forwards and backwards, pushing his limits. Boy 1 slowly meanders around the rink, keeping in perfect sync to the muted beat. Calmly, happily, methodically perfecting his technique.

Usually we take extra's along. Friends now clamour to be included. The boys love showing off their nearly honed skills, and enjoy helping friends learn the art of rolling. But back to me. Skating was my first love. At twelve I was given a pair of those old rattley tie-on skates, at fourteen, joy of joys, a roller skating rink opened. By fifteen I was working there, and the coolest girl skater on the scene. My love was speed skating, followed closely by roller hockey. I was kicked out of figure skating as the old duck teaching demanded I give up the speed and hockey, as they could never be pursued in conjunction with the grace of figure. Ah, no, not going to happen!

So here I was, the only girl allowed to skate in the boy's skate (very sexist back in the 70's), the one they all called "snowy" due to my burgeoning figure (size 8, 10C if you get the idea), the one whose name was broadcast all the time over the microphone, teased, taunted, worshipped. Very in. The running joke was that my skill and speed in skating backwards was related to the unique advantage of my bust size. Ballast, they called it. And yes, no boy could out speed me in a backwards speed skate! For my sixteenth birthday my not well-off parents scrimped and saved and bought me the finest pair of figure skates they could afford. In 1979 $140 was a lot of money. My pride and joy, I cleaned, polished, pulled apart, serviced and maintained these leather topped white obsessions. In a few weeks, these skates, which are still in very good condition - money well spent mother - will be thirty years old. I disguarded the speed skates many years back, they were only an after thought, a few years later than my figures, never captured my heart in the way my true and trusted italian leather tight trucked beauties have.
And EVEN THOSE beauties sat in my cupboard for over ten years, probably closer to fifteen if I am honest. Pulled out once or twice, cleaned, even serviced by a professional once, then put back amongst the dusty relics of youth.

Until now. The last few months have been fun. Some days I feel really comfortable, and in the zone. Others, I feel every inch of my nearly 46 years. Yesterday was a good day. Voltaren on weak knee, brace on, skates ready.

We arrive to bedlam. This day the Sun State Roller Girls are doing a promotion at the rink. They train here every week, and I have been to one of their bouts. They are cool, sexy and yes, the queens of the rink. My old title. The four boys were ecstatic - wow! Roller Derby Girls! They were on a recruitment and fundraising drive, and the rink was three times as crowded as a normal Saturday. Lots of little goth wanna be's, trying to be noticed, large numbers of the fresh meat brigade, t-shirts intact, attempting to show off.

A few glance askance at my glaringly white boots with faded yellow wheels. A few more giggle at the old girl with the cluster of kids actually thinking she could put a pair of old figures on and dare to give it a go. I organised the kids, three could skate, one boy a first timer. Remained with him calmy talking him through the basics, building confidence on the carpet until I felt he was centered, balanced and ready to tackle the small rink. Walked him around, reassuring, until he was safe, stable and gradually mastering the techniques. Boy 1 came and helped, these two have been best friends since they were 3 years of age. All happy, AC/DC "Thunderstruck" comes on loud and pulsating, I need to skate. Now, all this time roller derby girls and wanna be's have come past, some smile, some smirk, some just show outright shock at an old girl, as old as their mother, on wheels. Then I hit the floor. The music lifts me and I gradually warm up, muscles loosen, I begin to fly. Jaws drop, people take notice.

The session goes on, the usual games, me juggling boy demands, keep my eyes on all 4 as they hit various corners of the rink. Due to it being a special day they decide to throw in a speed skate. Cool - I am happy to go in with the beginners, for my skills are not near what they once were. At this point my thoughts were merely: don't write off someone due to age, I can still find joy in motion.

So off I went, couple of the new recruits jump on, forwards, backwards, I fly. I feel alive, especially with 4 little men cheering me on. Coming off, the rink owner, who I chat with frequently, grabs my arm, turns, shocked and states: "I had NO idea you could skate like that! Get back out there for the experienced skate!" I pause, look to the floor, group of derby girls and blading boys, but not really that daunting. And turn and sprint back into the group. Exhilarating! Not the fastest, but certainly not the slowest, smooth, sure, pushing my speed up until I am flying. Forwards, backwards, come off when they turn to figure eights, not that insane.

Slawter Dawter approaches me, the first of three conversations, lobbying, requesting, asking: would I be interested in joining the SSRG? Pushing harder, telling me I am exactly what they are looking for, brushing aside my protestations of unfit, overweight, old injuries. I compromised, will work on my fitness, and have my knee surgery, and assess again in the New Year. She asks me if I will guarantee joining up then, no, I cannot until I feel I am ready and can give it my all.



1 comment:

Madmother said...

As an add on, I have decided I will join later in the New Year. Skating gives me a real high, a rush as they asked about in the #best09 Gwen Bell challenge. I will admit though, that I have bought black lycra covers to hide my glaringly white boots...