- Get low. No, lower. LOWER! The lower you are, the more stable you are. And keep your weight over your skates. Which leads us to number 2:
- No matter how stable and low you are, you can still fall on your ass. Lean FORWARD.
- No seriously, lean forward. You think falling on your ass is less scary because your ass is padded, but you aren’t falling on the padded part. You’re falling at the part where your spine meets your ass. You wear knee pads for a reason, and that reason is TO FALL ON THEM.
- You think you don’t need wrist and elbow pads because you’re just skating on the rink? THINK AGAIN.
- Everyone has advice. It is all good advice. But, like many of my favorite writers say about writerly advice, it won’t necessarily apply to you, and even if it does, it might not apply the way you think it should. Listen, retain, and then just do whatever makes you feel comfortable and right.
- Try to relax. Especially if this is your first time on a lovely, smooth floor, you are going to be tense the whole time. But if you don’t want this to be a regular thing, whenever you notice yourself tensing up, relax.
- Accept that you are going to suck. Remember that no one cares that you suck, except you. Everyone there is either ignoring you completely or trying to help you. Let them.
- Bring water, moron.
Last night, I skated for the first time on a rink floor.
It was terrifying.
It was exhilarating.
It was frustrating.
It was SO MUCH FUN YOU GUYS OH MY GOD!
And now I hurt. A lot. Most of my falls happened in the first 15 or 20 minutes of skating. All of my falls were me landing on my ass. Well, the last one was more like me landing on my back. I am really lucky with that one, I came within an inch of smacking my head on the floor. Aside from a sore but unbruised spot on my back and a tiny bit of rink rash on my elbow, I came out unscathed from it.
Erica lent me some stickier wheels because the ones on my skates are really hard and thus slippery and make it harder to a) keep my feet and b) go slow when I am losing my balance. She also offered lots of encouragement, as did the other girls who showed up. OH MY GOD you guys, when I got there, it was just me, Sass, and Ding, and I was already wicked embarrassed to skate in front of them, and then SO MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP! But they were all very supportive and encouraging and reminded me that everyone looks like Bambi on ice their first time on skates and I love them so much. I’m going to work so hard at this, not just to prove to myself that I can do it, or to lose weight, or to show the world what a tough bitch I am, but to repay their support and prove to them that their help and faith is not misplaced. Sass is a better teacher than she thinks, too. There was a guy from the rink skating and he we trying to help me by giving me someone to hang onto, and then Sass skated backwards holding my hands (and while technically I did fall once doing this, it was barely a fall), and as everyone showed up people would slow down to skate with me and offer advice or shout words of encouragement as they flew past. I took a lot of breaks because I wasn’t used to skating for so long, but I tried to keep them short. The first hour flew by but after that I needed to sit down frequently because my knees and feet were like OH MY GOD, OW! All Ass gave me tips on getting used to derby stance when not on the rink (stuff to do at home) during one break, and every time I noticed another body part in pain, there was someone to pipe up “if it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right!”
The first time I skated outside, I bruised my ass in a major way, and then photographed it and shared it with the internet, because I have no shame. Well, I thought I had no shame. It turns out that I have much smaller but more purple bruises on my ass from last night, but I can’t crop my ass crack out of those photos, so no pics for you! (Feel free to send cash in gratitude.)
Injury tally: 1 tiny tiny spot of rink rash (it’s even tinier this morning after icing and moisturizing it!) 1 sore left wrist. 3 small but violent-looking bruises surrounding the top of my ass crack. 1 split lip (from grinning really hard for hours after 3 days without chapstick). 1 sore spot on middle of back. Sore lower back/glutes, knees, and ankles (just from muscle use, not from falling.) Several small cuts on the top of my feet from breaking in new skates. 1 popped blister, also from breaking in new skates. (I went to bed with an ice pack on my ass and my wrist to reduce bloodflow and took a hot shower this morning to loosen up, but I am still kinda achy.)
Skills tally: I have to slow down and coke-bottle to do it (spreading and then closing your legs without lifting your feet) but I can now turn. I am getting better at sensing when I am about to get off balance and correct it without falling. (I still need to learn to do it without running into walls though!!) I can skate fast when going straight, and pick up my feet at the same time, so once I start working on crossovers, I anticipate doing pretty well turning without slowing.
Skaters tally (derby names where applicable/known. Hopefully I don’t forget anyone!): CrissXCrassApplesass, Wing-a-Ding, Whips n Pains, Aurora Borey-All Ass, A Little Lawless, Ms. Judgement, Lady Burn Johnson, Ovary Action, Bat Cat, Grilled Cheesus, Hooah! Girl, Rock Clobster, Erica, and Josefine, plus a couple skaters whose names I don’t know, and some boyfriends*/husbands and children (Lawless’ son skated up and spontaneously hugged me as I was sitting with Jimmy talking about how sore our knees were! SO CUTE!)
Verdict: SO FUCKING AWESOME! But I am going to visit my grandmother tonight instead of skating, so I can give my parts a rest.
*My in with the bouncers and part of the reason I wasn’t too intimidated to return after my first bout, Bat Cat’s fiance used to work at Tower Records with me.