Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finding My Skate Legs

Photo by Hayley of Hayley's Horror Hut
In case you haven’t heard, Wenatchee is starting a roller derby league. The Gonzo Mama can’t resist becoming a public spectacle, so I’ve signed up with Apple City Roller Derby.

The pre-registration packet said I’d need skates, insurance, and a commitment to learning a new sport. I love learning new things, and Obama’s cronies promised I’ll have health insurance. Riedell makes a vegan skate. (A bit pricey, no? Have I pointed out my PayPal donation button lately?) When I found out I’d be wearing hot pants and fishnet tights, it pretty much sealed the deal.

Nothing highlights cellulite like hot pants.

Did you know the nearest skating rink is in Soap Lake? Well, it is. I’m sure nothing pleased the proprietor more than the prospect of a herd of adult women in leg warmers descending upon the rink every weekend as they endeavored to find their “skate legs.”

Sure, we have some young ones – and by “young,” I mean under mid-thirties – but a large percentage of the girls are, well, like me. Thirtysomethings with kids, spouses or significant others, the occasional gray hair beneath the most recent application of L’Oreal, and some of us can even remember when all hair spray came in aerosol cans.

You know, girls who learned the facts of life by watching The Facts of Life.

Incidentally, I’ve noticed I’m beginning to get wrinkles around and under some of my facial features. I’ve also developed one deep crease between my eyes, which tells me I worry too much, and no wrinkles across my forehead, because nothing really surprises me at this point in my life.

The point of skating on weekends is not to learn the sport of roller derby, but to get us used to being on wheels. Not just wheels, but two-in-the-front and two-in-the-back wheels, because most of us were also alive for the inline skate revolution, but it’s really not the same. A lot of us haven’t been on quads in twenty years.

I assured myself of utter humiliation by taking my teenaged daughters to the first skate night I attended. Nothing makes you look like a stumbling old broad like being flanked by two agile teen girls who may as well have been born with wheels.

Nothing, that is, except a six-year-old dynamo who’s training for the national speed skating championship. This little tyke celebrated each corner by crouching down, grabbing her outside skate, and cornering on one foot. “Hey, that’s pretty cool,” I said. “Can you show me how to do that?”

The wee wheeler looked me up and down. “No... I don’t think so.”

For the rest of the night, she gave me the stare-down every time she turned a corner. I could read her thoughts: You can’t do it, you stumbling old broad!

Suddenly, I understood derby lust. That night, I learned what it really meant to want to send a girl home with rink rash. So what if she was only six? We’ve all gotta start somewhere.

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