Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Skate or Die? Um… When Do You Need My Decision?

Photo by Hayley of Hayley's Horror Hut,
a.k.a. Prima Donatello, the webmistress
of Apple City Roller Derby
I should be skating right now—or, at least, wanting to skate. At the moment, I have no idea where my skates are, and I’m wondering how long I can claim I “can’t” find them.

Did I mention I’m moving? Maybe those skates will get lost in the move. I should be so lucky.

Back in January, I determined there is no room in the Year of YES for a derby girl dropout, but the prospect is becoming increasingly attractive. Every week, fewer and fewer girls show up, and everyone understands when a derby sister says, “I can’t roll with you girls anymore. I have to put my job/family/marriage/whatever first.”

I have seven kids. I’m not doing an excellent job of meeting the contract deadline for my cookbook. I just launched a new business. Did I mention I’m moving? If my mighty list of why-nots aren’t adequate, I also have The Foot.

The Foot is currently the bane of my existence, and the primary reason I’m finding all sorts of excuses not to skate.

Derby tracks turn left—always left. No one blows a whistle or announces over the loudspeaker, “It’s time for… reverse skate!” Sadly, like Derek Zoolander, I can’t turn left. For Derek, not being an ambi-turner meant losing runway contracts. For me it means wide, sloppy turns that make me a prime candidate for being forced off the track—or worse, rolling off it myself.

It’s all The Foot’s fault. My left foot turns inward at an angle so slight I lived 35 years before noticing it. Of course, I wasn’t on skates, with more protective gear than an NFL linebacker, trying to squat and navigate a hairpin on skates for even one second of those 35 years. When I roll forward, The Foot gradually “snowplows” into its straight counterpart on the right, ensuring I’ll learn to eat track. A lot of track.

I called my derby friend, Mia Feral, for advice. Mia suggested padding the inside of my skate to force The Foot into alignment, allowing me to skate in a straight line and “deftly leftly” cruise around the turns. Brilliant!

Sadly, The Foot didn’t buy it. Learning to eat track with a queen-sized pillow shoved into the front of my skate was neither fun nor effective. I tried loosening the front truck (it holds the front wheels in place) on my left skate to give my wheels a little more “play” and transferring my weight to the outside of The Foot, but only ended up with blisters and a bum ankle.

Now, I’m looking into structurally modifying my left skate by offsetting the plate (which holds the trucks in place) to the same degree as The Foot’s angle. That means drilling new holes in the bottom of my skate, and finding a huge protractor to stand on to measure The Foot’s degree of defiance. It will also mean a bit of drag when I skate, if I can skate at all, so I’ll be working my left leg harder than my right, which will probably give me a really interesting physique, in time.

I’m pretty much ready to quit. Except...

A couple weeks ago, I got a ride to the skating rink in Soap Lake with a young woman who had two canes propped in the back seat of her car. I didn’t ask any questions until my driver used those canes to make her way through the parking lot and into the rink. Readers, you know me—I’m a nosy mama. I asked my new friend what the deal was with the canes.

She had an inexplicable stroke last year. Her therapists were doubtful she’d walk again. Now, all she wants to know from her doctors is when she can SKATE.

There’s a reason our league motto is “Suck it up, Princess.” No matter what challenges I face with kids, moving, work, or The Foot, there will always be someone out there, showing me what it means to truly persevere. Now, I need to establish whether The Foot will simply defy me, or remarkably define me.

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  1. So sorry to hear that you've been eating rink. Can't be fun to do that too often. But still think the whole skating thing rocks! As do you!

    More details about this moving thing?

  2. Awwww, thanks, M4M! I think you're pretty fantastic, too! We moved to the "big" city, from the wilds of our unincorporated county. I feel so proper, now!


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