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Every Life is a Story
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Roller Skating

I just heard that the sixth grade class is going roller skating as a big graduation party at the end of the year. Roller Skating was really the big thing when I was in school, and there were skating parties all the time. The school had skating parties, church had skating parties, birthdays were all skating parties, and any other organization you were involved with would invariably have a skating party sometime in the course of your membership.

The only problem with this arrangement was that I couldn't skate.

I am able as an adult to acknowledge that I have been given a wealth of talents that have enriched my life, and that I have been grateful to have. Basic ability in any sport is not one of them. I do not throw balls well. Or catch them. Or bounce them. Or hit balls with other things such as rackets or bats. And while I can walk, please do not ask me to show off any running skills. Or jumping. Or doing all of that with wheels on my feet.

Skating parties for me meant pain. With the occasional pleasure of a root beer enjoyed with friends in between the pain. I was one of those poor pathetic people who hugged the wall all the way around, and lived in panic for the section at the end where there wasn't a wall to hold on to because the baby area was over there. The number of times I fell and bruised my bottom was astronomical. Everyone else seemed to be born on wheels. They would lace on their skates and take off, and I never saw them again, except as a blur as they passed me by again and again and again.

But skating was COOL, and everyone was doing it- a lot! And I really really wanted to be able to roller skate! So I practiced. I had skates at home I would put on and try out, and fall and bruise myself on the cement. I have pictures of me tying a pillow to my butt to somehow comfort the blow. It didn't help much. I went to every skating party and gave it my best shot. I would play games with myself to see how long I could go without falling or holding onto the wall. I would smile good naturedly at every humiliating tumble and keep trying.

I remember the day I got all the way around the ring without touching the wall once. I also remember learning how to take corners really fast. I never mastered turns or going backward, but after an awfully high learning curve for me, I could skate. And what happened? Skating stopped being popular, and the number of skating parties has dropped to hmm...this would be the first one in my girls' school career.

I guess my point is that while I knew I had no skill whatsoever in skating or any other physical activity. I wanted to do it, and I worked HARD at it, and I was able to get to the level I wanted to be!

Maybe I should go reintroduce myself to the round thing they call the ball.

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