Archive for June, 2010


Skates came today, but it was a little anticlimactic. By the time I’d opened them, I wondered whether I’d hit the “buy it now” button too quickly, wondered whether they’d fit properly, and whether I shouldn’t have gone with a rookie package instead. But they came, so I tried them on and took a quick spin in the living room, but they were a little pinchy. Since I only had running socks on, I was pretty sure that they’d be uncomfortable with thicker socks on. Plus, it just felt a little weird not having talked to skaters, or a skate shop, just doing research on my own and ordering them.

Seller was cool about it, though she hoped she could just send the bigger size. No go; I don’t want to spend yet another $14 on shipping and have them not work out. I’ll visit a shop in Indy/Bton next time I visit my sister, really test some boots out, talk to them about wheels, and hopefully have them put together a rookie package for me.


Waiting impatiently

Roller Rink!
Real Derby Skates (Riedell R3s) are on their way, and I’m just waiting.  I thought about getting the roller blades out, or going ice skating (this house isn’t short on skates in general), but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to confuse my feet right now;  I don’t want to lose anything gained from my time out last tuesday.

In the meantime, I’m reading up on rules, finding some great introductory skills videos, and thinking about a derby name.  Not that anyone’s reading this, but I’m still not sharing until I’m ready to register it, just in case.

I’m just so freaking anxious to skate.

I did some searching and found out there are multiple leagues in the area, including two in Champaign-Urbana and one in Bloomington-Normal (though I think the B-N league is really just getting started). One of the C-U leagues skates mostly at Skateland in Savoy, and I just missed their last open recruitment practice (meaning: come one, come all, join us!).  They’re doing tryouts in September, but that’s a different ballgame. The other league is getting near the same point, but with at least a practice or two left.  Problem is, I think they skate more often in Danville. So I have an email in to the B-N league, to see where they are, whether they’re even to the point of recruiting yet.

I realized today that I’m a sort of Jack Harkness when it comes to hobbies. Love ’em and leave ’em.  I love everything I do — knitting and piano and ice dance and golf and jewelry making and lighting design and photography and mushroom identification and gardening — hard and fully and genuinely.  But I *will* leave.  Eventually, I always leave, say I’ll call but won’t, drop one off somewhere just for the day, never to be seen again. Accepting that, at the start, is really better for everyone involved. Enjoy the time you have, no regrets.


I love skating, but I don’t so much love the stylized figure/artistic stuff.  If the figure skating people still taught and tested and competed school figures, I’d be all over it, but it’s darn near impossible to find patch time anywhere (especially in central Illinois), and not many coaches are prepared to teach figures. And some of those edges just seem a bit scary without a spotter.

I love the feeling of going fast, but I’m not competitive-race-fast, so speed skating isn’t that attractive.  I love the idea of skating miles and miles of frozen canals, like they do in the Netherlands — distance skating on long blades, basically.  But where in the midwest am I going to find something like that?


I keep hearing about roller derby, and every time I do, a little spark goes off inside. And then I overthink it, decide it’s not practical, I’m too big, I’m not athletic, blah blah blah fishcakes.  Whatever.  So last week when there was an open skate in town, I went.  Just to skate, I told myself; just to see if I could remember what it felt like to go fast, to feel a little tough and wild and not-shy and even a little bit intimidating.  And it was AWESOME. Just being on skates again felt awesome. But it’s not enough — I want to see whether derby might be even more awesome. For some reason, right now I’m not scared of it, and I want to keep moving before I lose my nerve!

So I bought skates!!  I don’t know exactly what this means, but I’m taking a leap that I’ll either use them or sell them.  I’ll order protective gear soon as well; no sense putting off safety.  I don’t think I can get into this summer’s recruitment cycle for the local league, but that’s ok; they’re doing tryouts in September, and if I can get out and skate a lot, practice falling somewhere where I won’t tear up my skates, then maybe I’ll go for it without the practices, just for kicks. At least I can skate in the meantime, and work on fundamentals.  Between my skating experience and YouTube videos, I think I can learn a lot on my own.  hopefully.

Not surprisingly, quad skates feel very different from figure skates/dance blades, and very different from rollerblades as well.  But the odd thing is that even though the first 20 minutes felt bizarre and impossible and like I’d made some big mistake in putting them on, over the next hour or so all that strangeness vanished and it felt like I was back in the old church parking lot again.