I can remember the first time I put on a pair of roller skates. I was 5. We had a field trip to roll-a-way skating rink for my Daisy girl scout troop. My mother strapped me into the skates and I was off. My mother was terrified because I had my tongue sticking out the whole time and she was sure I was going to fall and bite my tongue in half. That never happened (thank god) but inside me a love sparked that I carry to this day.
As a preteen I would slip my Paula Abdul tape into the boombox and skate in circles in my garage for hours. Round and round to Cold Hearted Snake and Hush just me and my favorite skates. In the late nineties I would flirt with inline skates, but I always came back to my favorite quad skates. In my teens I would stop skating for a bit, switching with my friends to skateboarding which was not my forte.
In my twenties I was at the Columbus International Body Arts Expo when I saw a flyer on a table for a newly forming Roller Derby team in Columbus. I was immediately interested, but was trepidatious so I just didn’t pull the trigger. One of my coworkers joined, and I was there at the very first exhibition bout. I was mesmerized by these ladies, who were skating rock stars.
With names like Scarlette Fury, Ruby Doom, and Holly Hotwheels these badass women were the hardcore skaters that I always wanted to be. They were fast, and hard hitting. They were semi-violent tank girls on quad skates. All I wanted was to be one of them, be friends with them, and to support them in any way possible.
Since then I have gone to at least one bout every year. I trained with them for a couple of wannabe sessions a few years ago, until a freak non-skating knee injury led to a torn ACL. I have volunteered by working the door, and anywhere else they need me. And next season my friend Susan and I are going to be Roller Derby cheerleaders for Ohio Roller Derby.
It has been a while, but I am also beginning to want to get back on my skates. I have begun checking out paths that are smooth enough for skating, and safe enough. I need to get my skates out to give them some TLC. I think I am going to paint them, and maybe glitter them up a bit. It’s time to skate again.