Friday, March 19, 2010

I want a brand new pair of roller skates...

Two women’s league roller derby skaters leap over two who have fallen, 10 March 1950. From Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs division.

A friend just posted this story on Facebook:  CBC News - New Brunswick - Roller derby starts in Saint John . Now I need to point out that I've never really been into full-contact anything but when I read this, I thought: "I want to do that."

I hope this comes to Fredericton.  But even if it doesn't, I think I might go out and buy a pair of roller skates.  I love roller skates.  When I was 11, my best friend had a pair and when I'd stay over at her house roller skating was always on the itinerary.  Except she only had one pair.  And rather than taking turns using both, we'd each take one.   And since we lived in the country and there was not a lot of pavement around, we'd skate on the concrete floor in her basement.  Now there was a real art to building up any kind of speed in a small basement while wearing only one roller skate.  The key was to start at the top of the little ramp leading in from the cellar door and give yourself a good push. (It was important to keep your balance, going sideways off the ramp could land you in the sump pit.)  One good push and you'd gather speed as you glided on one foot.  Just when you thought you'd go headlong into a tool bench you'd reach for the support pole, spin yourself around and head in a different direction being careful to clear the basement stairs.    Once you'd mastered this technique, you could mix it up with various leg extensions, additional turns around the pole and what not.  All of this was done to music.  We'd pop her mom's Crystal Gayle cassette into a little pink tape player or if we were feeling particularly artistic we'd opt for piano instrumentals.  Looking back the whole thing seems rather absurd but we committed to it with the whole-hearted earnestness peculiar to 11-year-old girls (which I secretly wish I could have bottled and stored up for my grown-up self).

Now I know spinning around one-skated to the strains of "Don't It Make My Brown-Eyes Blue" has little in common with the rough and tumble world of roller derby but the conclusion remains: 

I want a brand new pair of roller skates.

Which I imagine will turn out something like this:
(at 2:50 LB demonstrates the above-mentioned pole turn)