Sunday, September 12, 2010

An eight-wheeled adventure

On Saturday afternoon I went rollerskating.

No, this is isn't something I do all the time; in fact, before a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea there was anywhere you could skate (publicly) in Adelaide1. But at the steampunk party I found out that that wasn't true – there are several places around town – and two weeks later I'd arranged to go skating with woman named Jen (from the steampunk party) who was a regular at the St Clair Recreation Centre at Woodville.

If you happen to be thinking that I'm leading into an hilarious story about how I went rollerskating and, thanks to my uncoordination, fell on my ass a whole bunch of times and made a complete idiot out of myself in front of someone I'd just met2, and a building full of kids, I'm afraid it didn't quite go that way.

Because, even thought it was a while ago, I've skated before. A lot, in fact. Pretty much every Saturday afternoon for about five years (while aged maybe 8-13) I went skating at the rink in Bowen, which was (conveniently) only about half a block from my house, and I went often enough that my parents got me my own skates. So yeah, I think it'd be fair to say I was pretty good.

Like I said, though, it'd been a while – I hadn't pulled on a pair of skates for at least twenty years. I'd been ice-skating a couple of times, but that had been it. However, the ice-skating experience let me know that it – skating ability – fell into that category of things you don't really forget how to do.

And this played a very large part in my deciding to go. Not that I would otherwise balk at doing something I've not done before, but I've got the lead role in a show opening in a couple of weeks and I'm not really prepared to risk screwing that up by doing something that'd lead to me being injured3 and unable to go on.

So, I made my way out to Woodville and found the St Clair recreation centre, paid my eight dollars and checked in my shoes – you have to; that's the only way they'll give you rental skates. I'd been warned that the house skates were pretty dodgy, so I wasn't that surprised with what I got – though they did get the size right. So, I got them on and got myself out on the floor.

I was a bit shaky at first, but after a couple of laps I was remembering4 how it all went. I got quicker and quicker each time I went around and found myself weaving between the slower-moving people – and dodging the fallen ones.

But I didn't go all out. At one point I was moving fairly quickly and tried to step it up a notch5 but felt some give in the wheels, so I decided against it. By this point I realised I was enjoying myself and would almost certainly go again; I could leave the riskier stuff for the next time I came – when injuring myself wouldn't have the same consequences.

What I also didn't do was play any of the games – like limbo or ship-to-shore (which I won't try to explain) or go in the speed skate. But it was interesting that some of these were exactly the same as the ones I'd played over twenty years ago.

Another thing it did was provide me with a sense of nostalgia. Skating was something I really loved as a kid, and – somewhat sadly – that isn't a very long list. But this reminded me that during my time in a tiny craphole in the middle of nowhere there were some enjoyable activities.

Oh, and the music was, well, interesting. Fortunately, there wasn't any Justin Beiber. I remember precisely two songs from my skating days – I See Red by Split Enz (it was the speedskate song) and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham.

They didn't play either, oddly enough.

I didn't expect for there to be anyone I knew there, but Adelaide is Adelaide. Jen, the friend I was there with, is a dealer – of skates and skating equipment that is – and one of the people she had gear6 for reminded me a lot of Katrina, someone I'd worked with back at Origin – and, of course, that's who it was7. So we spent a bit of time catching up, and I also chatted to her partner, Vaughan – apparently, they're there fairly often (with two kids) as well.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and fully intend to go back – though not until my play is over. While I managed to keep from injuring myself, I did acquire a few blisters and I'm fairly sure I'm going to have some trouble walking tomorrow – but, as I seem to be saying reasonably often at the end of blogs these days, it was worth it.

1I knew there was a Roller Derby league, but didn't think that necessarily meant there was skating anywhere else.
2As opposed to making a complete idiot of myself in front of people who are already my friends; that wouldn't be as big a deal – or a surprise.
3Apart from anything else, if whatever I did to myself didn't kill me, my director would almost certainly finish me off for screwing up her play.
4Or, more accurately, my muscles were remembering; it wasn't exactly conscious.
6No, I still don't mean drugs.
7Yeah, it's a scarily small place at times.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jamie
    I enjoyed reading about your return to skating...I'm contemplating my own at the moment, as I, like you have skated before and I think I'm ready to get back out on the rink like it was yesterday...! Or more like Skateway at Kirwan! You've inspired me!