Roller Derby Made Me Soft

Posted on October 24, 2011 by


Yesterday I went ice skating for the first time in months. Although some skills are transferable between the two there are some key differences. The first time I strapped on a pair of rental roller skates about 16 months ago, I stood up and immediately shot up into the air and fell backwards. The first time I went ice skating after getting hooked on roller skating I stepped on the ice and immediately fell forwards over my toe picks. The reason? Ice skates have a corner on the back of the blades and toe picks on the front. These two things mean that to stay upright, your weight needs to sit slightly back in the boot (and the corner will support you). Roller skates are the opposite; you need to keep your weight further forward near the ball of your foot to avoid slipping over backwards.


Yesterday I was painfully reminded of another key difference. Backwards crossovers are performed very differently on the two skates. On roller skates you actually sit taller and take smaller steps than on ice skates, where you sit right down into the move and take bigger, scoopier steps. Yesterday I turned backwards and was chatting with a friend. Not concentrating, I slipped into roller skating mode and took some smaller crosses around the apex. I also forgot that while roller skate wheels are tucked safely out of the way under the boot, ice skating blades hang out a bit at the front and back. On one of the steps my two blades connected and I effectively tripped myself over. Before I had time to register what was happening I was on my stomach on the ice in a sort of superman pose sliding backwards.

My right knee hit slightly before my left and together they absorbed the impact of the fall. And it hurt. Now, when I used to train each week, I had permanently bruised knees. I remember negotiating with my coach to have time off jumps practice so that I could wear a dress to a summer wedding and not look like some 8 year old who had just come off the playground. And, yeah, it’s not like it wasn’t painful but we’d fall and then just get up and try again. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like trying again. I felt like getting off the ice and applying some first aid to the egg that had come up on my right knee.

It’s all the protective gear we wear at derby. I’m so accustomed to falling on foam that I couldn’t handle what used to be a run-of-the-mill fall for me. Roller derby has made me soft! I’m not as tough as these girls:


Posted in: LimboLand