What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, September 21, 2007


The other day, for the first time several years, I went roller blading. In an effort to diversify my training regimen and reduce the chance of an overuse injury on key running muscles, I invested in a pair of inline skates and hit the hard cement of my community sidewalk.

As a backdrop to this episode, I should tell you that I told my plans to a good friend and roller blading fanatic. She tried to appear non-plussed by the idea of my picking up the new sport, but I could tell she was excited. I did not know, however, the cause of her excitement, and would not discover it until I laced on my blades and tried for the first time in years to stand up.

For the blissfully unenlightened among the faithful FCN few, a rollerblade is essentially a ski boot with wheels on the bottom. The wheels are small and well oiled, such that they shift quickly and without warning. Almost any pressure is enough to motivate rotation and the first time I contracted my quadriceps and tried to get off the ground, my feet flew out from under my body and landed me firmly on my rump. And when I say firmly, I mean that with all the inherent force of the word; the landing was not pleasant.

My friend laughed and explained that when the shoes are parallel, there is nothing contradicting the force of forward movement and such an awkward display of ill planned physics is a predictable outcome of my mistake. Only she didn't say it quite like that. Outwardly, I laughed with my friend, but inside determination beat out embarrassment and I decided to try again. And again. And again.

The difficulty for me in handling a new sport is balancing my need for speed with a limited skill set. I'm the kind of guy who races full throttle into every new project and the results are generally injurious. For instance, I broke my thumb on my first ever ski trip, I got shin splints in my first two weeks of competitive running and stress fractures in my first month on the track team. That's not to say that the effort hasn't paid off or been worth the pain, but it hasn't been smooth sailing either.

In my first block, I managed to stay on my feet through a series of tap dance like maneuvers. I looked like an inebriated barnyard animal, but I was very proud of myself. My second lap wasn't as fortunate.

Four falls later, my ego was bruised more than my body. Somehow, I'd been able to navigate to soft landing areas or slow down significantly before connecting appendage with ground. Every time I lost traction and fell, images of painful road rash, a common biker and Xtreme sport injury, crossed through my psyche. The pictures were so disturbing and profound that at a couple of moments, I just had to get to stable position and catch my breath. Then the position would become unstable, the images would return and the fun would start again.

I look forward to dominating this sport and becoming master of the wheels. Until then, I'll just be riding along aimlessly on eight small round disks, with little control over my direction. If you see me, wave hi. I'll try to waive back, but if you see me gyrating, I may not actually be waving.

In other news, an old friend contacted me a while back asking if I wanted to go wall climbing. I accepted and will be conquering a fear of heights sometime next week. At least with a wall, you don't get road rash.


you can call me batman said...

LOL!!!! this was great! unfortunately, I can completely identify with you, because I have done that sort of thing before... and was dumb enough to take up something that required even more coordination... which I don't have in the first place.

guitarbob said...

*to the above* i would pay money to see you attempt to rollerblade...lol

*to fcn* a: maybe you should try going to a sketepark... dont die. and b: im farely sure that wall climbing has slightly higher drops...better not.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there were no links in this article *drops jaw in amazement*

it was still hilarious

Kat said...

I don't read the links anyways.


adrialien said...

the words are "non-plussed" and "wave" and "waving." Sheesh.

Where in the world is T when you need him?

you can call me batman said...

*to the way above guitarbob comment* that's not nice. and anyway, you're one to talk, mister...lol

san jose said...