Changing my derby ways, Part 1

I started flat track rec league last January. It was fun, but ultimately frustrating. I just couldn’t get out of the Primer level, even though I could perform enough of the skills. It was getting boring. Instead of getting to watch, skate with and learn from better skaters, every time a new session would start I’d be back with the beginners. This was not satisfying.

I decided to take this summer off from rec. The practice warehouse was hot, anyway, with precious little air circulation. Heat and I don’t get along all that well. For the first month of the summer, it was speed skating on Fridays, skate park on Saturdays and maybe adult night on Tuesdays. Not bad. But a trip to the skate shop in June got me excited about a new venture: banked-track lessons, and possibly “wreck” league.

The first day of lessons, I didn’t know how to get on the track. The one woman I knew at practice showed me how, so I managed to get from off-track to the infield no problem. After a few minutes of greetings, general instructions and tips, we were off! I’d never skated on the banked track, so I was a little wary, but I decided the best thing to do was to just get up on it.

So fun! The first couple of weeks I felt a bit like Bambi on the frozen pond, but because I had a year of skating behind me I found myself getting comfortable with a quickness. The same things that have been hard for me in flat track – turnaround transitions, drunken sailors (a drill involving a crossover on every step) – are still hard for me. But I’m getting better. A lot better. A lot FASTER.

The skate shop owner, a skater herself, says she always recommends that folks try BOTH types if possible, to see if one or the other is a better fit. Last year, I’d not even considered the possibility of skating banked. Now, I can’t imagine NOT skating banked.

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