Sometimes it seems I have to learn things the hard way. Life would be a little easier if I just listened to the warnings of others. My granny used to adamantly tell me to not touch the straightening comb when I was little. She might as well have yelled, “Touch it.” I did it anyway, but all it took was that one time. I still get nervous around straightening combs to this day.
During my brief time in derby one of the things I’ve heard reiterated over and over again is, “Fall on your knees.” Knee pads are worn for a reason. Falling anywhere else is pointless and potentially dangerous. But did I listen?
For all of November and part of December I had the black plague – actually it was bronchitis, but I tend to exaggerate. Sickness and work ultimately led to a two-month hiatus from derby practice. Not good at all. I had been away too long. I wondered if I could even still skate. All that was to change. My partner in crime – Beatdown – and I made the pilgrimage to a skating session in Gainesville Wednesday night
I laced up my new skates for the first time and took my wobbly knees to the floor. I made it around one time without falling and a second. By the third time, I was feeling like I had never taken a break. I still had some close calls but didn’t fall for about the first 30 minutes. Then it came – my first big fall of the night. I willed my body to fall to its knees, and did just that. In my mind an applause track began playing. Yay me! I fell perfectly. This had to be a good sign. Back on my feet I went, and I returned to skating. A second fall followed the next half hour, and I landed in the correct position. I was the master of my body. I would fall correctly forever more. Or so I thought. Let’s just say third time wasn’t a charm.
It happened while working on a drill from the last time I was at practice. I was supposed to lift up one leg from the ground while skating and balancing with the other. I suck at this. At best I can average three play-play seconds which is really one and a half. Yet I hustled on for maybe a minute until … THE FALL.
This fall was different from all the others. It was shrouded in “THE FEAR.” My body latched onto this fear and ignored the one thing I knew: FALL ON YOUR KNEES. Instead of falling forward the leg that was off the ground went flying directly under my butt to save it from busting open. I heard a resounding CRACK! Once I felt the initial pain, all I could do was lay on the floor and think, “Why didn’t I just fall on my knees?” I haven’t even played in a game yet and I’m already injured. Who does that?
I blame “THE FEAR.” In my mind there is that deep, subconscious fear of falling. A fall equals death to me (I’m a tad dramatic). I think as we age our fearless factor disappears in certain areas. Little children don’t have “THE FEAR.” They glide on their skates without a care and pop back up when they fall. I shuffle on skates with a prayer and lay like I’m dying when I fall. But the fear doesn’t protect me from anything. It does more harm than good. Now I’m stuck with a slightly broken right ankle and a splint for the next few weeks. The only thing I can do now is work as a non-skating official.
While I’m recuperating I will channel my inner child to help remove the fear. I’m not a fan of breaks that could have been avoided by simply falling on my knees. If only I had listened. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle (G.I. Joe). Falling anywhere else is just not the bee’s knees.