I hate moving fast.
As a little girl, I was always hesitant to lose control in the ring of the roller skating rink. The fear of knocking out my teeth challenged any interest I might have had in feeling a racing heart rate and the wind in my hair.
It didn't matter whether it was a birthday party or Girl Scout skating event. I'd lace up those brown leather boots with the day glo orange wheels and rubber stopper then grip the walls and railings, desperate to make my way around without falling flat on my ass.
Sometimes I did, anyway.
Fighting back the tears and bemoaning a pained bum, my ego would bruise as I realized that everyone saw me lose my footing and confidence.
I'd paw my way back to an upward stance and push my skated feet out, timidly getting control of my footing. My wheels and I would set out for another circle of the rink while a Tiffany or Debbie Gibson torch song blared on the P.A., striving to conceal my 3rd Grade mea culpa with false confidence.
For all the embarrassment, I managed to survive.
I was reminded of my days in those popcorn-scented, disco-balled roller rinks this weekend while taking in the Cincinnati Rollergirls at the Cincinnati Gardens Saturday night. We were grateful to get seats on the floor thanks to ace Rollergirl and local Twitterati MissPrint95.
My Twitter friend's petite stature contradicted my initial expectations for the Rollergirls. I thought the team would include a roster chock full of brutish, imposing women with a need for speed. I had no idea the team was made up of so many slender, pint-sized gals; as it turns out this is quite the blessing for teammates striving to cruise through a pack of fish netted opponents.
The Knoxville team comprised of women with colorful nicknames and just as flashy bloomers, skirts and garter belts, all of them whirling around the shellacked floor on roller skates with wheels in every color of the rainbow.
Every Rollergirl sailed around with nary a worry for her teeth, her ass and her ego - instead committed to playing as a team. Sometimes someones feet would get twisted up with another, and a Rollergirl would be on her bum, back or knees. But every athlete would hop up, shake off the pain and sail off in the direction of the pack.
A few of the Knoxville Rollergirls were injured pretty badly and had to be hauled out of the arena on stretchers. Broken bones or stitches, I'm not certain of the extent of their injuries, but I know they'll survive and probably even lace up their skates in the weeks or months ahead.
Falling on your ass doesn't kill you, even though there may be days when you wish it would.
Thankfully it's a pain that's survived and even followed by much success -if you work hard and are committed to catching up with the pack.