Taking my 8 year old son roller skating seemed like a wonderful idea, until I laced up my ‘Crazy Derby Skates’, stood up and realised that I had just secured 8 wheels to my feet. Eight wheels that move – in different directions – usually at the same time. What the hell was I thinking?
Although I managed to stay upright for the entire two hours – I was a Rollerskating Princess in my youth, as were most 70-80’s children- I did notice that there were people around me who were less confident on their wheels. Of course, the writer in me made descriptive mental notes on the most common types of falls –
The Splits Fall – where both legs shoot out in different directions, meaning that your groin hits the ground before any other part of the body. This fall is sudden, unexpected and impossible to recover from once it has commenced, unless you are a former ‘Thigh Blaster’ addict and have the inner thigh strength of the 1980’s Jane Fonda. Due to the high probability of groin injury this is, clearly, not a fall of preference for males.
The L-O-N-G Fall – where you lurch forwards, then sideways, then backwards and then repeat the pattern numerous times as your arms and legs flail like a flag in a hurricane. Your feet leave the ground one at a time, for what seems like hours, as you continue to move at the speed of sound because you haven’t quite figured out what those little rubber stoppers under your toes are for.
Balance is restored for a millisecond, before being lost again, and again, and again.
This is the longest horizontal fall in history and can take a good twenty or thirty metres to complete. In fact, it’s so long that onlookers could be forgiven for thinking that you are performing some nifty dance moves or are having a seizure of some kind.
The long fall will end in either a spectacular display of tangled arms and legs, face down into the roller drome surface, or will, miraculously, be corrected and end when balance is once again regained. That is until a small insect flaps past you, the down draft of his wings causing you to commence the fall all over again.
It is important to believe, during this fall, that no one is looking at you. Not one person is looking at your utterly ridiculous body movements, and the tortured expressions on your face, which could rival those of Jim Carrey. No one is thinking, “what the fuck is wrong with that guy?” The reason for this is that if you were to become aware of an entire roller drome of people absolutely pissing themselves laughing at you, your fall would hurt even more.
The Stationary Fall – this fall is particularly sneaky and usually occurs when you are at, what you presume, is the safest place in the roller drome – clinging onto the side rails with both hands. Then, for no reason known to man, you end up flat on your arse.
The Flying Fall – This fall is the one that, usually, hurts the most and may result in an injury that requires weeks of Physiotherapy (depending on your age and bone density). The Flying Fall may begin like a LONG FALL, but is vertical instead of horizontal.
Without warning, both of your feet flip upwards, leaving you looking directly at your knee caps as they fly past your face and continue in an upwards direction, resulting in a momentary hover approximately three feet above the ground.
It is at this particular point in time that it occurs to you that there is absolutely nothing but fresh air between your arse / back and the hard, cement surface beneath you.
It is also at this point, for the scientifically gifted amongst us, that you realise gravity is a bitch and is about to drop you back down to earth at the rate of a speeding torpedo, but with much less elegance.
With a violent crunch that can be heard two streets away, you find yourself sprawled on the floor performing a remarkably accurate impression of a dying body. The Ambulance is called as you are scraped off the floor and your body pieces reassembled, hopefully in the right order, in the nearest chair.
The owners of the Rollerdrome fuss over you, removing the skates from your feet, and praying that you don’t sue them three ways until Sunday.
Of course you insist that you are alright, even though there is no feeling left in either the Thoracic or Lumbar Vertebrae, your wrist is at right angles and your pride has been smashed beyond recognition. Instead, you limp off to your car trying to convince yourself that all you need is an Ibuprofen, warm shower and a good night’s sleep, and you’ll wake up in the morning feeling as good as new. Suddenly, recapturing your youth by drinking too much and wailing woefully to Karaoke doesn’t seem so bad…