What an incredibly beautiful weekend it turned out to be. Through out the week, the forecast wasn’t great – cool temperatures, clouds and rain. I was not optimistic. Fortunately things changed and Mother Nature brought us nothing but blue skies and sunshine both Saturday and Sunday. What a waste it would have been to spend the days indoors, so I didn’t. Saturday I’d decided to take the day off from the gym so after a slow rise in the morning and a trip to every Nederlander’s favorite supermarket, Albert Heijn, I putzed around the house looking for something to do. With the sun shining I thought it was a good time to look through my warmer weather clothes. While digging I came across something that sparked an idea of how I could spend a few hours.
I found my “skate pants” (aka trousers so as not to confuse any Brits out there). Along with all the work and casual clothes I brought with me when I moved, I also decided to bring my rollerblades and this pair of baggier-than-I-normally-wear jeans. I’m sure at the mention of “rollerblades” neon colors, spandex, and trails along the beach came to mind, but that’s not the kind of rollerblading I take part in. Think skateparks and half pipes. Yes, I do that.
Since my Junior year of high school umpteen years ago, before the sport was even out of its infancy, my friends and I used to take our modified Rollerblade Lightnings to the local high school to jump off stairs, grind on curbs and benches all while wearing ridiculously baggy clothes to cover our huge Boneless kneepads. Fortunately the baggy clothes are long gone, but the passion for jumping and sliding around still has a place in my heart. After many failed attempts of finding something I was passionate about and willing to take the time to learn, I found this sport and a great group of guys. No surprise, I was the only girl.
Through the years, the moves from one city/state/country to another, the phases of life and relationships, rollerblading seems to be the thing I always come back to even after many months without giving it a thought. When I moved to Amsterdam at the end of 2010 I knew I wanted my skates with me. I wanted to know I could put them on if the mood struck and if all else failed they would be a great way to get out and meet people.
Over the last couple of weeks the universe started sending me signals that it was time to skate again. A fellow female rollerblader started getting back into the sport, sharing pictures and videos and traveling with others to events. Just last week someone commented on a picture of my skates I posted on Facebook over a year ago. When I saw the comments and my skates that feeling came rushing back. I wanted to roll around again. When I saw that pair of jeans, I knew exactly what I should do and I did. I put them on, grabbed my skates and headed to Museumplein for the public miniramp that I’d checked out in passing.
When I arrived there were a few small children running around on the ramp treating it like a jungle gym and one other rollerblader just waiting for company. I slid on my skates and, without giving myself time to think that it had been a year since I’d done this last, I put my foot out on the edge of the ramp and rolled in. In that first split second the feeling came back. My body and muscles knew just what they were supposed to do. Sure I was a little clumsy the in the beginning as I got a feel for the ramp and in a rhythm of going back and forth, but it felt so natural.
The kid and I traded turns on the ramp, him showing off and having fun, me trying not to maim or kill myself. About an hour later a pack of photographers pulled up next to the ramp. They were on a street photography workshop and apparently what we were doing was considered “street”. They snapped away as we rolled around. Just before they left I overcame my shyness and asked one of them if they would mind sending me any photos that turned out. I gave my email address and hoped they’d remember.
After skating for an hour and half, starting to get the feel of things again (and watching a skateboarder break his ankle then having to call an ambulance), I called it a day. Better to quit while ahead and uninjured. A few bruises for posterity, but that’s to be expected. I was so happy that I’d found my skate pants and decided to ignore any reservations, nervousness or embarrassment and just go for it. I had an absolute blast skating and am now looking forward to doing it again soon. At my recent pace, anything less than a year will be soon, but I think it will be much sooner than that.
To top it all off, the photographers didn’t disappoint. One of them emailed me today a few photos they snapped. So, here you go. This is a side of me not many people know about, but one of the ways in which I feel I can truly identify myself. I am a rollerblader at heart and for life.