This week, one of our sweet fresh meat babies (aka Dirt Birds) brings us a telling of his experience skating so far. Here are the words of Chris Eichel, aka Jabberwock.
I can't skate.
This was the mantra that I kept repeating as my friend Leo, who now goes by the derby name of Mosh Bit, urged me on to come to one of the Atlanta Men's Roller Derby practices. The excuses that I came up with were endless. My dainty ankles will snap in half. I've the balance of a drunken sailor. My knees are made of wet paper. This was the battle that went on for weeks, until I began to run short on witty things to say in response.
Finally, I caved. I ended up going to one of the Atlanta Rollergirls games, and fell in love with the sport.
At the end, I knew I wanted to be a part of it, but the fears still lingered. It was going to be that high school experience all over again. The fear of being laughed at when you can't throw the ball as well as the next person over, or when you're the slowest one running the laps. I prepared myself for the worst, picking the cheapest mouth guard I could as to not regret the purchase later.
I could not have been more wrong.
I went to my first practice, and I still couldn't skate. But that didn't stop our fantastic coaches and equally fantastic team members from working with me from the start. From the tips on how to balance, to the motivation to stand back up when I've fallen, and to the cheers that came when I was able to stand on my own and begin to move.
I ran out to buy my own gear the next day, and I've been getting better ever since.
I'm coming up on my fifth practice with the team now, and the support has not stopped. I am constantly pushed to learn new things, and am able to do so at my own pace. The genuine love for the sport seems to drive these 'Gents to welcome new members with open arms. I can say it is one of the most welcoming groups I have been a part of.
Regardless of whether it’s your thousandth time on skates, or your first time lacing up, come out and join us on the track. The worst thing that can happen is you make a few great friends.