Full of beans and big ideas, I might have been looking to do something about getting involved with derby, but it wasn’t easy. First off, the head ref was proving elusive.
There’s only so many times it’s possible to wander around an emptying sports hall with perceivable intent before looking like an ass. Upon finding the man, I mumbled something about having skated before, referencing a short-lived career in street hockey as a kid.
This was played without protection in a sports hall in North Cardiff. I was not a confident child, so I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I did like skating. After a few training sessions, for reasons I forget, a boy took it upon himself to bludgeon me over the head with his stick and that was the last time I went.
I switched to inline skates shortly after that, finally giving up skating – along with many things I would have been better off continuing – around the same time as discovering marijuana. Skateboarding persisted into my late teens, until for reasons that to this day I’ve never been able to fathom, my Hook-Ups deck got thrown away during a house move. And not by me.
Truth was I hadn’t been on anything with wheels smaller than a mountain bike since about 1998. The last time I had, the boots looked like ski-boots and the wheels were in a line. I had no idea what equipment was being used nowadays, where to get it from, or how much it would cost. Still, the head ref seemed interested, or at least mildly curious. Good enough. I came away with a contact email and celebrated my success by falling asleep on the bus back South, pretty much writing off the rest of the night.
12 August 2010
Spent early August battling excuses. You’re past it. You can’t afford it. You have glass knees and an ankle like a daffodil stem. Your powers are weak, old man.
One by one they fell away. Thirty is old, but I’m not physically infirm (yet). I had what was referred to in quainter times as “rainy day money”, and it had rained almost solidly for the last 18 months. After the initial outlay, it should be pretty cheap. (Well, half-right, but more on that anon.) Buy good kneepads and an ankle brace and let the chips fall where they may.
I ordered some kit from Kickflipboards.com. A transaction hardly worth mentioning were it not for their patience with a newbie and their friendly customer service. If you’re thinking of following suit, you could do a lot worse. (I’ve since updated various bits and pieces; the list is here.) And that was it, the equipment arrived 24hrs later and I’d run out of excuses not to take up this new hobby. And nothing happened.