Sunday, November 28, 2010

Church Guest

Traveling home for Thanksgiving means a break from the norm and spending time with family. This is a mixed blessing. The part where work is barely a thought is a relief. Hanging with the family is fun. Monday morning when I don't have to get up for work will be amazing. The parts where I miss fun things like Sunday afternoon skate church at Magic Wheels and Monday night practice are slightly less great. But not impossible.

Luckily, my hometown has a skating rink nearby, and even luckier, my sister and nieces were willing to spend two afternoons there during my stay. They were seeing it to that packing my skates was worth the effort. My peeps have my back.

The oldest niece (11) wanted to skate when I was home in the summer, but we never scheduled time for it, and the next thing we knew I was headed back to Tennessee. That's kind of how vacation time works -- if it isn't nailed down as a plan before I board the plane north, the chance of it happening is reduced. Greatly. Much like work, fun expands to fill the time available. Just like the little sponge "magic" farm animals and dinosaurs that grow when water is added.

On Black Friday there was a five-hour open skate at Roll On America, with half-price admission for bringing in a wishbone. We hadn't even indulged in our dining table crushing family feast yet, but my sister, the clever Martha Stewart of the family, has an inventory of wish bones she saves to tie onto birthday gifts for a "birthday wish," so we were covered. All of us. The rink was also having a coat drive, so we received free passes for another visit in exchange for coats the girls had outgrown.

We skated a few hours on Friday on the smooth, shiny, yellow and blue floor where the derby track was marked out with smallpieces of black tape. Friday there was a girl there skating in knee and elbow pads who seemed to be a derby girl. I wanted to talk to her, but we seemed to be on opposite timelines for being on the floor -- when I was off the rink she was on it, and then she was gone altogether. I guess I should have chased her down on the floor, but that felt stalker-esque. The price of procrastination. I pay it often.

Sunday afternoon at the rink, there were several derby girls clustered in a corner near the entrance to the Laser Tag room. A couple of my wheels were getting a bit loose, so I headed for their ranks, figuring if anyone in the place had a tool (beside the rentals dude), one of them would, and maybe I'd make a couple new acquaintances. Liz loaned me her tool and was the only one there who even acknowledged my presence in their cluster. It was a sharp contrast to the welcoming attitude of the Red River Sirens, who always seem to be on the lookout for anyone who looks remotely like a derby sister or is a decent skater. And then we talk with them. I guess there is something real to Southern Hospitality after all.

Liz told me they had their skills test coming up this week and she was getting nervous. I meant to wish her luck on the way out, but I couldn't find her. There I go again with the infamous procrastination and lost opportunity cost.

We skated. And it was good. The floor was smooth. The music was decent. The games requiring the clearing of the floor were minimal. Kids were everywhere, but it wasn't too bad. Maybe I was just enthralled by the shiny patina of the floor.  The youngest of the nieces was on skates for her second time -- the first being Friday. She was a persistent little trooper and never gave up. She'd skate a lap and come off the floor to have us guess how many times she'd fallen. The middle niece skated in the driveway over the summer, had developed her skating legs and did a great job. She skated for hours and never fell. The oldest one plays ice hockey and was a whiz on her inlines. My friend and her daughter came and were great skaters, too. The young'un knew how to handle inlines, and even tried the quads. Heck, I could send over a whole roster for a junior league if there was one.

We skated until we were done skating and then we headed out. Unlike church church where you have to fill out a guest card, skate church is a low profile, no follow-up gig.


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