My Skater Days Are Over

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I once went through this rollerblading phase. I was checking out all the skater mags and watching the X Games. I could name off all the top “bladers” and even bought a pair of skates branded after the best.

I was never any good though. In fact, I spent most of my time falling. I fell off stairs, I fell off walls, I fell off rails, and I fell off ramps. I fractured ribs, I scraped up limbs, and I ended up with this nasty scar on my hip.

One day I was going as fast as I could down a nice steep hill. The asphalt a blur under me. I pushed hard. Left, right, left, right, imagining myself as an olympic speed skater (you know the guys with the five wheel skates). And then, in some random spark of youthful retardation I became aware that I should try a little jump.

My knees bent and pushed—I felt the vibration in my feet cease as my feet left the ground. We have lift-off! My skates came together. The goal was to point them off to my left, a quick jab and back on the blacktop. But sometimes what we envision is not what happens in reality. I became aware that I was once again about to fall.

My feet had not returned to their forward facing position. And when they once again conected with the pavement I found my body careening through the air. Something I had not anticipated. My hand touched down, my right hip followed, and I came to a grinding halt on the pavement.

There was a sizable wound on my hip. No blood, just a pulsing, bluish tissue. Sometime after my mother scraped the asphalt out of my hands and before she poured the hydrogen peroxide into the hole in my side the tissue started to bleed, which sent both my mother and sister into terror.

“I’m fine,” I said, cooly, as if nothing had happened. They shrieked and buzzed around like bees. In the end it healed up alright—about the size of a nickle. This is the first time I’ve ever admitted to sucking at skating though. That one will probably take a while longer to heal up.