• Olivia Allred

Adventures in Rollerblading

As a kid, I was a bit of a scaredy-cat. I didn’t like to try new things and I especially did not like to do things that I thought might get me hurt. It took me forever to ride a bike, I still can’t do somersaults very well, and I don’t know how to dive or do cool tricks on the trampoline.

But now that I’m an adult and my body won’t bounce back the way that it would have when I was younger, I’ve decided to start trying some of the things I used to be (and still am a little bit) afraid of: I went surfing and almost stood up after an hour, I like sushi and avocado now, I recently went kayaking and only got a little surprised by a giant forest of seaweed. Due to all my recent successes, I thought, why not do something super crazy? Let’s get some rollerblades.

When I was six or seven-ish, my mom and dad got me some roller skates that I was super bad at using. I fell all of the time and, if I’m being honest, I don’t think I ever actually made it out of the garage in them. If I did, it was only because I was on the grass so I could almost walk normally. (I do remember doing that in my friend’s rollerblades once, so I guess it’s kind of a lie to say that I had never been rollerblading, but I don’t think it actually counts.) I found roller-skating especially difficult because there was no way to stop myself by putting my foot on the ground like I could with bikes or scooters. I had to pop my heel up and use the break on the front of the skate; it was not an easy trick to master.

In any case, I tried for a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two, and then I “grew out” of my skates and couldn’t use them anymore, so sad. Never fear, that will not happen to me this time! My feet haven’t grown in about ten years, so if I quit I have nothing to blame it on but myself. My previous experience with roller-skating is what convinced me to try rollerblading this go around. (That and my one or two times skiing; for some reason, I thought they’d be kind of similar.) I thought that maybe having one line of wheels would make skating a little easier.

Now, some things to keep in mind for those of you who decide to try rollerblading as an adult. I did very little research about blading (that’s what I like to call it, nobody else has thought of it, probably) beforehand. I googled the best rollerblades for beginners, found nothing informative, and then decided to go with the quickest option: my local Big 5 Sporting Goods store. They had one pair of skates (did you know that technically they’re called inline skates? Rollerblade is a brand name; I prefer it though) that was my size so I bought those (totally stole them out of the hands of a lady who was almost my mom’s age who probably actually knew how to skate). The only thing my mom said was, “Make sure your feet don’t wiggle around too much and that they’re comfortable.” We did the best we could.

Even though my body isn’t falling apart, I do think I’ve gotten to a stage where it would be harder for me to heal from a big injury and my balance isn’t always that great without wheels strapped onto my feet, so I hit the protective gear section of the store hard. I tried on all the helmets (including the ones that looked like cats and were obviously too small for my head) and spent a good two minutes loudly complaining that I couldn't find butt pads. I bought wrist guards, knee pads, and a super cute pink helmet. Do I look like an idiot: yes. Do I feel like an idiot: a little. Did they protect me the one time I fell: no, because I landed on my butt and I did not have a butt cushion. I am pretty confident that it’s only a matter of time before they really save me from my own stupidity though, so I’m very happy with that purchase.

I haven’t figured out the trick to rollerblading just yet, but one thing that I do know is that you cannot stop yourself like you can in skis. They don’t slide the same way, and for some reason, that didn’t occur to me. You also can’t pizza them very well; they just keep going and twist your legs up. The picture I’m painting for you is not pretty, I know. The most frustrating thing about this whole experience, however, is that my mom bought herself some roller-skates and she is actually really good at skating. She also decided to get a skateboard, which she has never done before, and is better at that, too. It’s so irritating.

The best thing I’ve learned from this whole rollerblading adventure is that it’s never too late to try something new. It’s also never too late to make a fool out of yourself in front of your entire neighborhood. I’m excited to keep trying and, eventually, to suddenly have a growth spurt and grow out of this sport as well.

Any tips on how to be a better rollerblader? The number one thing I need to learn to do is stop, so if you’ve got any special tricks for that, please leave them in the comments below!