I now had my very own pair of skates and, thanks to a work colleague who used to play Derby, some better, comfier knee pads and wrist guards! I knew it wasn't going to be scary as I had practised and knew what to expect.
I proudly put on my skates and headed, still shakily, onto the rink. This week we had a guy from the Merby (Mens' Roller Derby) Team as our coach and he asked us to skate up and down so he could assess how confident we were. I still clung to the rail for dear life, edged my way across the gap and made it to the other end. He looked at me, and another lady who had joined me on the rail, and said "You two are obviously going to need some help".
Before we stretched, we had a warm up of skating up and down (now I was no longer holding on to the rail but still very close to it) and then we practised some falls. The first fall I did, I felt a very painful twang go up my thigh. I had pulled something and it hurt. I couldn't believe we'd practiced falls before stretching, so I decided I was just going to skate instead. We finally stretched (the others going over to the track while I stayed in the newbie area) and I was told that I could focus on just skating, rather than the other skills, until I got more comfortable in skates. This is another thing I love about the training sessions; you are never forced to do anything you're not comfortable with.
While I was skating, I made a friend who was a member of the team but had broken her ankle while at practice, before her first bout! She was now practicing the skills again as she had been off skates for a long time. It was nice to talk to someone on the team and she, also, told me that she had been at the level I was at. Skating with her had helped boost my confidence and I was soon asked to join in with the other drills. The lady coach from last week joined us again and talked us through stepping, weaving and 4-point falls. Stepping was very hard as I could barely stop myself from rolling and I was constantly told to "Look Up!" as I have a habit of watching my feet, which does nothing for your balance!
After a while, I was skating round a mini circular track, slowly, but I was doing it and I no longer needed the rail! I had wobbled many a time but had managed to correct myself before I fell. Hooray! I could skate! We finished the session practising 4-point falls where I fell on my bum a few times, but I was so close to the ground it didn't hurt. I had a little skate at the end, again far away from the rail, where another member told me that the wheels on my skates may prevent me from doing certain techniques as they were outdoor wheels, so I made a note of that. We stretched and I was now happy that I could now skate, I made my way out of the rink before loosing my footing on the slope and landing flat on my back! My friend rushed over to see if I was alright but I just beamed and started laughing. I was happy! The fall didn't hurt that much and if that was the worst of it then I would be fine! I was loving it and I couldn't wait for the next week! I returned home victorious.