I was wrong. Our first task was one foot glides. I hated these. I'm gonna defend myself a little bit - I can stand on one leg fine without skates on. Put skates on my feet and all that balance just disappears. Right foot glides initially seemed easier. But I kept just wanting to put my foot down. I lift it up, wobble slightly and a split second later it goes back down. Left ones were even worse! This gave me no hope for t-stops. I was told I needed to speed up as, for sign offs, you need to be able to glide around half the track on one foot! So my last attempt I sped up (even though speed still scares me) and it did help a little bit but it wasn't anything impressive. We were told one-foot glides were the corner stones for the rest of the skills we were going to learn this session. I knew this session wasn't going to go too well.
Next was stops. T-stops went well-ish, but not as awesome as I was expecting. We were given a few minutes to practice in our own time and I was able to put my foot behind me, put my two front wheels down, get a satisfying noise from my wheels and then slow down or stop. They were wobbly and I did lose my balance occasionally, but I was pretty happy. We were then told to do them on the whistle. This failed. Whatever I did earlier was completely forgotten when I was put on the spot. Not once did I stop. Ah well, at least plough stops were next.
These were worse. I could've sworn I'd managed to do plough stops in the newbie area! Well, apparently I'd forgotten what to do. I was told I had good stance but I just couldn't tell if I was rolling to a stop or actually stopping. We were also showed how our posture was meant to be when doing a plough stop, by holding on to someone else and leaning back. Further to this, we were also pushed in plough-stop stance so we could practice ploughing without having to propel ourselves as well. This too, failed. I just couldn't stop myself and my legs were aching and I fell over a couple of times, and I just couldn't do it!
My only ray of sunshine was crossovers. We practiced doing each foot individually and, although I found the right foot difficult to get over (although, I was told I was getting there) I found the left foot a lot easier to get behind and I feel that if we had more time to practice, I might have got it down a bit better.
On the drive home, I felt pretty fed up. What seemed quite obtainable at the beginning of the evening felt almost impossible at the end. The more I thought about it, though, I compared it to driving. When I first learnt to drive, I hated it! I daren't go past 2nd gear as I was terrified of speed, I was also scared of changing gear. I hated driving down narrow roads, I hated all the manoeuvers we had to learn, I hated driving through crowded streets, I hated roundabouts, I hated it all! Yet, I persevered, passed first time, and now I love driving!
The hardest thing for me to learn was to not be afraid of the car. You always assume it's the one in control as it's the big, heavy metal thing that goes fast. But you learn that you are the one that controls the car. You steer it, press the accelerator, press the brakes, etc. My car is now my bitch (in the nicest way of course!) and this is what I need to do with skating.
I am terrified of my skates. I love them, but once they're on my feet, they control me. They control my speed, they control where I go, they control whether I can stand up or not! But, soon, I will learn to control them. And I will embrace skating fast and I will master crossovers and stops and, ultimately, I will master my skates. I will learn their little quirks and the secrets of getting them to do what I want. You see all the team members just acting on skates like they would in normal shoes and that is because they aren't afraid anymore. They are in control.
It will take patience and it will take time. But I'll get there.