This week, our usual practice had to be cancelled as our venue was opening later for half-term. Fortunately, a neighbouring team opened up their practice and said we could come and join them. This was excellent news as I hate not being able to practice! I'd NSOd at their venue a few times and I knew their floor was lush so I was very excited about skating on it, however, fellow skaters had been to their practices before and they sounded a little advanced, so that made me kind of nervous too.
Sweet n Lows) and, seeing how slick the floor was, I was extremely grateful to not be on my 92s! (In fact, the floor made my sugars feel like 92s!) I started getting my kit on, signed the disclaimer, and realised how nervous I actually was. It felt like starting skating all over again. It was a new venue, new coaches and we had no idea what we were going to be doing. I waited for my wife and we made our way on to the track for warm-ups. We started with single knee taps which was good, then double knee taps, good and familiar, the coach then said "Right! Transitions on the whistle!" Erm...what?! No, no, no, this isn't right! We slowly made our way off the track and just kept skating while everyone else did their transitions. Then we finished with two sprint laps and had to line-up along the wall for the next set of drills. We were given numbers and had to skate out, fall on our bums, flip over onto our front then skate to the other side. That doesn't sound too...wait...what?....fall on our bums?! Admittedly, you weren't throwing yourselves to the ground, you did it gently, but still! We've been taught to always, always, always fall on your knees. I gave it a go anyway, and I think I did ended up doing a knee fall then sitting down. Haha! The next drill was a knee slide, then a push up, then skate on, which wasn't too bad, although I was knackered by the end!
We had a nice break to do some stretching, which involved some odd stretches I'd never done before, some stretches while standing up on skates, which was tricky, and then we were split up into groups. I had to go get some moisturiser as my wrist guards were irritating my eczema, so I didn't hear what we were doing except that we had to get in a pack, which I did. It turned out we were doing a drill called "pack racing" which involved getting into a pack and skating really really fast until you caught up with the other pack on the track. It was terrifying. The lady next to me was so lovely, though, and offered me her arm which I clung to throughout the whole terrifying ordeal while some one from behind pushed me. It's the fastest I've ever skated and I don't even know if I was skating! After doing that...twice...our main coach for the evening arrived. It was quite a big deal for us as he was a insanely good skater and skated with one of the top teams in the country. He introduced himself and then told us that the skills tonight were of a more intermediate level - "mainly people who have passed minimum skills and have a few bouts tucked under their belt." Well, me and my wife shot a few panicked looks at each other and, after the coach had spoken, my wife explained that the session might be a bit too advanced for us. He completely understood and allowed us to create our own little practice area and an advanced skater even offered to come and help us with the skills we wanted to learn.
I did manage to take some corners on my right foot glides, but it's hard to focus when you're skating past skaters that could be pushed off the track in to you at any moment. I practised a few t-stops that were fine. The other skaters started weaving through a pace-line and I decided not to join as I was being pathetically grumpy but it did warm my heart when one of my fellow skaters said she'd never done weaving through a pace line and the advanced skater said "I'll show you" and took her by the hand and led her around the first few people. That was lovely.
I tried to stay positive. I think I got a little bit further with my plough stops and my right foot glides got better, and any practice is good practice, but I was still fed up. I got home in a sulk, went to bed in a sulk, and woke up in a sulk, paranoid that I'd spent the night being a completely miserable, antisocial, grump and feeling like I was just really getting nowhere. I could not see myself being able to do any of the skills I saw that night so why was I even bothering? It felt like my first day all over again...at least I could stand up on skates this time...