So this week was my first training session with the Brawds in three weeks! It felt a bit weird to be back on the track, but a good kind of weird, like I'd just got home after being away for a while.
We started our usual warm up of squats on the whistle, knee taps on the whistle, a couple of speed laps and then stretching. I even got to demonstrate how I stretch my back (I don't do the happy/sad cat one, I do the lying on the floor and twist one - I don't know the names!) even though it was a lot more difficult to explain than demonstrate! We were told we were going to practice one foot glides, stops and crossovers, ending with our 20 in 5 endurance laps. We also had a kit check to explain what was needed of your kit when playing in a bout.
Next was the 20 in 5. I always like doing 20 in 5s as it visibly measures progress by keeping track of your laps. (Although, you should never obsess over that number as it can cause many a heartbreak, as I mentioned in a previous post.) I was in group 3 so we had a nice little break before we got to start. I then lined up and prepared myself and was off! My crossovers have definitely improved over time so I was ready to try them out more. However, I don't know if it's because I'm on smaller, slimmer wheels, but I kept slipping on my crossovers and at one point I actually fell over, which has never happened to me during 20 in 5. I lay sprawled on my back for a second or two before realising that I should probably get up (along with encouragement from the onlookers) and managed to haul myself up and skate off the pain. One of my wives was also skating in the same group as me and, after a couple of minutes, I saw her come off the track. She'd recently been to the doctors about chest pains so I was concerned but assumed they were just playing up and she needed to rest. Next thing I hear is "Take a knee!" No! My wife! I got into a double knee slide and then instantly shuffled my way over to her. She was curled up into a ball, struggling to breathe, clutching at her chest. Fortunately, we have a few nurses in our league, so one was already on the case while another first-aid trained skater was trying to get her legs out straight.
From this moment on, it was action stations. One of the coaches looked after the rest of the skaters and directed them to the end of the track to stretch. Another one was already on the phone to the emergency services. The nurse was talking my wife through everything, trying to get her to slow her breathing, telling her to try and ignore the pain, getting her into a position that would make her more comfortable. Someone had taken off her skates, elbow pads, wrist guards and helmet. A coach had given me the objective to search her bag to see if there was any medication or information about her illness. There was nothing but her phone so I rang her partner to see if they knew anything. I de-kitted myself and then went over to see how she was doing. I felt a little useless and helpless, really. It was scary seeing one of my best friends in such a state. The other two skaters looking after her were taking care of it so, instead of looking on like a lost puppy, I decided to make myself useful. When the emergency services came, I decided I would go pick up her partner and drive us both to the hospital. I collected up her kit and packed it away. I put everything in my car for a speedy get away, but the emergency services seemed to be taking a while.
It was all a bit of blur, really, (I can't imagine what it must have been like for my wife) but what astounded us both was the amount of care and organisation the other skaters had. They were on it and took care of everything. It really made you realise that if you ever did injure yourself, you would be in seriously good hands. Afterwards, everyone posted in our facebook group their concern and their relief when they found out she was okay. There is so much love in our league, it's crazy. I'd like to think that all leagues are like that but at least I know that we're part of an amazing one.