No, I’m not talking about the small girls who sell amazing cookies, though y’all probably know I love the Girl Scouts, they hold a very special place in my heart.
The “Brownies” I’m talking about are roller skates. The old-school, brown roller skates that you borrow when you visit a roller rink. They are well-loved, dirty, smelly, and have lovely orange coordinating wheels and toe stops. I skated on these beauties for my first month of roller derby. Which, to say the least, was really, really, REALLY hard.
As I understand it, when you have your own skates, everything about them is adjustable and/or upgradeable: the wheels, the bearings, the cushions, the trucks, the plates, the shoe, the laces, the length and size of the toe stop, etc. I am only just beginning to figure out what the hell all this even means, and why one might want a looser truck or a higher toe stop than the next woman. For now, because I’m attempting to figure out how to skate on new skates and wheels, everything will pretty much stay the way I found it.
The brownies are tough to skate on, in that they are made for going forward, and that’s pretty much it. You aren't able to feel your inner/outer/front or back wheels, (like we are supposed to be able to do in our own skates), turning is quite a bit challenging, and doing anything on a toe stop feels like an impossibility. Some have said that if you can learn anything in brownies, then quad skates will be “easy”! So, instead of investing in skates from the beginning, I bought really good safety gear and borrowed skates from the roller rink.
I was able to learn A LOT of new skills on my borrowed brownies:
Stopping – T-stops and Plow stops
Skating on one foot – both on the straightaways and on the curves
Falling – both the single and double-knee kind, and the “rock-star” fall
Transitions – from forward to backward and vice versa
Walking and running on my toe stops
In theory, I also learned how to do a Mohawk. I can’t actually DO one of these yet, but I’m sure I’ll get there!
These skates helped me to figure out this this is my new sport. That maybe, just maybe, if I can do anything resembling skating, including this pretty long list of skills above on this challenging of a skate, might actually be able to play some roller derby!
So while I am very excited to figure out the nuances of my new wheels, I am thankful for what I learned in these old school skates. They were a great place to begin, and I will always think fondly of my entrance into this new world, while being extremely grateful that I no longer have to endure a practice wearing these skates.
And now I present to you, My New Skates:
|They are definitely not cute, but I can turn and feel my edges in them, so the bedazzling will have to come later. For now, I'm so damn happy not to be in brownies they look beautiful to me!|
When I figured out that the laces they came with weren't working for me, I used the Google machine to find different lacing options:
After a couple of practices, I chose to go with the laces on the right. Which also happens to be my left skate. :) Apparently in order for me to feel my toes, I need to not really do anything with the first few holes, so the lovely star laces are just for show.
|My new skates, with new laces and toe stops! Wrigley is clearly as excited as I am.|
Added bonus since this post took so damn long to actually get published:
After I got my new toe stops, and being in a hurry to replace the current ones (read: too impatient to wait until I got to the next practice to have an expert help me), I googled “how to put on gumball toe stops”, and learned that the top three things people apparently google are “how to put on a ….. 1. Condom. 2. Dog harness 3. Eyeliner.”
Yep, you can’t make this stuff up.
This post, brought to you, apparently, by Google.
[Dear Google, can I get a little something for my free advertising? I've started this new hobby, and it's getting a little pricey!]