Friday, December 31, 2010

Rollerblading in my Veins

I've carried skating in my veins since childhood. It all began by watching a classmate named Neil Hill maneuver effortlessly on ice skates in a way that combined grace with physical strength. I remember the rush I'd get as I fastened my laces with a hook-like gadget, while strangulating the veins of my arches. The music then of the 60s and 70s elevated the spirit with the anticipation of capturing the heart of a pretty girl with some fancy footing and show of speed... which never happened. I could recognize the smell of an arena blindfolded. It was an amplified olfactory version of a hockey sweater that combined sweat with synthetic fiber.

[fast forward a few decades...] I continue skating today, but now it’s OUTdoor INline skating in the middle of a metropolitan park. I've purchased over the years all kinds of sporty paraphernalia from spongy, but subtle protective padding, wrist guards, nutcase multi-sport helmet, oversized shades, poliester long sleeve tops, baggy over-the-knee pants with netting inside, MP3 with ear buds, skate bag and a black bandana [tucked inside the helmet] giving that Johnny Dep gypsy look. You could say these are my toys and after I finish I put the accessories into one easy-to-find container. The advantage I have is it can be used for biking too.
At first, I thought going inline skating would be a great way of meeting people, but I quickly learned I had to lower my expectations. The majority of the skaters are in a younger age bracket so there’s a generation gap there that I didn't have to ponder about as a child or teen. Don't get me wrong. There are older men who are allowed into the inner circle, but you have to be a trainer and into roller speed racing which isn’t my area of expertise nor interest.

Accepting the role of an outsider means learning to enjoy the physical workout at face value. People may gather together in a common place to participate in a common activity, but have nothing else in common week after week... I think that is why I enjoy biking, because it's easier on my psyche. I have no social expectations of any kind. It's enough to go here and there and get back to my apartment in one piece.

One day I saw a bumper sticker that read something to this idea: “Biking isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it fun.” It has been therapeutic for me to do something that involves risk. It's one step toward developing vulnerability in other spheres where social interaction is the risk factor. Kierkegaard says that courage would have no meaning without opposition. Maturity means taking a leap of faith to show care in a world where concern for others is superficial at best.
“When man contemplates history as it is, he is forced to realize that he is in the iron grip of an existence that seems to have no real care, nor concern for his pain and suffering.” ~ Laura Knight Jadczyk

No comments: