I’m a groupie

I am officially a Jam Skating Groupie. I can skate. I so do not jam skate. But oh, how I love to watch!

Today was actually day 2 of the WSA 2004 Netskate Nationals. My partner and I did not get out of the house (or care to, quite frankly…since I got off work early but stayed up late since I had slept so very much the day before…) early enough to actually see any official competition. LOTS of competition we saw, but none of it official. We even paid real live money to see competition–but they moved the last part of the day, the Shuffle contest, to Sunday. So we paid real live money to watch some of the many skate teams skate in a circle much in the same manner we mere mortals would skate on any regularly-scheduled skating session at Hiram Sparkles.

But, I had to let that go.

What was even harder to let go was the fact that my dear children were bored beyond being annoying and were driving us crazy….luckily we found a place for them to go (and it was a loving, fun activity with family, not just the shed….) so that we could return to Hiram (pronounced more like Haarm if you are from here) to skate on our very own skates amongst all the Greatness.

Ohhh the Greatness.

My partner–in life as well as on the rink–and I skated for a total of close to 8 hours today, I believe. Therefore, my mind is functioning just above the brain stem at this point. I am not sure I can recall all the glorious details of my day in all the gory detail the day deserves, but I will try to report the highlights.

We rubbed elbows (and thankfully that was all–landing my 200 pound self on some 14 year old about to turn pro is the stuff of nightmares) with I can’t know how many teams. Some folks I recognized, especially the members of Teams Breaksk8 of GA & WI, Team Hyper, and Team Reidell. I felt like such a good groupie (or a really frightening person in general–depends entirely upon one’s perspective) because I had done some research (stalking? I think not. This is public information…I’ve included links so that you may discover them yourselves).

While skating, I fell once and both my knees are bruised. I have absolutely no idea why I fell, either. At first I thought my bad knee was to blame but my partner, my love (who laughed at me very obviously and very publicly–admittedly though, he believed he was laughing with me, not at me–and was therefore chided and scolded into an apology) he said one foot seemed to have stopped or just decided all on its own to flow in an entirely different direction. “It looked like you rolled over some trash,” he explained. I will accept that explanation, but I doubt it in my heart of hearts. Poor thing, his karma caught up to him and he hit the floor today, as well, and has a sore hip to show for it. Got those wheels (Oh! Those wheels! He bought new wheels this morning! Blue Witch Doctors) tangled up together, apparently–I didn’t see it at all. For all I know he could have made it up to make me feel better (he has no bruises visible yet), were it not for his impeccalbe track-record of the utmost in honesty. I digress.

The floor at our rink (so possessive for a poseur, I know) was just refinished for the competition, so it has a lovely new thick coat of polyurethane. Very sticky stuff, this. Skin does not slide well. Skin stops. Bodies keep moving. Overheard a story in that vein that involved a poor girl somewhere else who fell too abruptly to use her hands to stop her from landing on her face. She ended up skidding on her forehead. Nice shiny forehead after that. Yet again, I believe I have wandered from the point.

So. We skated til 5pm and moved the children from family member A to family member B (in our own home) and after a nice hot, then cold bath for me, we headed out to skate at Sparkles in Kennesaw. This was my love’s reasoning, that we should skate there tonight as a date, and that I would beg and plead to go back to Hiram later for the Late Night Jam Session and the skate-off therein (from 11p to 1a).

The floor at Hiram is wood, the way any good skating rink ought to be, or so I have always believed. But the floor in Kennesaw is polished cement. How very smooth! What really helped me enjoy it, though, was that nearly everyone was in Hiram, so there were maybe 20 of us there tops–and all the really really really really good ones were definitely not there. There were some good ones. Some okay ones, nobody really pathetic. A cute couple on a date that reminded me of Us. He couls skate and she could not. I really wanted to go up to her and tell her that I looked like her just 5 months ago (skating wise, that is–if I had looked thin and 24 5 months ago….well let’s just say skating would not be such a high priority today). I never did tell her that. She is skinny and 24, so why does she get encouragement? Gr.)

I got adventurous with all that space and nobody really watching, and no other couples there but the cute young one. I had MOVES. I made my body do things on purpose, albeit in short bursts of energy, in time to the music. Not just my arms, but my legs, too. And my partner and I looked like just that at times–we skated together as partners. We practiced shuffling or pacing or shadowing…wherever and whenever you’re from: we skated in step with each other, sans hand holding (and cum hand holding, but I shouldn’t word it that way without including a Latin Dictionary) (oh, and having dutifully consulted said dictionary, I must replace “sans” with “sine”. I can at least admit that I may have mixed up some French and Latin some’eres in my mind…Romance languages…*sigh*) I done digressed again.

So I can honestly say that this day I danced with skates upon my feet. Oh Frabjous Day!

Then, we had something small and hot and square for dinner at 11pm and drove back to Hiram, where we found a huge crowd of teens and 20-somethings and some of their parents.

We met one of my favorite employees at the door, off-duty, who filled us in a little (a minor dislike of skating in a crowd of jamskaters was the gist of it). He is one of my favorites for many reasons, namely, he was impressed that I am a grownup (his words! So glad I was correctly identified) that likes FunDip aka Lik-M-aid. He is also kind to my kids and remembers us. Nice boy.

We paid our money and walked into another dimension. Another dimension in which everyone skates well and with the exact same rhythm, it seems. The scent of hair-spray was thick in the air. Most skaters wore shirts that matched that of at least one other person skating, if not half a dozen others. And the music was loud, but not too loud, and well equalized across the oh, darn it….not spectrum….range? But I will not digress. Must sleep, it is almost 4 o’clock Sunday morning and They start competing for real at 8am. Anyway, the music did not hurt my ears (I haven’t mentioned it, but the high end was too high at Kennesaw and it made my ears hurt a little. Not tinny, but needed more middle range and less upper range…what is it called?!?). Good music. Perfect skating mixes. *sigh* If only every Saturday could be like that.

A Battle Circle soon formed at the end of the inner circle of the rink, with breakskaters having an informal dance-off, competing one-on-one. Mike & I eventually got brave enough to walk out in our non-rolling shoes so that we could see. We didn’t pay to watch folks’ backs. So we watched while they played a while, then at about 1am they got serious with entrants that had paid $5 for the chance to win the pot by competing one on one inside the circle. 2 Classes: over and under 15 years old.

Mostly people from the BreakSk8 teams were in the creme de la creme. Little Lonna won the under-15 class on pure attitude (and my Love and I had a hard time not openly wincing at her clearly using mostly her budding sexuality to win the crowd over—but she was so good at it…darn morals). They pulled names 2 at a time out of a cup and the 2 had a minute to out dance each other. In this contest, the judging was not fair and blanced (wonder if I can use that phrase?) and many times the crowd had to call it. At least once, team members had to out dance each other and at least once, both team members advanced to the next round because it was too close to call. Many of the skaters who could do the great moves lacked showpersonship, and many of those who were smooth and charming lacked difficulty. Eventually we were down to a 4-way and the “judge/emcee” asked the crowd if they ought to just skate to the death, as it were. It were. (oh, no, nobody died)

We were down to 3: Mike, Dave, and Oscar, I believe. At one point, the one I’m calling Dave (because I know for a fact that he is neither Mike or Oscar) did a handstand and I swear he slid on one hand, about 3 feet to finish the move by doing something else really cool that I can’t remember, and certainly wouldn’t know the proper name for…. My Love said in that moment he knew that Dave ought to have won for sure. But then the 3 finalists called it a draw and split the $65 pot. It escalated and was so cool to watch. My partner was not as excited as I; he feels that skating ought to include going around in a circle. These people were breakdancing with skates (to which I must type, “duh,” but it made sense at the time) and he was not as interested as I was. Impressed, indeed, but not as interested. He is also so not a night person, so standing around watching people dance at 1am was almost impossible for him. Oh, I was like a deer in headlights, or a cat with a fishbowl or something else that just stares at one thing a whole long time. I loved the kids who were not only physically talented, but also artistic and/or charismatic. I hope some of the Jam Skating site will post video so I can link it soon.

So, I am wiped out. And I have to work tomorrow night (Ha! I am crazy!). I plan to take the video camera tomorrow to capture some moments. I may end up going it alone tomorrow, in order to spare the children. But this is my inspiration, this, is my sport-viewing. This is my hobby, I reckon. Gotta get a personal trainer, though so I can strengthen my legs and knees before I bust ’em out. I have been so brave today. I have risked sticking out like a sore thumb and survived. Tomorrow I plan to risk more! Yikes! But I wonder — when will I get this opportunity again? Not soon, not likely. So I trudge on….


~ by merialiss on July 11, 2004.

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