Sat in the office one Tuesday afternoon my colleague and I were discussing something fun that we could do. After working through the various options and weighting up the practicality in terms of location we settled on roller skating.
First off I learnt that roller skating is different from roller blading (sorry if you knew this before!). Blading is just one row of wheels, whereas in skating there are four wheels two opposite each other at the front and two at the back. And as such, logically I guess, roller skates are also known as quads.
As usual I went all out, decided that this would be a sport I would loved and invested in the funniest pair of roller skates I could find on Amazon. We then recruited a lovely gentleman who had skated on quads when he was younger and booked the
lesson for Thursday after work.
Moving forward on the skates is ok. They are definitely heavier than roller blades though but you do feel more stable and are far less wobbly. Turning is not too hard and comes after a bit of practice and experimentation. Breaking however was a different story.
The ‘brakes’ on roller skates are just underneath your toes. I tried to break a few times using these and after almost somersaulting forwards my instructor suggests we leave that way of braking to the pros and try something different.
The idea is that you skate forward, then when you want to stop, put one foot in front of the other at 90 degrees from the direction of travel, lift your forward facing foot up, and place it on the opposite side of your 90 degree angled foot while you turn around, then bring your other foot alongside the now straight on moving backwards. Effectively you are now facing the opposite direction and moving backwards and a lot slower than before.
Trust me – trying to do this was as hard as trying to understand what I just wrote.
I just couldn’t make sense of how my body would not go flying the moment I put my foot across the one facing forward. I shadowed through the logistics placing my feet in the suggested positions (while holding onto a concrete pingpong table) I just couldn’t see how this was going to work.
I persevered, partly because if other people can do it then I had no excuse and also because the group of kids playing basket ball on the tarmac court had now stopped and had begun to cheer me on. So faced with giving up or a potentially spectacular fall I close the latter. Looking back I can’t actually see the logic in this.
My instructor told me to stop thinking and just go with the flow. So I put on the weightlifting gloves that were in my rucksack, a big jumper and tightened the draw string on the joggers to minimise the damage upon my anticipated impact with the tarmac, and just went for it.
I didn’t fall or tumble, nor did my skates fly our from beneath me. I actually did it. Then I tried it again and it worked again.
The momentum of moving forward isn’t blocked – it’s just transferred as you switch feet. Obviously you need to do it relatively quickly but it works surprisingly well.
So what did I take from the hour session? The ability to skate forward, turn and also brake.
But maybe more importantly the realisation that in life we have an expectation of what will work and what wont. For example putting my foot at right angels while moving forward I expected to take a tumble. Or perhaps taking a different route in a career, which based on your world could be seen to block your current progression.
These expectations have been built and reinforced over time based on our situation and way we have lived and learnt; but the moment we put ourselves in a different situation adhering to the same thought patterns – they can block us from doing something different successfully.
If we continue to think and expect in the same way – we will remain in our current limitation zone. The moment we take a step outside and adapt or alter our thoughts on what is possible and what is not, our worlds and our possibilities to grow.
If we just let go a bit, realise that sometimes just because it goes against what we think does not mean it is wrong. It can actually just be a way to change direction – transferring momentum from into other parts of our lives.
Doing this could just be the break we need to expand our limitations and change our flow of life.