Learning how to roller blade, what an adventure!

My friend looks at me and tells me quietly, “The first thing you are going to do is to learn how to fall.”

“Learn how to fall? Who, me? No way!” I answered thinking she must have lost part of her mind.

“Yes, you are going to let yourself fall,” she insisted.

“Never!” I replied staring at the paved ground and imagining the horrible injuries I would sustain.

She finally gave in. Holding her hand tightly, I tried to roller blade as best as I could. I imagined how awkward I must look with my helmet and my arsenal of elbow, wrist and knee protection. Half way through the circuit, my friend stopped abruptly, did a swift half circle I envied and looked at me straight in the eyes.

“You are going to learn how to fall.”

I knew, from her look and the tone of her voice, that I was in serious trouble. She was not going to budge this time.

“Tell me, why are you so tense and nervous when you roller blade?” she asked impatiently.

“I don’t want to fall!” What a question, I thought. It was so obvious.

“Let’s compromise. Let’s go on the grass if you are afraid of falling on the paved ground. Fall on your knees first then literally through yourself on the grass, without resistance.”

Patiently, she showed me several times how to fall, like a tree. It looked so easy.

“Your turn.”

I stared at the grass and strangely, I could not bring myself to fall. An invisible force seemed to block my body. After what seemed to be an eternity, I tried. I fell on my elbows first, then on my hands. No good. I had to fall flat on my stomach with my arms stretched in front of me. After several attempts, I was no longer as rigid but there was still room from improvement. We got up and returned to the paved circuit.

“Now, you’re going to repeat exactly what you did on the grass.”

She was not giving up! I felt more comfortable and confident though. A few seconds later, I lay flat on the ground. I was then able to get on my knees. Standing up became the challenge! My roller blades refused to obey me. They did not roll on the grass but it was a different ball game on the paved ground!

“Find what works for you,” my friend said with patience. “The important thing is that you find a way to get up and continue roller blading. You can even crawl to the grass if you want to.”

By the time I knew it, I was standing on my roller blades, with a huge grin on my face. So proud. Wow!

“Now that you have fallen and have found a way to get up, you will roller blade with more serenity and confidence because you know, no matter what, that you can get up when you fall.”

When we finished our first round, which ended up being a lot of fun, I asked my friend to free my hand. I wanted to take the risk to roller blade by myself. I was amazed. What a powerful life lesson, I thought…