The Rollerblades Strike Again— Noah Orloff
“Lacrosse doubleheader and rollerblading in one day,” I told my mom while getting geared up for my first lacrosse battle of the season. “I am bound to break a bone today.”
The memory of breaking my left wrist while rollerblading four years prior sent chills up my spine. I thought that in second grade I was just a plain old klutz, and now as a sixth grader, I could handle what once was a challenge.
Hours later, after my team had gone 1-1 in the doubleheader, my father pulled up to the giant Roller Garden, where my Beth El Bereshit program was to be held. Sweat trickled down my face as I walked into the building. I was greeted by both Gabe and Yaakov, two of my school friends. I mentioned the joke I had told my mom earlier, and the small crowd of two was satisfied with my humor.
My tongue felt like a desert as I yearned for some sort of drink, even though I had a blue Gatorade mustache to show for my hydration during lacrosse. Once I got my refreshment I walked up to the rental counter and was greeted by a question from the female employee. “Rollerblades or roller skates?”
I looked at my two buddies and noticed their choices. “Rollerblades, please,” I responded with a not so sure tone.
As I awkwardly walked towards the wooden skating space after struggling to put the tough blades on, I remembered why I hadn’t tried this since my injury: I was terrible, even at walking with the blades. I clumsily hopped onto the wood and barely glided to the fuzzy and colorful wall which was a few feet away from the opening. My strides were more like baby steps. Both Yaakov and Gabe started in this tough beginner’s phase, but they both slowly got the hang of it before me.
When I started to leave the wall, they were already doing circles around me. Not to mention, the whole building was also at a higher level than me. I watched in awe as some experienced skaters skated backwards and others with their eyes closed. I felt jealousy, wishing I wasn’t just a wall hugger. Luckily all of my friends were nice enough to help me out, but I pushed them away, not wanting to take away from their fun.
Later I started to feel the wind hit my face. Compared to before, I was like a Lamborghini at top speed. Then I skated back to the wall where my youth program was set up. I took a swig of some clear and bubbly Sprite, and then was reunited with Gabe. We stopped skating for a second, and he described to me how some of the higher level skaters had almost hit him. It sounded like he was telling me an old story of when he was in the war and was dodging bullets as a pilot, but in reality, he was just explaining the danger of Roller Garden on a Sunday, packed full of people.
I began to rollerblade with a pack of my friends, trying hard to keep up. I continued to skate in circles and circles. I was living the dream: rollerblading around with friends while listening to the Roller Garden DJ play some of my favorite jams. I started to question why I hadn’t been doing this since the second grade.
As I skated with the group, we curled around past one of the white walls. We were on what seemed to be our 100th lap. I could see the many children inside the miniature rink to the right of me. I could smell fresh pizza leaving the oven ahead, and I heard a roar of small children singing “Happy Birthday.” Then, right then, I felt a huge hit. Like a bulldozer, a reckless skater had knocked me over.
This complete adult stranger stayed beside me as I was on the ground. I had landed in a position where my left arm was close to my chest, which is why my wrist felt all the impact. The man helped me up from the slippery wood and said his sorrys. This time it wasn’t a tiny rock that had led to me falling. It was a large man.
I held my arm as my friends gathered around me, right next to the arcade. My right arm cradled the left like a small baby, and I told everyone I was fine. If no tears were shed, then what could be wrong? From countless football practices and games, I knew I could survive a small “scratch” like that. So I continued to rollerblade, continually telling myself nothing was wrong. That is also what I told my mom and dad. And lo and behold, the next day I had a blue cast on for a broken wrist.