Last Night with BRD

Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Northern Ireland,
Friday, July 20, 2012

Tonight was my last night with the Belfast Roller Derby
team.  Karen was off to dinner and a movie with friends, so I was left on my own to get a taxi and get myself to practice.  Now, I know you are laughing,
but I was a little bit frightened of the entire process.  Thank God Karen wrote down my address and the name and address of the facility.  Oh,and she had the taxi’s phone number plugged into the cell phone that she had for me to use.  Okay, after typing that I
realize that this wasn’t as hard as I made it out to be.  The cab came and we were off.  The cab drivers have been exceptionally nice and are very friendly.  Tonight’s driver wanted to know what was in my heavy case. That spurred the talk about derby. He was totally intrigued and said he didn’t even know that it existed in Belfast.  Seems to be the theme of derby.
Word doesn’t travel as quickly as we assume it does.  
The derby team meets at the Shaftesbury Community Centre which is tucked into a neighborhood.  They skate in a gym that is only the size of a basketball court and is
surrounded my brick walls.  The floor in this gym is some sort of concrete tile, but the grip was good and the floor was smooth.  I can’t believe that this is where the fresh meat are trained.  The inherit dangers of those walls are immeasurable.  I guess as long as they are not going too
fast, the dangers can be minimized.  As I looked around I realized that the new girls were given a bag of loaner pads and offered some skates with the sizes written on the outside in black marker that make rental skates look like high dollar skates.  Gutter explained to me that Ireland has not had a lot of exposure to roller skating so many of the women that come may be
putting on roller skates for the first time.  The girls were of all ages and sizes and all of them very eager to get their skates on.  This is the only
practice they have every week.  Tonight the more advanced skaters joined in to come and learn a few more of my nifty tricks.  Practice for the new girls is run by one of the boys.  
I felt like I was among a bunch of old friends.  The gym was split into two sides. One for the fresh meat and then one for the more advanced skaters.  Then they turned all
of the advanced skaters over to me for the night.  We worked on turns and stops.  I was surprised at how much the girls had improved.  I have had so much fun working
with these skaters and I will miss them all. The one thing that makes me very happy is that these girls will become better skaters, which in turn will help them become better derby players.    As the night finished and I hugged all the girls I couldn’t help but feel
sad.  I told them all that we will keep in touch on Facebook and I was excited to watch them grow as a team.  One of the refs graciously offered to take me home and that was the end of the night. 
I may have left the Belfast Roller Derby team, but Karen will be skating
with them soon. 

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