But what, you ask, does this have to do with Derby?
On our way to Portland, we stopped at Oaks Park (which a few of you may recognize as the place where, several years ago, I threw up on the Round-Up). Oaks Park is a small amusement park, and it also has a really excellent roller skating rink -- one of the few in the U.S. that still has a pipe organ, though when we were there they were just playing pop music CDs. The rink is huge, which is good since it was also very crowded.
I consider crowded open skates good opportunities for me to get used to skating in a pack. Of course, there are differences -- derby girls aren't likely to stop randomly, or sit down in the middle of the rink, or do any of the unpredictable things kids at the roller rink tend to do. On the other hand, the kids at the roller rink aren't deliberately trying to knock me down. So it evens out.
At one point, as I was skating, a little kid was pretty close to me, so I put out my hand just to be ready to catch him if he crashed into me. The next thing I knew, a little boy was holding my hand! He said, "All aboard the Mickey express. That's my name!" and I'll admit it, my Grinchy heart grew three sizes that day. :-) I skated around the rink with Mickey, even taught him a couple of things about bending your knees and leaning forward, and then returned him to his parents. What can I say, I have a weakness for towheaded little boys. Can't think why. :-) (My nephews Liam and Evan are both adorable little blond boys. Well, Liam's 10 and almost as tall as I am ... but Evan's still an adorable little boy.)
It was a very good weekend. And if Storm does her Holiday Ordeal again next year, we're going. That's all there is to it.