Roller Boogie Update
If you’re wondering about how I fared at the Roller Boogie Regionals in Tampa last weekend, I did not win. Not in the individual events and not in the team events. I did not even place. So I will not be going to Nationals and any dreams I may have harbored about Worlds you can consider more dashed than Mrs. Dash.
What happened? I’ve given this question a lot of thought and all I can say is that I have nobody to blame but myself. I thought I was prepared, I thought I was in top-flight shape. I thought I had done everything I could do to represent myself and my region, but I was dead wrong. For starters, I broke the number one rule in roller boogie: do not wear new skates on competition day. Why did I do this? For two reasons: one, because my last pair was squeaking and I hate squeaky skates. Two, because I let a cute sales rep for Rock-N-Roll Roller Skates convince me to try their new Quad Kickers, a line they’ve got coming out in spring ’09. I was flattered they asked, and after they sized me and went through all the trouble of putting all those laces through all those holes, I felt like I couldn’t let them down, despite the fact that they did not provide nearly as much ankle support as my old sturdy, squeaky skates. So that was obviously a critical error.
Also, I decided to do a pirate theme for my solo effort this year. A great idea, except for the fact that I did not rehearse with my eye patch. You would be amazed to discover how much having only one eye affects your depth perception! When it looked like the wall was twenty feet away, guess how far away it really was? Zero feet. Judges will always deduct points when you hit the wall with your midsection and then complain that you cannot breathe. That is pretty much an automatic deduction. So that was a huge problem, as was the fact that my choice of Celine Dion as musical accompaniment did not “suit the piece,” as one judge put it. Apparently just using a random Celine Dion song did not put people in the minds of Berber Pirates. My thinking was: Celine Dion = Titanic = boat = Berber pirates. Now, I don’t know whether or not the judges lacked either imagination or simple math skills, but what was obvious to me was not at all obvious to them. So I lost points for that. I also lost points for not executing the tricky “Skating with hands on hips while doing a fully waist gyration” move that everybody’s been talking about lately. I did a ¾ gyration instead, thinking that would be enough. Apparently not. They wanted full gyrations or nothing. I wish I had known that because I would have gone to see my chiropractor before the competition. Another problem: somebody told me to “play to my strengths” right before I hit the rink. How did I interpret that? I decided to do three minutes of stand-up comedy before my skating routine. Not only did “my strengths” fail to impress the judges (or the crowd), but apparently those five minutes were deducted from my skating time, so I had to rush through the actual skating, making it impossible to skate in time with Celine’s lush arrangements. Terrible, terrible choice on my part.
I was so disheartened by the solo event that I almost didn’t even compete in the team event but I couldn’t let down my partner Kimberly DiLazzio. Well maybe I should have because right before we were supposed to go on, I found her making out by the pizza warming oven with Jeff Reardon, one of the sleaziest boogiests on the scene. They were both chewing gum, too, which made the whole thing even worse. So I was so incensed with Kimberly that I broke cardinal rule number two: never let your emotions get in the way of a good skate. Instead of just swallowing my hurt, I decided to use my weight as a leverage to fling her into the wall. Not the little wall that I hit with my midsection during the solo event, but the actual cinderblock wall that forms the rear of the roller rink. She went into it full bore and bloodied her nose and broke a tooth, which gave me immense satisfaction in the immediate aftermath but equally immense regret when I realized that I had hurt this lovely girl and royally screwed up my own chances of making Nationals. Kimbery and Jeff were, understandably, very upset with me, even accusing me at one point of “doing it on purpose,” which I did, but I still thought it was shitty that they would think that I did. After all, without honor, roller boogie is just like every other competitive roller event.
So it was another lousy weekend in a series of lousy weekends. To top things off, my bus from Tampa back to New York was first delayed and then ended up hitting every traffic jam up the coast. I finally arrived home about twenty minutes ago, reeking of Spandex and lip balm. Why Spandex and lip balm? Because I wore my roller boogie on my bus, fearing that if I let them stow it underneath somebody would steal it because those outfits are worth three to four hundred dollars apiece, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Sierra Mist is no longer running my commercials. And the lip balm I spread all over the bus seat as a protective sheathing between my body and whoever was sitting on the seat before me. I don’t know if lip balm actually has any prophylactic qualities or not, but I’m convinced it didn’t hurt.