To Live and Ride in LA

To Live and Ride in LA July 30, 2015

Last Saturday, Ella competed in the Life Goes On skating competition in Venice Beach, California. It was her first time to compete at the professional level in WCMX, wheelchair skating. She was the youngest competitor by far, and since WCMX doesn’t segregate contests by age, sex, or physical ability; that meant that she was up against adult men and women. You can either hang, or you can’t. I love that.

The other competitors are familiar names and faces to us now.

Katherine
Christiaan
Jerry
Quinn
Aaron

and now the Who’s Who lineup includes

Ella

She did amazing!

That’s not really big enough…

She did

Ah-maze-ing!!!!!!

I think we might need more exclamation points up there.

The day didn’t start off that way. As the crowd grew from a few stragglers to well over 500 people (I’m guesstimating on what I could see), her social anxiety took over and my brave, tough girl started crying. “I wish we hadn’t come all this way,” she whispered as tears streaked down her cheeks. “Then, we could just go home and no one would be disappointed.”

I wiped her cheeks and hugged her. I’ve seen this before, and sometimes it’s too big of a hill for her to climb. She was starting to hyperventilate when one of the other skaters noticed her crying, and came over to talk down her nerves. One by one, the other skaters stopped by and chatted with her, helping to keep her calm until the announcer called her name. (Where else would that happen in professional sports?)

She swiped her cheeks and raced to her starting position.

She had the whole skate park to herself for anything she wanted to do. She popped a wheelie on top of a ramp, raised her right hand in the three-fingered Hunger Games salute, and dropped down the ramp into the snake run. She swooped around the curves and charged over the valleys, a little boost out of the small bowl and then it was down the stairs…

where she fell forward onto her hands.

The crowd gasped, but she pushed herself back onto her wheels and kept going.

A swoop around, a drop off a high box, before straight drop down into a deep bowl where she flashed a peace sign to the crowd.

She had finished and not died on the spot. We watched the last few runs and then went in search of some ice cold lemonade to celebrate her non-demise.

We thought our day was essentially over except for a pizza and pool party with her sponsor that evening.

We were wrong.

Life Rolls On didn’t place skaters in the traditional 1st, 2nd, 3rd. They chose instead to give out awards for riding the rail, “Best Trick,” and “Balls to the Wall.”

Which is what Ella won -“Balls to the Wall” – because the judges felt that she’d gone harder than any of the other competitors. Which put her in the money, won her this sweet award

and got her interviewed by the BBC

and then she rested

Clean shirt and a spot of shade

Photo credits – pro pics are from the pros themselves.

Dropping in by Cat Gregory with permission

Ella on stairs by Emily Scher with permission

Ella by Michael Berns with permission

all others are my own

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