First there was the tumbling roll. You know the one – crouch down, tuck your chin to your chest, and roll forward over your head. We all did it in grade school. If we were really cool, we’d do it from a standing position.
Next there was the volleyball roll. I learned this one at summer volleyball camp. We hit the floor so many times that week, we totally lost our fear of it! Stretch your arm out to the side (because that ball can’t hit the floor!), fearlessly launch yourself across the floor, hit it and flip your feet over backwards. You’ll end up on your feet facing the net, and look pretty awesome in the process!
And then there’s a jujitsu roll. Ah, yes. That awesome roll where you reach your hand down across your body and hurl yourself over your shoulder. It’s neither a forward roll nor a sideways roll, but something in between.
I had a bit of trouble when I was learning this one. Rolling forward over my head? No problem. Throwing myself to the hard floor and flipping over backwards? No problem. Gracefully rolling over my shoulder on a mat? Uh…problem.
I spent so many years rolling forwards, backwards and sideways that the jujitsu roll confused my body! Or maybe it confused my brain. Anyway, I’ve managed to master the left side; it’s relaxed, fluid, and pretty darned good!
But the right side? Not so fluid. I try. Believe me, I try, but it could never be described as fluid. Or graceful. Or anything else you’d like associated with a roll, really. I picture myself looking somewhat like a large, odd-shaped box that’s been shoved off the back of a speeding truck. Thunk. Thunk-thunk! Thuuud.
Apparently I’m left-side dominant, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cartwheels (when I could)? Left side. Splits? Left foot forward. Hurdles and starts out of the starting blocks? Left sided!
Last night I managed to stay on the mat when I rolled. It was a small victory! I’ve been known to roll off the mat or wander out of my own swim lane on occasion. Maybe I’m getting better? Hard to say! I’ll keep trying to improve my right side rolls, if only because I refuse to admit I can’t do them. (I might be just a little stubborn.) But for safety’s sake? I’m really hoping I never have to fall and roll to the right!