When I first imagined this series and wanted to discuss what it takes to learn how to skate, the person I knew I wanted to talk to was my friend Shuchi Singh, also known as Singh Machine from the Kansas City Roller Warriors. Singh is hilarious (and happens to do stand-up comedy!) and brilliant and talented as so many things. Please, go ahead and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok so you can see the amazing things she’s doing.
Yet one of the things I love most about Singh is how she one day just up and joined roller derby even though she couldn’t skate. Seriously. She couldn’t skate. AT ALL. And she just decided one day to play roller derby. I can’t imagine a more terrifying place to learn how to roller skate.
Full disclosure: the first time I showed up to play roller derby, I had to talk myself into walking through the doors. And I could skate. Today she’s jumping stairs. As I told my friend Nichole about this tonight, she said, “That sounds like an amazing indie movie.” Which also sounds very much like Singh.
In this video, I sat down to chat with Singh Machine about that moment she walked in the door and move from “butt pad girl” to the experienced skater she is today. While I cut out some of the nerdy stuff I was geeking out over—things like the academic concept of grit and how I see that in her (if you’re interested, Angela Duckworth is the grit guru and I swear it’s Singh to a T) and modern teaching techniques, which she demonstrated in practice by setting small goals she could achieve—we get to the heart of what drove her success so that new skaters can get over that hump and find the confidence to persevere like she did.
She also mentions Kansas City skater A.J. Bolton, who we both highly encourage you follow right now.
Without further adieu, please enjoy the wise words from Singh Machine.