We started out with skating to warm up, and then we did what Bones calls "20 Minutes of Opportunity," and what I call "20 Minutes of Hell." Here's how it works: you sprint for a minute (meaning you skate around the track as fast as you can), and then you come into the middle and do an exercise for a minute. The first minute of sprinting was easy-ish. The first minute of exercise was tough -- squats. You don't know how long a minute is until you spend it doing something difficult that you can't stop doing until the minute is up. After that, it got tougher. One of the exercises was basically a skater version of jumping jacks. Start standing, go down on knees then on all fours, then get up, and go up on your toe stops with your arms up. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I was sure I couldn't do it but Brick told me to take it slowly (which I really should've thought of myself). I think I only managed three or four repeats, but that's OK.
But here's the good news: there is something in Derby that I am good at (or at least, I have a good foundation for learning how to do it for real). Guess what it is?
Yep, hitting. :-)
Last night we practiced hitting, first with a punching bag that St. Nick (I think; I'm not quite sure about everyone's names yet) held. Skate up, hit the bag (first with your shoulder, then your hip), skate on. I did pretty well, which was ... wonderful. Vicious gave me some pointers on how to use my shortness and chunkiness to basically turn myself into a little cannonball, and then hit up and into the other skater. I think I can do this.
Of course, next we did a pace line where we were supposed to weave in and out of everyone, hitting them as we did so. I hit one girl and *I* fell, and that was pretty much it for me in that exercise. :-) At least I fell more or less correctly.
After that I skated on my own while the team did more pace lines and pack drills and stuff that I'm just not ready for. It was OK; a little lonely, but way better than giving up and going home. I worked on falls a bit, and I think I can just about do the thing where the derby girls do a knee fall without stopping (it basically looks like a skating genuflect, for all you Catholics out there). I've also discovered I can do this thing where I skate along, then do sort of a circle thing and reverse direction to stop. Hard to describe, but I'm getting pretty decent at it.
I still have a ton to learn, and I still wish there were a group of total newbies that I could start with, but as long as the STDD girls don't feel like they are wasting their time working with me, I'll keep going to the Monday practices, and then going to as many open skates as I can manage for the rest of the week.