Friday, January 29, 2010

Practice on Wednesday

I went to practice on Wednesday -- that makes two for the week. Yay me! (This is the minimum required attendance for scrimmage-eligible girls, so I really need to get in the habit of going to at least two practices a week. Plus, the more I practice the faster I will get up to speed, both literally and figuratively.)

On Wednesday night the drills seemed a little -- emphasis on little -- easier. Maybe I'm getting stronger, or maybe the trainer (Brick) really did ease off a bit. Knowing Brick, that doesn't seem all that likely ... :-)

Here's the accomplishment of the night: I can skate backwards! Not really *well*, and I'm still just doing backward sticky feet (that's where all eight wheels are constantly in contact with the floor), but I can do it. And we worked on transitioning from skating forwards to skating backwards, without stopping, and I can do that. It was easy -- which is nice, because not many things in derby are coming easily to me when I first try them.

I wish I were going to have time to go skating this weekend, but I doubt I will unless I want to go alone to the open skate on Sunday (probably not).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whip it! Whip it good!

So last night's practice was tough. We started out with a lot of lap skating, and my legs were already complaining. (I tried to keep my mouth from doing the same, though. I try not to bitch about the training activities, though I'm sure my uncertainty shows on my face.)

Next was 40 Laps in 10 Minutes, which is a bit of a misnomer since in fact it's more like "see how many laps we can do in 10 minutes," which last night turned out to be 45. We skated in a pack, all 15 of us (one new girl had to drop out). It was also, as they put it, "No Derby Girl Left Behind." Guess what that means? If someone (me) can't keep up, someone else pushes her.

At first, I really, really didn't want to do that. I was actually about to skate off the track, possibly to go home in shame. I was really embarrassed about the possibility of someone having to push my ass around the track. Fortunately, RiceCrackr (a teeny little lunatic derby girl -- love her!) intercepted me and I admitted I was embarrassed and she set me straight -- everyone needs to be pushed sometimes, and it's OK.

Well, I needed to be pushed a lot. Out of the 45 laps, I'd say maybe I did a total of five under my own power. Maybe. HotBoxxx pushed me a lot, and was really awesome about it, cheering me on and making me feel like I was not just a load. (It may sound like letting someone push you around the track would be easy, but it's not. You have to maintain derby position (knees bent, butt out, shoulders forward, head up) and that's tough; and you have to steer. I'm not in any way saying it wasn't harder for HotBoxxx -- she is *amazing.* But it was a workout for me too. :-)

Here's the coolest thing though. The whip. Before we started, Crackr told me that one way the girls would help me stay near the front of the pack was by giving me whips. I was worried about that: I've seen it, but never tried it myself or been given any instruction on how to do a whip. The first one was *scary*. The second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and possibly seventh (I don't remember how many I got) were *cool*.

(A whip is when the skater in front holds out her hand, the skater behind takes it, and the skater in front flings the skater behind forward on the track. It's a great way for the whipped girl to gain speed.)

Thanks to the team, I got through the drill. I was pushed for most of it, but I stayed in the pack and did 45 laps in 10 minutes. (Oh, and skating in the pack was not so scary! I'm getting a lot better with that.)

I think one aspect of team sports really hit home for me last night: I can't do this on my own. I need the team's support. Hopefully, the day will come when I will be the one pushing someone who needs it. Until then, I'm learning to be OK with being pushed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making Progress!

At practice last night, I learned some new stuff, and worked on stuff I had already learned. And I got through the endurance drills, though they were tough. I skated in a pace line with the other beginner girls (a pace line is where you skate in a single-file line, close enough to the person in front of you that you can reach out and touch her; then the person in the back weaves in and out between people until she gets to the front). It's getting easier to do that!

I think my next step is to make myself a chart of all the minimum skills I need to know, so I can check off when I can do them, and when I've really got them down (this was Charlie's idea, and it's a good one).

Last night, although it was *hard*, I never once thought "What the hell am I doing here?" Yay!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Practice tonight

Tonight, I had decided not to go to practice. I wasn't on the fence -- I had jumped off into the cow pasture. (To take the metaphor farther, it would be fair to say I was hip-deep in bullshit. :-)

Charlie went all disapproving bunny on me (if you don't know what a disapproving bunny is, you obviously don't read Cute Overload, and that's your own damn fault). And he was right. My reasons for not going were just a lot of whiny bullshit. So I went.

Last Monday I had a fairly crummy night at practice. I was sure no one liked me (I'm not really like that; I'm having some trouble with my medication and that, combined with some emotional stuff, was making life difficult), my legs hurt, whine, whine, whine.

Tonight was pretty much the opposite. One thing that immediately put a smile on my face is that we have a new girl in STDD, Jenna. Jenna is very nice, and she's catching on to skating really well -- I saw improvement just from the start of the open skate tonight to the end of it. But she's definitely a beginner. Which means I'm not the only one!! (I guess I'm not really a beginner, actually. Several of the derby girls were telling me that tonight, that I'm better than I think, and that they have seen a lot of improvement in me. Which is awesome, and made me really happy to hear!! But I still think the chance to do the Derby 101 stuff with Jenna will be really good for me. Those aren't mutually exclusive things -- I've gotten a lot better at skating, and now will be a great time for me to buckle down and really get good at stopping, falling, hitting, footwork, and all the other stuff I need to know.)

I had a great time tonight. I felt much more like part of the group, probably because I didn't sit off to the side with a frown on my face. (Funny how that works!) I skated *way* more than I sat out. I skated the entire song on the reverse skate (that's when you skate around the rink clockwise instead of the usual counterclockwise; it's not skating backwards, which I can't do yet). I even started doing crossovers on the curves on the reverse skate!!

I had requested the song "Hey Ya" by Outkast, which funny enough was a huge hit in 2003 but which I had not heard until 2009 because I am pathetically unhip. Anyway, it's a great song. So obviously when it came on, I had to skate to it. At the end of the song when I got off the floor, I was a bit surprised to realize that I had skated my *ass* off during that one. I could still feel the adrenaline. It was really cool, to find that I had skated hard without even realizing it.

I still can't really keep up with the derby girls, but I try to. And if I keep trying, one of these days I will be able to. As I told HotBoxx tonight, I don't care if it takes me until I am 45 to pass minimum skills (it shouldn't take nearly that long) ... I want to stick with this. I just ... I really love roller derby. And I'll tell ya, for a bunch of bitches who want to knock you over, the girls are super nice. :-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Skating at the rink today

We went to the open skate at Lebanon today, along with several Sick Town people (Brick, Nick, Pwny, FaceKontrol, Kayla and Rob). It was going pretty well until about 30 minutes into the skating session, Rob fell. I was on my way around the rink and saw him on the floor and thought, "Oops, Rob fell." When I came around again and he was still down, I thought "Uh-oh," and stopped.

Yeah, turns out he broke his leg. :-( He was trying to stop and his legs didn't cooperate, I guess. He had his 8-year-old son, Grayson, with him, so I stayed with Grayson while the paramedics got Rob ready to go to the hospital, and then I met them there and kept Grayson company in the waiting room until his mom got there. He's a funny little kid; he told me that when a woman has a baby, they cut it out of her stomach. I was like, yeah, sometimes they do that; and then he told me that other times they poop the baby out. Picture me keeping a straight face at that one. :-) I agreed that they kind of poop the baby out ... I certainly wasn't going to explain how it really works to the 8-year-old kid of a friend I don't know very well. :-)

Anyway, Rob's going to be fine, though I'm guessing he will not be skating for at least a couple of months. I hope he'll be back when his leg heals. I got back to the rink with a little less than an hour left in the skate session, so I did a little more skating. I never really got warmed up to the point where the shins weren't bothering me, but that's OK. I'm glad I could help out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Minimum Derby Skills

In case anyone wonders what I'm talking about when I mention passing minimum skills, here's the list.

I can do maybe -- MAYBE -- five percent of that stuff now. :-P

At least I don't need to worry about the written part of the test. That'll be easy. It'll be about damn time my big ol' brain came in handy for derby. :-) (Not that derby girls are not smart -- they are! But being smart won't get my ass around the rink 25 times in five minutes.)

Shin pain

I should point out, it's not like my shins don't hurt at all when I skate; it's just that I find that if I keep skating through it, it gets better. The fact that I'm finding myself *able* to keep skating through it probably means my shin muscles are getting stronger, too. So, yay for that.

Skating news

I think I may be past the shin pain thing, finally. The last couple of times I have skated -- Wednesday at Skate World in Springfield, and Monday at Lebanon (as Sick Town practice -- the warehouse floor was wet so we couldn't skate there) -- I have pushed through the shin pain and it has gotten better. Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, both times the rinks were crowded as hell, and both times I skated harder than usual. (Monday I'm sure it was because the rest of the derby team was there and I didn't want to look like a weenie.) It's gotten to the point where I no longer remember which songs I skated all the way through, because there are too many of them. (And many in a row too. These last couple of times I have skated way more than I've sat out.)

On Monday night I skated a few laps during the speed skate (at Lebanon, they designate one song a "speed skate" so that the proficient skaters can have a chance to skate without having to dodge little kids and slowpokes). Charlie timed me for a lap, and he said my time was 13 seconds. The rink in Lebanon is about the size of a standard flat-track derby track (I think). To pass minimum skills I have to be able to do 25 laps in 5 minutes. Now, being able to do one lap in 13 seconds is a very different thing than doing 25 laps in 5 minutes ... but it means there's at least hope. :-)

On Wednesday Charlie challenged me to lap him. We started at the same place, and my goal was to get so far ahead that I caught up to him again. I had to work for it -- Charlie's getting much better at skating. But I made it within ... maybe three, maybe four laps. Not too bad, for me.

Monday night in Lebanon, during the girls' skate, a BOY zipped onto the rink (recklessly, I might add) and knocked me down. A fricking boy, during the girls' skate. That pissed me off. If it had been a girl who knocked me down, it wouldn't have annoyed me nearly as much; but the boy shouldn't even have been out there!

I don't think we'll skate in Springfield again unless we're really hard up. The rink is fine; the surface seems to be some sort of painted wood, and it's not as grippy as the floor in Lebanon but it's way better than the sport court or the polished concrete at the fairgrounds (which is the worst surface I've skated on). But the employees are all teenagers, and they do a pretty poor job of policing the rink. There were groups of kids standing in the middle of the rink, not skating (two laps in a row I told them to skate or get off as I went past). There was a woman skating while pushing her baby in a stroller (I was honestly concerned for the baby's safety on that one -- it was a very crowded rink and accidents happen). There were parents walking on the rink holding their little kids' hands while they "skated" (apparently the rink allows this; I assume the stroller thing is allowed too, because the lady was doing it for hours). There was a group of insolent 12-year-old girls running around on the rink in their sneakers. Not Heelys (which are allowed, and which I don't agree with -- Heelys are not skates) ... just sneakers. I pointed this out to a staff member and asked if it was allowed. He said no, and then just looked at me with dead eyes until I walked away. Nothing was done about it. I complained again as I skated past the staff members on the rink, and a few minutes later I saw them talking to the girls ... and then I saw the girls walking around the outer edge of the rink (but still on it). I guess that was the solution. Sheesh.

Oaks Park and Lebanon have rules, and the staff are adults, and shit like that is not allowed. Oaks Park is 70 miles away, whereas Springfield is more like 40, *and* Oaks Park serves nasty Pepsi (while Springfield has Coke), but it's still worth it to go to Oaks. (Of course Lebanon is still the first choice, when it's open.)

They all need to play better music, though.