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.

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