I had kind of a rough night at practice last night. First, they changed the schedule: Wednesdays will now be team-only practice, though intermediates can come and use the off-track area to work on skating on our own.
Let me be totally and completely clear: I really do understand why they made this change. Up to now, the only team-only practice was Saturday mornings. They need more time than that where they can just focus on playing, without having to provide trainers for intermediate and beginners. It's totally fair and totally reasonable.
It's just that it's also a change, and change is hard. I was feeling really, really good about my routine (practice Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, rink skate Sunday), and now I have to change it. It's OK.
I asked Brick if I could go to the Friday practices, which are for intermediates. Those practices are explicitly for people who can do a crossover, and I can't, quite (though I'm getting a lot closer; more on that in a minute). She seemed less concerned about my crossover ability than the fact that, apparently, when people hit me I pop up (out of the proper derby position).
Fuck. I do that? Shit. Yes, yes, I do. Anyway, she said I could go to the Friday practices, but that I have to work on staying low.
It was hard hearing that, but I'm glad she was honest. It wouldn't do me any good to be coddled.
So last night at practice, the team scrimmaged, and Bones (have I said how awesome she is? Bones is brilliant) worked with the intermediates and beginners. This was great, because we worked on pretty much two of the main things I needed work on: crossovers, and hitting.
First, crossovers. That actually went pretty well. Bones showed us a way to break it down by skating around and taking the curves with (alternately) one leg extended. It's hard to explain. Next, we sort of alternated those moves. Voila, a crossover! Or at least, the start of one. I'm really getting close to having it.
Second, hitting. First we started by hitting Bones. I did really well with skating up and hitting her; I got several "awesome"s and she said my first hit was the hardest I'd hit her yet. So that was wonderful.
Then we did a drill where we were lined up single file, with about 8 feet between girls, and we took turns skating along the line and hitting each person. My second time through, when I went to hit Emily, I stepped across in front of her, and my skate hit her skate, and apparently I panicked and stood up. HUGE mistake. At that point, my skates went forward and my ass went DOWN. Imagine your legs going out from under you, and going from your ass's normal height straight to the concrete.
It hurt. In fact, the impact to my ass hurt my *head*. As Emily said, it rang my bell. I was embarrassed too, of course. I knew it had only happened because I had been in the wrong position. And I was crying (you know how sometimes you get hit so hard you just can't help it, the tears come out? It was like that. I didn't mean to cry.) Luckily, the derby girls were nice enough not to notice that. I kept thinking, "There's no crying in derby!"
Bones told me I could take as much time as I needed, but I wanted to get up and finish the drill. And I did. Tough or foolhardy, I don't know, but I finished.
After that I actually did better. We did more drills where we were hitting each other, and I focused *hard* on staying in derby position no matter what. I wasn't 100% successful; my impulse really does seem to be to pop up a bit when someone hits me. But I'd say about 75% of the time, I was able to control that and stay low. (Even when I popped up, it wasn't much.)
This is all going to be fine. Next week, I will go to Monday, Wednesday (just for ref training though), Friday (rink-style skate at the CDC) and Saturday. Week after that, I will go to Monday, Friday (by then, if I focus on it, I should be good at staying low when I'm hit), Saturday, and Sunday at the Lebanon rink. And that will be my routine, until I pass minimum skills and get to go to the team practices (it may take me a while, but I think it's reasonable for me to hope that will happen).
All I can say is that today, with the way my lower back feels, it's a damn good thing I don't have to skate until Saturday. If the weather holds out, I'm hot tubbing tonight.