Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Last week I went to four Sick Town practices, plus an outdoor skate. This week I'm shooting for the same.

Monday night was a tough practice. Bones ran it, and she is like a tiny, friendly drill sergeant. She's never mean, but holy crap is she a tough lady! I must have worked different muscles than usual, because my legs were *sore* on Tuesday. I think it might be from all the sprinting we did. Confession time: when the trainer says "sprint," I don't always full-on sprint. It's not that I'm intentionally slacking off; it's just that sometimes when they call for a sprint, I am simply too tired to manage it.

Monday night, I pushed myself, both in the pace lines and in the drills. (I did have to drop out of a couple of pace lines and skate around the outside of the track. Unfortunately, they were hitting pace lines, and hitting is something I need to work on.)

Tonight was scrimmage night, and for the second week in a row the team invited the intermediate girls to join in. Scrimmaging continues to be totally fun and *totally* confusing. I'm trying hard to be useful to my team, but sometimes I just don't know what to do. I did hit some people tonight, and when I was jamming I tried my best to use my blockers' assistance to get through the pack.

The thing is, the girls on the opposing team are not idiots. When they see the weakest member of the team (that would be me) go in as jammer, it's like throwing fresh meat to a pack of hungry lionesses. I kept trying, but I have to hand it to the white team. They *blocked* my ass. For a while there it seemed like I just couldn't stay on the track, no matter what I did.

And then there were the times when I was blocking and the opposing jammer just zipped past me. And I stood there like, "Oh yeah, that's the girl I'm supposed to be stopping. Shit."

It's only my second scrimmage. I *will* figure this out! I did get through the pace lines at the start of practice, which were done with everyone, and at a pretty good pace. So there's that. I kept telling myself, "If you can't get through the pace line, you can't scrimmage."

I feel good about tonight. I tried my best, and I had a couple of moments where I was an effective blocker. Not many, but a couple. Next week (if the team lets us scrimmage next week), I will try to have more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Tonight was the Sick Town league party. It was a lot of fun (well, actually it is still going on, but I am a lame-o and left relatively early. For me, I stayed a long time -- got there at 7, left a little after 11 -- but I was one of the first to leave). I lost count of how many Jell-O shots I had (probably around 10. I would've had more but they really strongly tasted like vodka).

They gave out awards, for things like Best Ass in Spandex, Meanest Rollergirl, Sweetest Rollergirl, etc. A lot of times, the girls I voted for weren't the ones who won, but I still agreed with the choices. For all of the positive things, it was hard to pick just one person. (I didn't vote on Stinkiest Pads, and for Meanest, I picked someone who is not mean, but whose hits are scary.)

There was a surprise award -- the training committee chose the Most Improved Skater. I was listening while they announced it, but I wish I'd listened a little closer to all the nice things they were saying, because ... the award went to me!! They chose me as the most improved skater. That was amazing. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I am still walking on air, and probably will be for a while. Thank you so much, ladies!!

I got a cool award trophy -- an old rink skate that has been painted and decorated with my derby name. It's awesome. I plan to sleep with it tonight. (Maybe not. But it is sitting on my dresser. :-)

I am so happy to be a Sick Town girl!

Thursday, March 18, 2010



Last night’s practice was so awesome, y’all. The trainers had decided there weren’t going to be enough team members to have a full-on scrimmage practice, so they invited the intermediate girls to join in, and we scrimmaged!! I guess it was a lighter-contact version. At least, the “don’t be a douchebag” rule was in place … basically that means that the OGs should not hit the NGs at full power. (OG=old girl, NG=new girl).

We started out with pace lines, and since we had a NGs pace line and a OGs pace line, I did pretty well except for the time when I was in front and wasn’t paying enough attention and left my pace line behind a bit. D’oh!

But forget that, whatever, because then … SCRIMMAGING! I asked Brick and Bruiser if they wanted me to go over to the off-track area with the beginners, and they said if I wanted to try scrimmaging I could. (I was worried that I would not be able to keep up.)

So I tried scrimmaging. And while I cannot say that I was an asset to my team (though I hope I was useful once or twice), it was incredibly cool and fun to be thrown in there and try it. It’s so chaotic! Well, not really, but that’s the way it seems at first.

I was able to keep up, by the way. My problem, if I had one, was more being able to pay attention to 8 zillion things at once, and know what was going on at any given time.

I made a couple of effective hits, so that was cool. I committed a couple of fouls, so that wasn’t cool, but I know what I did so I can try not to do it again. (I also do realize that in a contact sport like derby, fouls are going to happen; it’s not like I did anything bad on purpose.)

So when we scrimmage, everyone jams, which is cool. Jamming is fun. Scary, but fun. The first jam that I, er, jammed, I did pretty decently, I think. I got knocked out of bounds by a blocker, but I managed to come back in behind her. I think I even scored some points for my team (we were not keeping score). The times that I was able to get through the pack? So. Effing. Cool.

Oh, and when I got knocked down? I did a rock star fall (double knee). Correctly. Boosh!

I was already in love with derby before last night, y’all … but now, I want to marry it. :-)

One more awesome thing. I was thinking I was going to be sucking air after one jam. Nuh-uh. I was able to skate back-to-back jams, no problem. Probably part of that is because we weren’t going full-out; I know these girls can kick my ass, endurance-wise, because they have done it. Recently. But I would like to think that my endurance has also improved. Hell, I know it has. Three months ago, I couldn’t have done what I did last night.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Recent practices

Lately practices have been kind of rough for me. I don't know if my endurance has gone down, or if the other intermediate girls' has gone up, or, most likely, the team is intensifying its endurance practices and the other intermediate girls are more able to keep up with that than I.

I feel fairly good about tonight, even though I did not manage to keep up with everything. We started with 25 laps in 5 minutes, as a pace line, and I had to drop out almost immediately. Here's the good part, though. Instead of sitting at the sidelines, I skated around the outside of the track at a pretty good pace (probably not the absolute fastest I can do, but a fast-for-me pace that I was able to sustain for the whole five minuets). If I had to guess, I would say that I probably did about 3/4 as many laps as the rest of the group (maybe) ... allowing for the fact that I was covering more ground, since I was skating outside the track.

We did some hitting pace lines too, and that was rough too. I had to drop out of some of that, but again, I skated at a good pace around the outside. That's good for several reasons. First, when one girl sits out a drill, it makes it easier for others to sit out too. Second, by skating fast around the outside, I kept my heart rate up and improved my endurance. Third, I worked on my crossovers and my derby form.

That's the best part of tonight's practice: except at the very beginning of practice, I don't remember coasting around the curves hardly at all. I can't swear I didn't do it *at all*, but it was rare. Now, I wasn't doing a full crossover, but I was working on it. So that is a good thing.

Oh, and another positive -- maybe a couple -- from tonight. We did a drill where you sprint for half the track, coast in a squat for 1/4, and fall and then crawl for 1/4, then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I stuck with it for the entire drill. Yay me! (It was about 10 minutes, too -- nothing wimpy.)

The other positive from tonight is that we did a really tough pack drill where we were all skating in a pack (there were only about 11 of us skating), and we all had numbers (either 1 or 2). We skated 2-minute jams, and though Brick says we were not at full pack speed, we were certainly not going slowly either (in my opinion anyway; I'll bet it did seem slow to the OGs). Nick called out different things, like "Ones! Take a knee!" or "Twos! Hit someone!" and so on. I sat out one jam to stretch my legs, which were starting to seize up a bit. But other than that I skated all of the jams, and there were 9 or 10 of them.

Cool stuff from last week:

- I made it to four practices.
- At Saturday's practice we worked on a lot of things that are on the minimum skills assessment, and I was able to do more of them than I thought (though I'm probably not going to pass in April unless I get my endurance and speed way up by then).
- One of the things we worked on was jumping. On Saturday I jumped over a baseball bat!! I had never tried jumping an actual object before; I was jumping next to the object. Well, I decided that the worst that would happen is that I would fall, and as long as I was in proper derby form, that would be OK. As long as you fall forward and correctly, you won't get hurt. But I didn't fall. I jumped that mofo! And then I jumped it again!! And now I'm not scared of jumping.

Oh, one more cool thing from tonight. During one of the hitting pace lines, someone hit me really well and I fell. I took a clean one-knee fall. I mean, it was textbook. That was cool. So, whoever hit me (I don't remember who it was), thanks -- seriously!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday Night Practice

I would have blogged about this last night -- I came home from practice feeling really good, if exhausted. But when I got home I found that Charlie was gone, and so were Moxie and Jack (our 4- and 5-year-old Corgis). It turns out that they had gotten out through an open gate (I don't *think* we left the gate open, but I guess it's possible. Usually we're very careful about that.)

Charlie had already called the Albany police department's non-emergency number and reported them missing; Jack was spotted pretty quickly, trying to get into someone's car a few blocks down our street. Charlie brought him home shortly after I got home, and then we both went out looking for Moxie.

No luck last night. We both got up early this morning to go and search some more. While I was walking around with Jack and a stack of leaflets, Charlie called me on my cell. The police had called him; someone had found a Corgi. We had an address and a phone number, but Charlie got voice mail when he called. So I got in my car and headed over to the address.

When I rang the doorbell, a wonderful lady named Holly answered, followed by a Corgi: a brindled Pembroke. Shit. But close on the heels of that dog was MOXIE!! Which is what I said: "MOXIE!!!!!" It turns out that a bus driver friend of Holly's had spotted Moxie and thought she looked like Holly's dog (she doesn't, but I'm *so* glad the bus driver thought so).

Well, to make this long story short, or at least no longer: all of my dogs are safe at home, and we have a guy coming later today to give us an estimate on fixing the gate.

So, back to derby. Remember derby? This is a blog about derby.

Last night was a good practice. Brick was our trainer. I'm not saying *any* Sick Town trainer is easy, because they are *so* not. But it seems like Brick's practices are especially brutal. If you think I'm complaining about that, I'm really not. When I get through one of Brick's practices, I feel *great* -- like I have really accomplished something. Honestly, I feel that way about all the Sick Town practices.

One cool thing is that last night we did the 40 laps in 8 minutes drill. If you were reading my blog back in January, you'll know that the last time I did that drill, HotBoxxx had to push me just about the entire way.

Well, last night, I skated the entire drill. I did get some push-assists from some of the girls, but no one had to shopping-cart my ass around the track. (I also got some whip-assists, which I continue to love, love, love.) I've also gotten to the point where I'm not embarrassed about needing help (the fact that I need less help than I did a couple of months ago helps). My goal is still to be one of the girls *giving* the assists, instead of *needing* them ... but I'm making progress!

We also did relays and sprints and sprawls and just a whole lot of endurance drills, and then it was on to the hitting pace lines. I got through all of the pace lines (boosh!) and even got some good hits in on the OGs (I tried to hit more gently when I was hitting new girls). I think at one point I hit Pwny well enough that it sent her out of bounds. And ... this is awesome ... I'm doing better at taking hits. I (unintentionally) ran away from Brick when she went to hit me the first time, but after that I made sure not to do that again, and I never once popped up when someone hit me.

One of the neatest things last night, though, was all the encouragement from the other girls. It's a pretty amazing thing to be skating your best and hear your teammates (well, leaguemates; I'm not on the *team* yet) cheering you on.

Love, love, love Sick Town.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Makeup practice with Brick

I have to give a special shout-out to Brick, who skated her butt off last night at the bout and then came to the CDC at noon today to run a makeup practice for me, Tami and D-Train. It was a great practice -- lots of endurance and conditioning work, and *lots* of work on crossovers. I wouldn't say I have them down, not by a long shot, but I feel like I made good progress today and I know what to work on.

I think part of my problem is that I don't fully trust my left leg -- and when you're doing a crossover skating the normal derby direction (which is counterclockwise), your left leg is pushing behind and outward while your right crosses over it. This is not an excuse -- it's a "here's what I need to work on": I broke my left ankle several years ago, and my left knee has been giving me minor-to-annoying pain ever since I started derby. Well, the left ankle is fine now -- a little stiffer than the other, but totally usable; and the left knee is just twinge-prone, not injured. So these things really are not reasons not to trust my left leg to support me and push off. Now I must convince my lizard brain of that fact.

Whew. I'm *tired* from that practice! Brick worked us hard, which is great. I've gotten a lot stronger since I started derby, and I have a long way to go still.

Tomorrow night, another endurance practice, though hopefully that one will include some blocking drills and other fun stuff too. This week I only got in three practices (and that is if you count our Friday night rink-style skate, which Brick said doesn't count as a practice ... but for my own personal development, I'm going to count it. I got off my ass and skated and sweated.) Next week, I will get four: Monday, Wednesday (skating off to the side at the travel team's practice), Friday, and Saturday. Easy peasy. (Well, *getting* to them will be easy. The practices, I assure you, will not.)

My first Sick Town bout (as an audience member)

Tonight was my first time seeing the Sick Town ladies in action. I sat in the crash zone (the area just outside the track) with Matt, Bones' very nice boyfriend (and a friend of theirs whose name I have forgotten -- sorry!).

Regardless of the outcome, I just want to say that I am so totally proud of the Sick Town girls. They show grace, class and heart whether they win or lose, and I love that.

A roller derby bout is one of the noisiest things I'd ever voluntarily sit through. I left with a headache that still hasn't really gone away even though I downed three Advils. (The fact that I am all cracked out on Diet Coke probably isn't helping much.)

This was only my second bout; the first one was a Cherry City (Salem) intraleague bout, just before I joined Sick Town. (That was the bout that got me interested in doing derby.) It's much different when you know the people skating. I screamed my fool head off for the Sick Town girls. :-)

It was also a lot different than that first bout, for me, because now I'm starting to understand what's going on. Emphasis on "starting to"; there were still many times when I didn't understand the details of what was going on. (At least I have the basics down, though. :-)

Anyway, it was really cool to see Sick Town in a bout, after skating with them for the last several months. What an awesome group of ladies!