I took most of the month of May off from derby, and I *hated* it. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am usually pretty fanatical about going to practice. Conventional Sick Town wisdom is that two practices a week will maintain your skills, but if you want to improve, you should go to three or four. I took that advice to heart, and I believe that is why I passed minimum skills as quickly as I did (and sooner than anyone expected me to).
I had pneumonia, though, and even if I had felt up to skating, it would have been extremely selfish to go to practice and spread my germs to the rest of the league. So I stayed home.
I finally went back to practice on May 26. The good news is that I went to the rink the Saturday before that (RIP, Lebanon Sk8 Center), and *finally* got the goddamn crossover down!! My crossover is not perfect -- Brick says I am straightening my back leg too soon/too much, and I need to work on that. But it is a real crossover, at last!!
I've been able to keep up at the practices I've been to since I went back. We've started doing 30 laps in six minutes at the start of every practice (that's 12-second laps, the same pace as the 25 laps in five minutes that is required for minimum skills). We do it as a pack, which I *vastly* prefer to doing it as a pace line ... but so far, I haven't needed any help! No whips, no self-assists, no pushes, nothing!! I can't even tell y'all how good that feels.
I borrowed Claudia's (Lux's ... it's really hard to get used to calling the girls who were beginners with me by their derby names, but I will!) yellow Fugitive Mids wheels again. I had tried them on the concrete floor and found that they slowed me down -- they were too grippy on that surface, I guess. On the sport court, they are *awesome*. They are narrower than my other wheels, which means (I guess?) that they are better for side-to-side footwork. They are a 93 durometer (hardness), which means they're fast; and they are nice and grippy, which means they don't slide out from under me on the turns. Love!! I bought my own set yesterday. Any derby girl reading this, if you skate on sport court, you should try these wheels.
Hmm, what else? Oh!! This is cool -- I passed the written test, which is part of minimum skills. I only missed two -- you can miss six and still pass. Yay!!
One frustrating thing: apparently it's a Sick Town rule that if you miss three weeks of practice, you have to re-take the individual parts of the minimum skills assessment before you are eligible to scrimmage. Bones assured me that it's no big deal, and that it takes about five minutes (when she first said it, I was envisioning having to go through the entire min skills assessment in July, and the thought of that made my heart sink). I think I'm pretty much ready to do that. The only thing I'm nervous about at all is the jump, but if I did it in April I should be able to do it now.
Last night Sick Town had a bout against the Church of Sk8in (which is one of the Emerald City Roller Girls teams). It was *awesome.* The Sick Town girls skated fabulously, and showed some really nice teamwork. The score was close all along, and at the end of the bout it was TIED, so they had to go into overtime. Here's how overtime works: it's a two-minute jam, with no lead jammer (the lead jammer can call off the jam at any time; if there's no lead jammer, the jam goes the full two minutes). The jammers start scoring on their first pass through the pack (normally it's on the second).
The final score -- I don't remember the specific numbers, but the Church won by two points. I'd have loved it even more if Sick Town had won by two points, but it was just a great, exciting bout. I was so proud of my team!!
The second bout of the evening, Andromedolls vs. Flat Track Furies, was much less fun. I think the Dolls won by 150 points. It's just not as entertaining when the score's not close. I'm not -- not in any way -- suggesting that the scores should be manipulated to maximize the entertainment value. Roller derby is a legitimate sport and bullshit like that would severely damage its legitimacy. But when you're playing another team from your own league, and you have an insurmountable lead, maybe you could start sending out blockers to jam (for example). That has the added benefit of being fun for the blockers. :-)
Eh, I'm not criticizing the Dolls. I think they're an awesome team -- in fact, I'm wearing an Andromedolls t-shirt as I write this.
My goals for this week:
- Make it to four practices (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday)
- Re-take whatever part of minimum skills I have to re-take to be scrimmage-eligible (because attendance-wise, I will be eligible next week!)
- Keep working on the crossover
- Be able to keep up in all the drills
- Keep working on stopping (as a blocker, I need to be able to stop on a dime, and I'm not there yet)
One last thing. On Thursday night we had a rink skate at the CDC (we always do that for the practice before a bout). It was fun -- just Brick, and a bunch of newer girls and a couple of refs (Bambi and Isaac -- aka Charlie). At one point I was sprinting to catch Thrilla (Tami -- one of the girls who started with me, and the only one of us who has been drafted to the team so far), and I hit *something* and went flying into a faceplant (I almost pulled off a four-point fall, but not quite). Charlie called it a six-point, because ... wait for it ... I landed on my boobs, arms and knees. OMG, it hurt. My arms and chest are still sore. The annoying thing is that I have my first derby bruise, and I can't post a picture of it (because it's on my boob). D'oh!!