Sunday, December 26, 2010

Skate World (i.e., "Lord of the Flies" on wheels)

Last week I had a stretch of 8 days in a row of skating. Yay! Still much work to be done on my crossover and booty blocking, sadly. Bruiser has been a big help, as has Ringer.

One of the days, we skated at Skate World in Springfield. It's a fine rink -- good floor, they serve Diet Coke at the snack bar. Unfortunately, the staff are all teenagers, and if the place has any rules, they sure don't seem to enforce them.

The day that we were there, a young woman (probably a teenager; she's too tall to be a kid) who is an excellent skater but kind of a jerk was making a game of skating a lap and deliberately falling right by the DJ booth. I could tell she's a regular, both because I've seen her there many times, and because the staff all seemed to know her. I guess that explains why she was able to LIE ON HER BACK, on the rink, TEXTING. She was mostly out of traffic, but not entirely (as I said, she's a very tall girl).

At that point, I was already sick of the total lack of rules at Skate World. I skated over to the DJ booth and asked the employee (who was *totally* looking right at the girl -- and I waited a few laps to make sure they weren't going to do something about her), "Are you seriously OK with her lying on the floor TEXTING?"

He muttered, "I can tell her to stop."

I said, in kind of a "mom" voice, "Does this place have ANY rules?"

His answer, "A few."

I gave him what I hope was a withering look, like, "How about enforcing them, then, idiot?" (I did *not* say that). They did make the girl get up, at least, and she didn't do anything else like that for the rest of that day.

Other stuff that went on there, that I completely disapprove of: a guy skating around carrying a toddler. And not just skating the kid off the rink, which would still be a bad idea, but skating around with the kid in his arms. That's really unsafe.

Oh, and then there are the kids who fall, are not injured at all, and still take several of my laps to get up -- because they are screwing around. All I can say about that is that if someone rolls over their fingers, it will be their own fault.

I'm not asking for a dictatorship. I don't need it to be like Oaks Park, where *I* have been told to slow down (I'm not that freaking fast). But even if you're pretty laissez-faire, it seems like a no-brainer to draw the line at LYING ON THE RINK FLOOR. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wet Floor = Bad Juju

On Monday night, the floor at the CDC was wet. It was like 55 degrees outside, and rainy, and there was just a lot of condensation on the floor. It was nasty. It wasn't like standing water that you could see and avoid. It was more like random slick spots where your wheels went sliding out from under you.

Pus and Kant led practice. In an effort to (mostly) avoid the wet areas, we were skating in an area about the size of my basement (well, if there were no furniture and you knocked down the interior walls). It was crazy. That's not in *any* way a diss on the twins. They made it work, admirably. But holy shitballs, I really hope we don't have to do it like that again.

I'd so much rather it were colder, and drier. It's much easier to put on more layers than it is to skate on a wet floor.

Feeling a Little Better

I think I'm starting to feel better about the fact that I didn't pass minimum skills. I think I'm ready to focus on the positive: I'm closer than ever (if you don't count April, which I am increasingly convinced as a fluke. Because seriously, I am a *much* better skater now than I was then.)

And it's Christmas break, and Charlie and I were already planning on doing a lot of rink skating during break. So, I will work work work on my crossover during those rink skates. (Any STDDs who want to join us, let me know!)

One thing that someone suggested to me on the Rollergirls Yahoo group was to find a mentor in my league. I would really like to do that. It's tough, though, because right now we are between seasons (and coming into the holidays), so a lot of the bout pool girls are not making such great attendance. (They're not required to right now. I'm not criticizing.)

So, hey, any bout pool girl reading this who thinks, "Ya know, I'd love to be Dixie's mentor," please let me know. :-)

Another really positive thing: on Saturday, when I was just devastated that I had not passed, I still never once said, "I'm done." Because I'm not done. And I will not be done, not until I die or break a hip or turn 80 or whatever. The fact that I have never even considered giving up (at least, not since the very beginning) says a lot.

I will pass minimum skills. And when I do, I *will* get a pair of shorts with the words "Fucking FINALLY" printed on the butt. :-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not a Great Day

I didn't pass minimum skills. The three other skaters who seemed most likely to pass, did. There were several who didn't pass, so at least I'm not the only one this time. (I never wish for anyone else not to pass, but it sucks being the only one who doesn't.)

So, congratulations, Andi, Adrienne and Van Slam! You guys are awesome, and I'm truly happy for you.

Brick told me the things I failed on:

- Booty Blocking (no surprise there)
- Crossover (again, not a big surprise. She did say it's almost there, which was nice to hear.)
- Staying in derby form. Goddamnit. That one is a failure of concentration, because I *know* how to be in derby form.

Brick, bless her, also said that everything is looking better (hearing that really made me feel better), and that now it's time to work on agility and quick feet.

I couldn't agree more. If I can just get the stupid crossover (which I really have improved on a lot in the last few weeks) and the goddamn booty blocking (Brick says she has some ideas to help me with that), I may even be ready to re-test in a few weeks. We'll see. I am going to try to keep the lines of communication between me and Brick as open as she's willing for them to be (in other words, I don't want to be a pain in her butt), and check in with her in a few weeks and see how these skills are looking.

What I'm not doing, not ever: giving up.


Well, I won't know for sure whether I passed or not for a few days. The training committee has to meet and discuss. I'm sure if I do pass, it will be by a pretty narrow margin. I got paired with a very fast jammer for the booty blocking and it was all I could do to stay in front of her. Dude, I totally understand that booty blocking is a vital skill. I just wish I could have a slower jammer for the test, and then work my ass off at it after passing. Which, really, I'm going to do either way, pass or fail.

I'm also not sure they were happy with my hits, though I know I made my partner stumble a few times and I thought I was doing reasonably well. Not fabulously, not the hardest I've ever hit, but not terribly.

And then there's the crossover, which, who knows.

Anyway, at least I know I didn't hinder other skaters in the weaving paceline, I didn't have trouble adjusting my pace in the paceline (i.e., I didn't crash into anyone or have to go out of the line to avoid crashing), the jumps were no big deal whatsoever, and it's getting to the point where 25 laps in 5 minutes is not such a huge deal either. I'm pretty sure I did well on all the stops and falls ... pretty much all the individual stuff, actually, except maybe the crossover.


Like the man said, the waiting is the hardest part. Well, that and the booty blocking.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Minimum Skills is Tomorrow

So, I have to re-pass minimum skills. The assessment is tomorrow. There are a couple of girls in the intermediate group with me who I think will probably pass. I really, really don't want to get left behind again. I'm happy for my friends when they move up -- I really am! But it sucks not to get to move up too. And I'm so ready to skate with the bout pool, I think.

I don't think I was really ready in April when I passed minimum skills for the first time. But I'm a much stronger skater now than I was then. I mean, I'm nowhere near the level of the travel team girls, like Kant or Brick or Bones. But check this out:

- It has been *forever* since I've had to drop out of a drill. I mean, like, since before Rollercon. I just don't drop out anymore.

- On Saturday at practice, we skated for 5 minutes and counted laps, and I was able to do 27. Last night, we did it again, and I *fell* once, and still managed 26 laps. (We also did it in the reverse direction, and I was able to do 25.)

- That broom head that gave me so much trouble at my first minimum skills? I own that bitch now. Last night I just jumped it, twice, no big deal.

- I'm getting pretty good at pace lines. I used to hate them (because I was never fast enough to keep up). Now, I kind of love them.

The only things that are still giving me trouble are the booty blocking and the crossover. I think I'll be able to do well enough on the crossover, if I concentrate on staying low and leaning toward the inside.

Booty blocking is just really hard. I hope I can do it well enough to pass. I know I will not be doing it at the level that Brick does it, at this point. But if I can just do it *just* well enough ... it's a very important skill, I know. Whether I pass or not, it's something I will be working on A LOT in the next few weeks.

The nice thing for me is that if I don't pass now, since I passed before I have the option of asking for a re-test in a few weeks, if I'm pretty sure I'm ready to pass then. So at least, if I fail on just the booty blocking, I can work my ass off at that for a few weeks and then re-test in early January, instead of waiting until February (which is when the next full minimum skills test is likely to be).

Because the thing is ... there's more reason than ever to want to pass the damn test. Sick Town is going to have a B team this season!!!!! And if I can pass minimum skills, and start training with the bout pool, I think I have a pretty good chance of being good enough to be put on the roster for a B team bout.

I. Want. This. So. Bad!

I'm not as nervous as I was the first time I took minimum skills. I know what to expect, and I have a pretty good handle on what I'm good at and what I'm not as good at.

But oh man, it would be awesome to pass tomorrow ...