Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scrimmaging, skating, improving ...

Since I passed minimum skills, I have been to ... let's see ... six practices so far. So, it would be fair to say I am skating my ass off. :-)

Last Wednesday was my first scrimmage as a bout pool member. It was fun, and hard. We didn't have a whole lot of girls, so everyone got to skate in a lot of jams. I didn't feel nearly as lost as I did in my very first scrimmage, but I was still a bit scattered. And of course, people were expecting a lot more of me than they were in that first scrimmage (when I was still just an intermediate).

I still don't feel like I have a very strong understanding of strategy. Let's just say I have a *lot* to learn. Fortunately, three of the SMASH (A-team) skaters (Pus, Kant and Pwny) have been doing regular strategy practices aimed at newer bout pool skaters (they call it PuKanY practice, so if I refer to that, that will be what I'm talking about). I went on Sunday, and it was awesome. I think I know more about strategy now ... I just need to work on having the fast-twitch speed to be able to put it into action. Because, knowing where you should be is great ... but being fast enough to get there is better.

Anyway, at the scrimmage ... one jam, while I was out as jammer, I just couldn't get anywhere. Everywhere I went, Pus (who was blocking for the other team) was there. To kill me. :-) Seriously, that girl was on me like white on rice. I'm not sure I ever cleared the pack. It was frustrating as hell, and there were times I didn't want to get back up after she knocked me down (I did, though). I need to learn to do what she was doing.

My goal for this week's scrimmage (which is tomorrow) is to be more aware. I want to try to always know where the jammers are. (There was one time last week when I just totally let the other team's jammer past me, and I could *easily* have blocked her if I had been *aware* of her. Dammit!)

It's hard when you're tired, and you have ADD. But I have to do it or I will be of very little use as a blocker. Getting distracted by shiny things is not an option.

I hope some more girls test up soon. It would be awesome to have a bigger B team. :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wait, what? I passed?

This may be a long one. I'll wait while you go get a drink and use the bathroom.

OK, ready?

Minimum skills assessment was Saturday. Before the test, we had an intermediate practice, where we worked on the things that were going to be on the test. I did pretty well on everything until we got to positional blocking (which we STDDs call "booty blocking," because that's what it is -- blocking someone with footwork and getting your booty on her).

I was paired with another intermediate skater, and I was having trouble even blocking her. So what chance did I have to block bout pool skaters, which is what I knew I was going to have to do on the actual test? I went to Brick, and although I didn't intend to (I never intend to), I started crying a bit while talking to her. I asked her if it would be rude of me to leave after practice, and not stay for the test.

Brick told me I could do what I wanted. (That sounds like she was cold about it, and she was not. She just kind of let me know that "rude" wasn't really an issue, and that I should do what I wanted to do.)

I went outside and cried a little more. And came back in and finished the drill, and cried some more. So, anyone who says there's no crying in roller derby has never met me. I don't do it on purpose. I just am so emotionally invested in this ... and it comes out as tears.

Anyway, St. Nick (who has really kind of been like a big sis to me ever since I started) helped me calm down. I decided to stay for the test, because if I didn't, I'd always wonder what would've happened. Also, I really love all the girls I was testing with, and I wanted to support them.

The test went well. I felt pretty good about the way I did all of the skills -- I even felt like I had probably done a passable crossover. Then we got to the booty blocking. I didn't do too well my first attempt. They sent me out a second time, and I did better. I was hopeful.

At the end, Bones pulled a few of us aside to re-do certain skills (stuff they knew we could do, but we hadn't quite nailed during the test). She asked me to re-do my one-footed jumps. I really got my hopes up at that point, because if that was all I had failed? I was golden. I re-did the jumps. No problem.

And then. They called several of us over to re-do booty blocking. Shit.

I went out to block Adrienne (Natural DisASSter). I tripped her. I may have fallen. I definitely did worse than my second attempt during the test. Dammit. That was it, I thought.

On Sunday, Brick emailed out the results. She sent a general note saying she was doing it, and that she couldn't do it all in one sitting, so we should not freak out if other people got their results and we didn't have ours yet. Fair enough.

The results started trickling in, and girls were posting on Facebook. I didn't have an email from Brick. An hour or so went by after the last girl had posted "I passed!" No email for me. Shit. Brick must be taking a dinner break after sending out the positives, and later I was going to get a "sorry, you didn't pass." I just knew it.

Dinner (nachos) and trying to concentrate on "The Amazing Race." I set my phone to make a sound when I got email, so I wouldn't be constantly looking at it.

About halfway through the show, the phone beeped. I picked it up. Email from Brick. OK, here we go, I thought. At least I knew I had passed the crossover, so there was that ...

I open the email. And the first thing I read is, "On behalf of the entire training committee, congratulations on passing your minimum skills."

I ... passed? Really? I had to read that sentence at least three or four more times. I passed!!!! By a pretty narrow margin, and I have a lot of work to do, but I passed!!!

So ... I'm in the bout pool now! Holy crap!!!

On Monday morning, when I woke up, I had a moment where I thought, "Did that really happen?" And it did! (I often dream about derby and dreaming that I passed min skills has happened before. Of course I wake up and know it was just a dream. I'm not crazy. Well, not that crazy.)

Last night was my first practice as a bout pool member. I'm pretty sure I'm the slowest in the bout pool. But I didn't make an ass of myself, so yay.

Tomorrow night is my first official scrimmage. Yikes! And, yay!!

Hey, to everyone who encouraged me and listened to me whine and cheered me on: thanks.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poor neglected blog

Minimum skills was today. I almost went home after our practice (which was right before), but I'm glad I didn't. I'm embarrassed that I cried about it, but I'm glad I stayed. (I was hella frustrated about booty blocking.)

This was the easiest min skills yet. I think that's a good sign that I'm getting more proficient. I don't think I passed, but I think I got closer than the last time. I asked my evaluator (Brick, head of training) if I passed the crossover, and she said I did. That's *huge*. I failed on that last time.

I'm 99.9% sure I failed on booty blocking. My best time booty blocking was my second time during the assessment itself. They called several of us out to do it again, after the assessment was over (which was kind of them -- they sure didn't have to give us that second chance). I did it the worst out of my three total attempts, at that point. I actually TRIPPED the girl I was blocking. I was mortified. (She was fine, thank goodness.)

So. If my attempt #2 was not good enough to pass, and clearly it wasn't, then I can't have passed.

But if I passed the crossover -- and if Brick says I did, then I probably did -- that's an enormous moral victory. And if (I haven't heard officially yet) I passed everything but booty blocking, that means I just need to learn to booty block and I will pass.

So, really, I feel pretty OK about today.

I had told my lil sis, who was also taking the test today, that I would get tattooed with her if I passed. I had been hoping the universe would call my bluff on that one. (It would have been my first ever tattoo.) Oh well, I guess if I have not passed, I don't have to get tattooed. :-)