Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Last month, I played in a mixed-league bout down at Sis-Q. I signed up for the newbie bout. I figured I could be marginal in the veteran bout, or I could (I hoped) be a rock star in the newbie bout. That is more or less what happened, I'm happy to say.

I was surprised by the skill level of some of the skaters. There was a wide range, from girls who probably would have held their own in the veteran bout, to girls who I don't think would have passed minskis at Sick Town. I was on one team, and my teammate La Madadora was on the other.

I was nervous ... I didn't really know what to expect. The bench coaches sent me in as pivot for the first jam. Pivot? Oh shit. I'm not a pivot! I'm the girl who hugs the inside line and often needs to be told what to do (sometimes more than once). Except ... I was out there with a team below my skill level, and I was the one telling girls what to do. The pack was slow enough (not *slow* -- just slower than I'm used to) that I was able to see what was happening, and the jammers were inexperienced enough that it was easy to anticipate their moves.

Suddenly, I was knocking jammers around. I was hitting girls out on one side, then the other, lather, rinse, repeat. When my team had a power jam, I was the one hitting the opposing blockers out of my jammer's way every lap.

There was a moment when I was sitting on the bench waiting to go in as pivot in the next jam, and our pivot went to the box. Our coach took the pivot panty off my head, and said, "I just want you out there." I was like, me? You want ME out there? Really? It was an amazing thing to hear.

The other team voted me "Most Intimidating." My team lost (by 10 points) but that bout was a huge win for me. (La Madadora did great too! We really represented Sick Town well.)

And now ... this Saturday, Sick Town bouts Oly's b team, the Dropkick Donnas, and ... I am on the roster! Of all the bouts I thought I might get to play in, Oly was certainly not one of them. Our captains are not sure what to expect from the roster they sent us (not too many familiar names), so I and a couple of other non-S*M*A*S*H skaters are on the roster and we'll get to play if it's pretty lopsided in Sick Town's favor. Otherwise, we'll mostly (maybe totally) ride the bench. Ya know what? I'm really OK with that. There has never been a bout where Sick Town was losing or running really close on score where I've said, "Dammit, I should be out there!" I'm realistic about my own skill level. And honestly, I'm just excited to feel like part of the team. I get to skate out, I get to wear my uniform, I get to sit on the bench with my teammates. It's nothing but good.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Want My B-Team Back, B-Team Back, B-Team Back ...

Last night at practice, we did 25-in-5 in pairs, sticking together and do-si-do-ing at the apexes. It was pretty cool. I was paired with Land Tuna, a very fast skater, so as the slower person in the pair, the speed we skated was *my* fastest. We got 27 laps. I felt good about that, especially since I had not skated in two weeks.

Then afterward, while we were talking about how we all did, Pwny (team captain) said, "Just to warn ya, we're going to start requiring 30 in 5 to be on SMASH rosters."

That popping sound was my bubble bursting.

My personal best is 28 laps in 5 minutes. Thirty laps in 5 minutes means 10 seconds per lap. (Twenty-five in 5 is 12 seconds per lap.) When you put it that way, it doesn't seem like such a huge difference, but it's a pretty big difference.

I don't want to be negative. But if that's the standard, I don't know if I will ever be on a SMASH (travel team) roster. And right now, that's the only team we have.

We lost the B-team (the Dis-Orderlies) because we didn't have enough skaters to support two teams. We have a great crop of intermediates and beginners right now. I guess I just have to hope, pray, and work my ass off to keep those girls involved so we can get our numbers up and bring back the B team.

Don't get me wrong: I'll also work on my speed. But 30 in 5? I just don't know.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm not sure if I am posting because I really have something to say, or if I'm posting because I'm embarrassed that it has been so long. Either way, here I am.

I played in a bout on Saturday. It was pretty awesome. I was a guest skater for the Sis-Q Rollerz (from Medford); we played the Coos County Rollergirls (Coos Bay). It was, hands down, the strangest bout I've ever skated in. The venue is very odd -- it's a covered basketball court at a middle school. If you count the skaters, NSOs, referees, and other staff, I'm positive there were more people *in* the bout than watching it. And it's a very good thing Charlie brought his gear, because without him, there would have been two referees (which is not enough for a bout -- three is the bare minimum).

I love the Sis-Q girls. I think they may well be the nicest derby team I've ever met (with mine being a very close second). It was fun playing with them for a change (I've bouted against them twice). I think I'm a better offensive blocker than defensive. Teamwork continues to be very challenging for me. Unfortunately, teamwork is pretty much the most important skill for a blocker. MUST. WORK. ON. TEAMWORK.

Sick Town is taking a sort of break right now, which boils down to: practices are happening, but not quite as many; attendance is not being tracked; and everyone in the bout pool has to re-pass minimum skills when we start back up next month. Sigh. Last time I had to re-pass minskis (which was in January), I got pretty freaked out about it. I'm trying not to do that this time. I know I'm not the best skater. Hell, I know I'm in the bottom 10 percent, for the bout pool. That's why I freaked last time. I'm confident about most of my skills -- at least, confident that they are good enough to pass minskis. Even my crossover, when I really concentrate, is passable. But damn, I need to get to the point where I can skate without even thinking about it. And after nearly three years, I feel like I ought to be there by now.

I learn mental skills really easily. Languages, rules, math ... these things come to me naturally. Physical skills -- especially gross motor skills like dancing, skating, and things of that nature -- come to me slowly and with a ton of effort. If it's possible to be physically retarded, I guess I am. (I am not using the R word in an insulting way. I hope no one takes it that way. I mean it in its most literal sense.)

Well, I'm doing what I can. I'm going to practice (not quite as much as I could, but way more than some people who are much better skaters than I, and so can afford to take time off). I'm skating outdoors. I'm going to the Y (I have discovered cardio kickboxing ... which I love).

I would like to dedicate my next year of derby to getting to the point where the skating is as natural as walking. I'm pretty sure that's the most basic thing that skaters like Bones and Brick have over me. (There's a lot more too. But I think that's at the heart of it.)

I'm going to try to keep up with this blog more, too. Writing all of this stuff down helped. I feel like my mental toilet has been flushed. :-)