Skills, skills, skills

Fresh meat started just under a year ago (if I don’t count the first taster session where I didn’t even try a pair of skates on) and out of my cohort there are about 9 of us who’ve continued until now. Two of them (Mercy and Damage) have just become full skills passed and one other pre mins who was in the fresh meat intake before us (Fire) has also passed. There’s another skater (Bigbird) who only has to do her 27/5 and then she’s passed too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy that they’re passed and can play and scrim and that I can cheer them on at bouts (but not when I’m NSOing…) but it’s just…a bit sad? I know I’m nowhere near as good as they are at skating – I can’t step forwards and backwards or glide and even though I’m not too far away from being skills passed it still sucks a little. I know I’ve come a long way since I started fresh meat where I couldn’t even stand up on my skates without holding onto someone else (and in one case, two people had to hold onto me) but I still feel like I haven’t progressed as much as everyone else. Thistle even said that she remembered the first time I came and couldn’t make it to the hall without falling over (I actually did that at Tuesday’s practice, guess who’s gonna be showing fresh meat that we all fall over and it’s okay?) I suppose in terms of how far we’ve come I might be the winner for that since the others could actually move from the start and have just needed to learn the skills to play derby.

We’ve just come back from the off season and it was honestly one of my favourite things (Red, you were totally right). Two months of unstructured training was awesome. I got to take my headphones and skate with music (to the annoyance of my teammates who had to yell very loudly at me to get my attention) but it really helped. I need music in my life and being able to skate to it helped me cut out a lot of distractions and noise and just do things. I got quite a lot of skills ticked off too, including my contact ones and transitions (finally!). I’d been practising transitions for ages by myself in the corner and then gradually moved to trying them on the track. There was one practice where I’d spent every second of a break practising transitions on the track which irritated Bigbird when I said that I wasn’t ready to test as she’d seen me “jumping around like a ninja all morning”. She asked someone to test me and what did I do? I tripped and landed on my face. Real smooth.

Some of the skills I passed were things that I didn’t think I could do but apparently I can (the team skaters are incredibly encouraging in that respect, they’re the ones who’ve said that I can and then they test me and I pass to my surprise but not theirs). Bigbird especially is super encouraging/terrifying because she just yells at me that we’re testing something and then I pass and she yells a bit more before moving onto the next skill. I wouldn’t have passed my contact skills without her yelling at skaters to get in a pack and start hitting me.

I guess I was nervous about being tested. I hate being watched when I’m doing something despite the fact that I and everyone else know that I can do it. I’ve mucked up a few times where we all know I can do something but as soon as someone watches/looks at me I fall over and bam. No passing for me. I did that with my double knee slides too – which are now my favourite thing to do besides transitions (oh the irony) because they’re so fun and I’m actually not terrible at double knee slides. Who knew? I hadn’t tried them before but got Red to show me how to do it and then watch me. Even some of the team skaters hate them but I don’t?

I just need to tick off 6 more things and then I’m scrim passed and can join in with the scrims we have at training. Red marked 6 things that she thinks are easy to do and I can do but I’m pretty sure I can only do 3 of those. Oh well. I’ll have to practise more off skates to get those skills down (damn left ankle with no strength) and see how it goes from there!

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