I’ve done very little skating in the past 3 weeks of the new year. That’s partly down to me getting sick (sad times) and also not being where my team is. However, I did get to go to a new skater night at a different team’s venue (which they own, how cool is that?) and took one of my best friends with me so she could experience roller derby for herself.
The new skater night was awesome. The floor was purple (super exciting for me as it’s in my name) but wow was it slippery. I had just cleaned my wheels earlier in the day but I kept sliding around the apexes and when I tried 27/5 I only got 23 but fell over twice due to the floor sliding out underneath me. (One time I was trying to slow down as I got stuck behind other skaters but ended up falling over, apparently I fell over ‘really well’ according to my friend). It was really cool to see other people at various points in their journey, one even passed her 27/5 which was good. Some of them were total newbies like my friend but were still pretty good and others looked like they’d been going regularly for weeks. I had to explain that I’d been skating for almost 2 years (wow, time flies!) and just have my 27/5 to pass before I’m ready to face the world. Even so, some of the others were probably way better than me (faster too, damn them) but it was a good experience. I might go back in the future.
The last time I did 27/5 with my normal team, I got 26 laps and had a period in the middle where I’d majorly slowed down for some reason (probably fatigue) but I also remember one of the team skaters coming on track to chase me down and I’m not sure if that worked or not but the others seem to think it did. Hopefully I’ll be able to try again on Saturday and I’ll have some new wheels which might stop me sliding everywhere.
We had our fresh meat taster session last Saturday and loads of people came which was really good. The real test is to see how many come on Saturday to the first ‘real’ session and how many stay on after that. It was really fun though and this time I got to demo some game stuff (as I’m scrim passed and apparently looked ‘ready’ to go). It was fun but I’d forgotten what it felt like to get hit right in the collarbone. Yeah, ouch. Gonna have to get used to that again now that the off season is over!
Exactly a week ago we had testing where I (once again) tried to do my 27/5. However I made the mistake of not asking to be the only one on the track at the time and that really screwed me over. Majorly screwed me over. I don’t think I even made 22 laps because I got stuck behind someone else but wasn’t fast enough to get around her so I ended up giving up about half way in and just followed her around the track. It wasn’t one of my best moments and I was really frustrated that I hadn’t thought about asking to be tested on my own because it’s the very last thing I need to pass. I think everyone noticed I had been slacking and said I should test on my own next time…and yet no one else thought about me having the track to myself but I should also think about that next time. Still frustrating. We had a team meeting after but I wasn’t in the mood at that point to go and knew that I would’ve just sat sulking in the corner when it was supposed to be a fun social.
Training on Saturday was fun, although my shoulders/upper arms are quite bruised from all the one-on-one blocking that we did, and a few attempts at seal clubbing. I tried my 27/5 then too but had to stop because my foot was cramping and I didn’t think it was a good idea to go on (it wasn’t numb but as soon as I took my skates off the pain got worse) so hopefully I’ll be able to have another go soon but I’m also wondering if I just need a bit of time off to heal and come back feeling better.
My laps on Saturday (even though I only did a few) were around the 27/5 pace so I need to see how long I can sustain that for and then build it up from there. It didn’t feel much faster than any of my other attempts so I’m still not convinced I was faster but the floor at our Saturday practice is my favourite (at the moment) and has an actual track painted on which might help psychologically? I’m definitely going to try again another Saturday and see what happens!
It feels like it’s been a hectic three months since my last post but it probably hasn’t. I’ve missed quite a few training sessions due to holidays/being ill so I feel like I haven’t improved as much as I wanted but also know that I can’t beat myself up over it.
I’m now 99% skills passed and only have to pass my 27/5 before I’m completely passed and it feels pretty scary, actually. To be so close to actually playing on the team, it felt ages away when I first started and now I’m just one skill away from passing! Although now that just means that (almost) every practice someone will turn to me, stopwatch in hand and say ‘you can do your 27/5 today’ which is sometimes before either of us have kitted up. I know it’s just their way of helping and I’m not yet at the point where I don’t want to do it but I’m so close that I think everyone just wants it over and done with (currently I’m on 24.5-25 laps).
Our fresh meat course finished just after my last post and the new pre mins have slowly started integrating themselves with the rest of the team and attending normal practice. I think it’s been a bit strange for everyone, the team sometimes feels a little disjointed with everything as we have new skaters (or new people to the league in general) and the ones who’ve been around for years, maybe even since the league started and some are quite resistant to change. Or were, I’m not sure anymore but hopefully we can get our team back to where it used to be but nothing stays the same forever.
Helping the new fresh meat is really interesting to me as I was in a similar situation to them not long ago and I get what everyone means by it’s easy to see someone else’s progress but not your own. I honestly hope that I help the fresh meat as much as I think I do because I do really want them to succeed and play with me (someday! when we’re all passed) but I also wonder if they have more fear/insecurity/doubt than I did as for a lot of things I just threw myself into them, even though I knew I was terrible and probably couldn’t do it but I tried (and failed a lot).
Our newest fresh meat intake has just started (this morning!) and the taster session last week was really good – almost everyone who turned up was already pretty good at skating (or maybe they’re average? I don’t know but they were way better than I was when I started) and they were doing t-stops already! They were just as good today so Fire said she’s going to have to rethink her plan as they covered a lot of stuff today. One of the fresh meat recognised me from the roller disco! She said she’d seen me around with my knee pads and everything but I wasn’t wearing my team shirt today so I think she thought I was just another person from the roller disco who just turned up to learn more about roller derby.
Team practice was also good today (I have 2 new bruises but not sure from who) and despite there not being a huge amount of us it was a lot of fun and I think we all enjoyed it a lot. We did a lot of one on one blocking and timed to see how long we can hold someone right now with the aim of doubling that time by the end of the month. Then we did some track awareness drills, which I think are fine for me as I don’t find it that hard to see what’s going on but that might be because I’m not so good at the derby so I pay more attention to everyone else than to myself. I’ll have to work on that more but also still keep up with my track awareness.
Today was my first scrim with the team and it was freaking awesome!
I asked if I could scrim as the team has a ‘scrim-passed’ mark where you can technically take part in scrims (which are basically informal/friendly scrims) but you could still be told not to if the captain doesn’t think you’ll be safe.
I only skated in about 4 or 5 jams but it was still great to actually get to play with the team and try to put everything I’d learnt at practice into action. The team were all really nice to me too and yelling directions at me (so appreciated, I felt so lost a lot of the time) and Crusher was our LUM so she put me in jams even though I felt a little unsure. I was pretty nervous this morning even though I’d been looking forward to it all week but the reality of what was going to happen finally settled as I was driving there.
Our usual hall was closed (and actually locked) so we had to scramble and got to work finding a new place to skate and fortunately found one so our opponents hadn’t travelled for nothing. We all rushed there and had to get some other teammates to pick up stuff to lay a track and managed to start at almost the same time we would’ve started if we were at our original hall. The only problem was that it was way too warm. It was like an inflated dome thing so the inside was very warm and stuffy and we couldn’t open a door (we were thinking it might change the pressure of inside and then the dome would collapse…) but we all persevered and had lots of water to hand (although our haribo melted in the heat…)
We won! (Forgot to say that) although I’m not sure if the other team were just a little bit worse than us? Or if we brought our A game and kicked some serious ass. We started off with a lead and didn’t lose it throughout the scrim so we had a bit more time to try new things or to see what worked and what didn’t, it was a bit like training but way faster as I had a hard time following people and keeping track of the pack. I got a few big hits too, one involved me landing on the floor right next to a ref XD and two shiny bruises on my shins (considering wearing shin pads in the future…)
Somehow, I also got the MVP award today. I’m not sure if it’s out of pity or if they genuinely thought I deserved it? I was super surprised when they called out my name. I was crossing my arms and looking very unimpressed (we were about to have a picnic and I was hungry) until they called my name and everyone laughed (at my expression, hopefully not because they thought it was a joke) Everyone was super sweet about it too, one blocker from the other team said I was really good (pretty sure I only saw her for one jam but apparently I’d made some kind of impact?) The others said I did well and it’s definitely helped my confidence because now I’m running off a high from that and just wanna skate again!
Earlier this week it was my birthday but I’m still not completely mins passed like I’d hoped to be but I finally passed my left foot glides! I’d been trying to get them right for months. Fire saw me do them a few weeks ago and was like ‘yeah, they need work’ and I couldn’t turn corners (I literally would just keep going until I hit a wall) but somehow on Tuesday the glides just happened. I think I was just as surprised as the others but I was super happy about it. I only have 4 things to tick off now and I’ll be fully passed. I can’t wait!
I did it! Yesterday I finally got scrim passed!
So I can’t celebrate too much as I’m still not minimum skills passed but I’m almost there. To be scrim passed with my league you have to have passed section 5 on the WFTDA minimum skills, passed the rules test and have 80% passed overall.
Last night I just hit the 80% mark which meant that today I actually got to scrim with everyone else. Although the scrim felt pretty similar to other scrims I’d done, there was definitely less hitting than usual but still as confusing as I remember. I didn’t find it as scary as some of the drills that we do where someone barrels straight into you because technically I could do scrim drills before I was scrim passed but I couldn’t scrim. It was always confusing because drills can be scarier than scrimming (in my opinion anyway). The others were grinning like crazy though at the prospect of hitting me with their full force (and a few hits did knock me over spectacularly) but I sort of got the feeling that they were being a little easier on me than usual (which was fine because I’m recovering from a cold so wasn’t ready for full-on scrimming).
I had two skills that needed passing before I was scrim passed, and I chose backwards skating and giving inside whips. I’d tried the inside whip one before but failed because my arm basically collapsed and caused me to lose my balance. This time I got the team skaters to break it down (really break it down) and get them to show me how it’s done (although inside whips aren’t used as often as outside ones we all agreed). Then I added some speed and got passed! Backwards skating was something I had been meaning to pass for awhile as I’ve probably had my laps under 20 seconds for at least a month, maybe more but the last time we did testing I was so tired that I couldn’t do them which was really frustrating. The second time I tried to test them they didn’t count as I needed 2 testers but only had 1 even though everyone knew at that point that I could do it (like my freaking transitions which I did fine for 2 hours of free skating until someone looked at me and then I fell over. Didn’t pass those for another week)
I’m still a pre-mins which means I can’t play in games and stuff like that but that’s fine (for now) as I can at least scrim and practise some jamming/blocking/anything in a sort of game environment. The only other one who is left is Crusher but she has around half of her skills to do and she’s super close to finishing section 5 so hopefully she’ll be passed soon.
Now to finish the last few skills!