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!
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.
We had a fresh meat taster day today which was 2 hours of helping the potential fresh meat skate around and get used to being on skates/seeing if they liked it.
Someone from work turned up and totally surprised me as she knows one of the others and it was really strange to see her. The league actually has 2 of us (currently) that work where I do (including me) but there are 2 more who are coming to fresh meat (who just happen to work in my department…) so to everyone else it felt like we were taking over. Although there are almost the same number of people from a different work place so it’s not like we’re taking over (not yet anyway).
It was nice to see the newbies on skates and made me think a lot about how I was when I started (terrible) and we kept telling them that it’s okay if they can’t do something yet as we all had those times. I especially told people it’s okay as according to Bigbird I’m the league’s “success story” so if I can skate backwards now then they can do it too. It’ll just take them time but most (if not all) of them were much better than I was at my first session so they’ll be fine. The first fresh meat session isn’t for another 2 weeks as we have a scrim next week with a different team (but I won’t be taking part in that…).
I’m still not sure how I feel about roller derby at the moment, or rather, the league. I love skating with everyone, well, most of the time I do…I just…I’m just still so frustrated about being 2 frickin’ boxes away from being scrim passed. I’m seriously considering not going to training on Wednesday cause I don’t want to sit around for half an hour but I know that I should go because the 1.5 hours before hand should be good for me…but I’m not convinced right now. Although last week’s training session wasn’t too bad and we did a drill where everyone got to jam for 2 minutes but it was continuous so we had to do the drill for 10 minutes. We were all very tired afterwards.
There’s a league meeting on Tuesday too and I’ll see how that goes, I’m not super keen to go because of one I went to last year that didn’t feel productive/useful in the slightest but this one might and one of the topics is pretty relevant to me so I should be there (even if I’m missing bowling with my friends and his new girlfriend :/) It’s possibly the first time derby’s clashed with something in my non-derby life as I’m usually able to move plans to another day and never really thought much about stuff clashing and causing problems…and I’m not even on the team/it’s not even a real match that it’s clashing with but I already feel annoyed about it.
I’m definitely going to the roller disco tomorrow to work on backwards laps (even though I can pass those, I just need to actually drag 2 team skaters to bloody time me) and knee taps, as well as jumping/hopping and glides. I’ll also try to go to a drop in on Thursday if I leave work on time and if there’s no off skates warmup on Wednesday I’ll get stuff tested if I can.