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!
Yesterday the 2nd hour of training was dedicated to a physiotherapist who came to give us some tips on injury prevention and how to use a foam roller to help with that. I’d never used a foam roller before and neither had most of the others so we were a little apprehensive about it. Some of them had heard that it hurts too so were a little wary of the pain that would follow. I didn’t feel much pain when we were doing it but I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing? I felt a little pain in one leg for one of the exercises but I think that’s down to derby and always skating in one direction so one side of my body gets a bit more messed up than the other. It was an interesting experience though and I sort of felt a little bit more of the team spirit that everyone’s been talking about. It definitely helped my mood as I’d been a bit grumpy going into training and wondering why I was even there but I left feeling happier than I usually do on a Wednesday.
Last Sunday I went to a roller disco near my house (literally a 10 minute walk away) and saw someone skating with a helmet. Normally people don’t use helmets (myself included) because roller discos are generally pretty tame and nobody goes very fast/small children are unlikely to have an impact if they hit you. I noticed she was wearing proper knee pads (like mine) and all the other protective kit that I had, plus she had nice, white Bonts and I knew that she was a roller derby player. Turns out she’d just started fresh meat with Cambridge and was about 6 weeks in and already trying to do crossovers. I told her she was way better than I was at her stage because I’m pretty sure at 6 weeks in I could still only just about skate without thinking that I wouldn’t be able to stop or that I’d fall before I’d even gone a few metres. She was really lovely and I hope we both pass skills soon so one day we could play together.
I tried to practise the hopping over an object 6 inches high at the disco and promptly fell over, causing a lot of kids to laugh at me as they went past. Deciding that jumping should be saved for another day, I kept working on my one foot glides. I can do the straights just fine but turning seems to be a problem, which seems to confuse everyone as we turn when we do crossovers so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to turn when gliding…
I actually joined in the games at the disco too. Normally I sit at the side because there are too many kids or because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to play. I was so close to finishing the countdown game which boosted my ego a little as I used to think that I would never be able to do that. They play the countdown music (30 seconds) and you have to skate across the hall. First time you go across once, second time you go twice and so on until the fifth time where you have to go across five times within the 30 seconds. I was really close to making it before the music ran out so next time my aim is to actually make it. I was surprised that I managed to get so close though, but I need to work on derby stops a bit more to get cleaner stops before I start again. The second game is for the ‘advanced’ skaters where the main guy skates around and you can’t overtake him and you can’t let him overtake you. Every now and then he skates backwards too which makes it harder as it’s non derby direction! Some of the kids who play that game definitely shouldn’t be playing and they’re usually a nuisance and get in the way so I end up going out earlier than I reckon I should. Hopefully next time the kids won’t play and I can practise my pacing for 27 in 5.
I’m going to be missing the next few Saturday trainings due to visiting family/people/places which sucks because fresh meat is just starting and I really wanted to help out/practise things but also get to know our newbies and reassure them that they are doing amazingly and way better than me 🙂
I should have started this blog when I started the Fresh Meat program but it’s too late to dwell on that now. I’ll review each ‘block’ (four weeks) in a post and then attempt to do (regular) updates of my Pre Mins life.
There was an initial taster session a few weeks before Fresh Meat started but there weren’t enough skates so I didn’t get a chance to try it out and I’m probably fortunate that I didn’t since two people collided and broke their legs! So I turned up to the first Fresh Meat session ready to get on the skates and go and I was awful. I missed most of the first session since I couldn’t even stand up on my own and one of the team skaters was with me the whole time, trying to get me used to being on skates. At one point I had two team skaters with me making sure I didn’t fall over (but I did and wow did it hurt). My accomplishment that week was going across the gym we practise in without falling over.
I felt like I was terrible (and I was) but I’d already signed up for the rest of the sessions so I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to make it to the end of Fresh Meat if it killed me (which it fortunately didn’t).
The second session was slightly better, I joined in with the main session this time and managed to do a few laps and sort of get the hang of actually moving (albeit not quickly). We also started practising falls (one knee and two knees then knees, elbows) which I was fairly decent at (falling is one of my talents…). We did our first pace line drill too which I was nervous about, mostly because I wasn’t skating very fast and thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up but everyone was really nice and slowed down for me. Weaving in and out of the pace line was difficult too despite there being quite a bit of room for me to move, I’m putting it down to still being quite unbalanced at that point.
The third session introduced glides. My right foot was ten times better than my left foot, I could almost make it around 1/4 of the track on my right foot but barely a few feet on my left but I was told that it’s normal to have a dominant leg and that I just have to work on strengthening my left leg. We did more pace line drills and the weight shifting we’d been taught earlier in the session really helped with leaning around people when they were quite close together and there wasn’t enough room to actually skate around them.
The fourth session was the final one in the first block of Fresh Meat and introduced crossovers. Crossovers are my current skating nemesis. At the time we were just practising the movement whilst standing still but I couldn’t even do that without rolling forward/to the side. Some of the others picked it up really quickly and it made me feel kinda terrible. I know it’s not their fault that they know what they’re doing but I was annoyed that I couldn’t do it. Even by watching the team skaters I still couldn’t quite get the hang of what the hell I was supposed to do (I still can’t do crossovers but hopefully that’ll change).
My first block was fun though, despite being so terrible at everything. There were 15 of us in my group of Fresh Meat (which was a lot since the one before only had 6 which is now down to 2) so I think we developed a good community between us? One thing that made me feel less terrible about everything was the people that I skated with. The team skaters stop and break something down if you’re not getting it and all the freshies motivate each other to do better and keep going and it feels really good to be part of a team. I’d just moved to the town about 4 months before I started Fresh Meat so I didn’t know many people but roller derby introduced me to loads of new people who are all so different but no less amazing. I would have never met them without roller derby, and even if I didn’t make it through Fresh Meat, I would have still enjoyed it because of the people I met.