Scrim passed!!!

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!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

78%

I’m currently at 78% passed and I’m still frustrated at how close to being scrim passed I am but so far. I’m two ‘boxes’ away from being scrim passed (1 maybe if I actually did pass my backwards laps? I’m sure I did but not sure if I had 2 testers so it won’t count and I’ll have to do it again…) I really wanted to be scrim passed by yesterday as the past week has been more testing focused and I wanted to be able to join in with scrimming next Wednesday. I highly doubt they’ll let me test the last 2 boxes to become scrim passed as yesterday they said I was 3 off but the trainer was like nope, you’re sitting out of this scrim :/

I have off-handedly mentioned this to a few others at how frustrated I’m getting and bless them, they’ve all been so nice to me even though I’ve been such a whiner the past week. They’re the ones who said that I can pass certain things (laps in 13 seconds…) and have been yelling at me to keep going so that I actually do pass it but it’s still annoying. It’s as if the main team skaters don’t care (I know they do, the team is very, very small right now and they’re all really nice people) but it seems like they’re focused on team skaters, which they should be but the next British Champs game isn’t until April so maybe you wanna get some more skaters passed? Just a thought so we don’t only have 9 skaters for our next game…unless they want to lose? (Not saying that they will but if you only have 9 skaters and your opponents have 14…guess who’s gonna be tired at the end of the match?)

I might try going to a drop in skater session in the next few weeks just to see if they can help me with some stuff and the more time I spend skating the better.

I don’t know if I want to move leagues or if I’m being unreasonable and incredibly childish about everything…but I’m not as happy about roller derby as I used to be. I still want to go to practice every week, when I’m at work on training days I’m usually itching to leave and put my skates on and go but…I don’t know if I enjoy it as much as I used to. Is that something that comes with getting better but hitting a plateau? Up until now I’ve been improving on most things, if not everything but now that I’m stalling a little…it sucks. It sucks so much. We have a care committee as part of the league who you can talk to about things and I know she is super nice (she’s off skates at the moment but she’s one of the best jammers we have) and when she’s been at practice she’s usually the one who throws me in the deep end (‘you can totally do scrim drills but not scrimming’ is her favourite phrase to say to me). Maybe I just need to throw myself into it a bit more and work harder off skates to get stuff done, and get things tested in the 15 minutes every Wednesday before training starts (due to people being late), go to more roller discos and free skates, do a bootcamp or two…

I don’t want to give up, that’s not going to happen as I want to be skills passed by my birthday this year but…do I want to stay with my league? Do I want to go somewhere else? Will I just move from here completely and start again? One of my housemates is moving back to Belfast because he’s quite far from home and I think he has some family things going on too and it’s made me think a lot about me moving back to my hometown too…even if it means leaving my (fairly) good job and my league…

To top it off, I was going to go to a roller disco today but it’s been cancelled and I’m too sore to go to the gym so I’ve literally done nothing today when I wanted to do some more off skates things to get my double knee taps down 😦

Stalling

Tonight was the last practice before the team’s game on Saturday and most of the skaters who will be skating were there so practice was heavily focused on strategy for Saturday etc. Crusher and I did some stuff at the side on our own for a bit whilst they were doing a drill and then we joined them again for a different drill but it felt like I was just stalling or coasting through this session.

We did a HIIT cool down but that felt like the part where I’d worked the most, despite jamming during one of the scrim drills I didn’t feel as engaged as I have been. I know it’s not the trainer’s fault, or the team’s but if they do this before every game then the new pre mins aren’t going to like it and I wouldn’t blame them. Maybe when there are more it’ll be different because they can do their own thing in a small group but Crusher said she can’t wait for fresh meat to start so that we’ll have that 1 hour a week to really hone in our basics (grapevine for me…crossovers for her…). Hopefully I’ll be scrim passed soon so that I can join in with scrims (although it seems a little scary!) and keep developing as a player.

Next week’s training should be better but we shall see!

“Normal” practice, week 2

Training was cancelled yesterday due to the hall being used for something else so I could only make today’s training session this week.

My team has a British Champs game on the 11th Feb, so a lot of time was spent on walls + reforming and starts/strategies with the skaters who are rostered going in one group so they could practise playing/blocking together before the game.

For some reason, I’m a little…sad? Bitter? Annoyed? Frustrated? about practice today. We tried a drill where the wall had 10 seconds to do offence/defence and then we’d reset and start again. It got a little messy as everyone was moving quickly and I fell over a few times – the skater taking the session also sort of injured herself and everyone freaked out a little since she’s playing in the game and is one of the better blockers that we have. We then took some time out to calm down and reset but I don’t know if that worked well or not because when they moved to scrims it was better and less crazy but still a little crazy? Maybe less due to having more than 10 seconds and scrimming like usual.

I think the main reason I’m a little annoyed is that I couldn’t join in with the scrims. I’m not scrim passed (but am close) so I ended up being a jammer ref and also jam timer (which I had just about enough hands for omg). My other fellow pre mins (Crusher) watched from the middle and I think talked rules/strategy with the skaters who were sitting out? I for some reason was a little keen with my willingness to do everything and whilst I did enjoy being the jam ref, I also kinda wanted to watch so I could compare it to the all the games I’ve been watching on Youtube (thank you WFTDA for putting them all there).

Throughout the entire session it felt a little like Crusher and I were sort of being ignored so that the team skaters could practise. Which is fine. They have a game and I get that it’s important and I probably should’ve asked if I could go into the corner and do some skills on my own but I didn’t. I guess I got too used to being split into pre mins and team skaters but now that there are only 2 of us it’s not quite as important (I know it probably is but it didn’t feel that way today). It almost makes me wonder if I should go to training next Wednesday when I know that they’ll probably do the same thing again. I could be doing something else, or I could leave early when they scrim (although that’s not really in the spirit of things) but I don’t know if the team skaters always realise what they’re doing.

There was one drill with 3 jammers and we rotated for 2 minutes each but had the same blockers (who had to do 6 minutes) so Crusher, Fire and me all said we’d jam. I don’t know if it was just me but it felt like they weren’t really watching us/paying attention that much. To be fair, the 4 blockers in the wall did say I did well afterwards and gave me some tips but I don’t know if anyone else saw me (or maybe it was because I jammed last and everyone was bored, who knows?) but it’s not inspiring or encouraging at all. I guess I felt like the trainer should’ve said something (even if she was timing too but I was jam timer and a sort of jam ref so…) but any feedback would’ve been great – even ‘you’re bad at x, y and z and need to do a, b and c’ would’ve been better than a blank face.

The league isn’t very big right now and in my opinion they need all the skaters they can pass/find. Sure, train for the game but don’t forget that if skaters like me get annoyed/fed up (I realise I’m whining because I do really enjoy going to practice with my team and they’re all lovely) and if it goes too far…I could always find another league, whether they have the same problem or not, who knows? I just know that we don’t have a great retention rate of skaters at the moment but that might change as older skaters leave and newer ones come in to change the rules and shake up the league a little bit.

We (hopefully) will have a fresh meat intake starting soon and I think that’ll help me a little because I can really practise the basics (grapevines, anyone?) and get them ticked off so I can be scrim passed and join in with full contact scrims. When they finish fresh meat it’ll mean more pre mins too so training will have to alter accordingly – at one point last year we had more pre mins turning up to training than team skaters if that says anything about the league. I think they know that they sometimes forget about that kind of thing, but if they never get new skaters and retain them…then the league will go down.

Hopefully next week I won’t feel so whiny but I guess that depends on me and what happens at training :/

 

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!