Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Derby-versary to me!

  Today is my one year derby-versary and I am celebrating it by going to practice! The last year has been so crazy and my life really has changed completely. There are so many differences between the me of a year ago and the me of now. I’m more confident, more social (still bad with social situations, but insanely improved from a year ago), and definitely more fit (considering I work out about 15ish hours a week between practice and Insanity). This year has been great for me. I want to continue to improve my derby skills and I know all of the other goals I set for myself will be accomplished.

  I thought it would be fun to post my very first “worry list” and address all of my concerns that I had a year ago. I originally posted this on August 3rd, which was three days before the recruitment information session and six days before the first practice.

  I’ve grouped them into some common themes: social anxiety, skill anxiety, and everything else.

Social Anxiety

No one will like me, I won’t like anyone, I’ll be too shy to talk and I won’t ever know if I would like anyone or they would like me, Anxiety will get the best of me and I will skip this Saturday’s recruitment event

  So I obviously didn’t skip the recruitment event, but I was kind of right with some of my other concerns. I had 10 girls in my fresh meat group and every single one of them dropped out by December, so everyone that I started with was gone by the time the new season started. It takes a while for me to break out of my shell and I didn’t start socializing or making good friends within the team until about February/March.

Skill Anxiety

I will break a bone my very first practice, I will never learn how to stop, My crossovers aren’t actually crossovers and instead are some weird mutant leg thing I made up, I won’t be able to stand still without rolling, I will never be able to get low enough, I will only be able to do 15 laps in 5 minutes, Heather and Itzel are lying when they say I’m good at skating, I will never be able to glide on my right foot for more than 5 seconds, I will be bad at everything

  I am not bad at everything. I am still bad at some things (like left-footed t-stops), but everything here has been taken care of. All of these worries weren’t fixed overnight and it took a lot of hard work and determination to get where I am now.  I still have things I want to be better at and I know that if I keep skating and keep working on them I will get it eventually.

Everything Else

My gear won’t arrive in time, My gear will be the wrong size,  Work will keep me from being on time for practice so often that the team will tell me not to bother to come to training at all, The team only has room for a few skaters and I won’t make the cut

Meh, little concerns. My gear did arrive. I adjust my work schedule to fit my derby schedule (because I am a bad employee, maybe?). How wrong I was about the amount of skaters. I wish our fresh meat had that concern. Our current league worry is having enough skaters, not having too many.

  I’ll die from the exercise

Legit concern. The first month was so intense I could barely move. Nine hours of off-skates practice a week really beat me down, but I’m glad I made it through. Sometimes we have super crazy endurance practices where I believe I’m going to die, but I push through it and I’m always happy I completed whatever horrible drill we did.

I will fall flat on my face while everyone is watching

  Ummm, yup. Often.

  I won’t like roller derby


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Intense Bout

Today is the first day back from my vacation at work. During the last (insanely awesome) week and a half I was at a Harry Potter conference, I had an interview posted on the Kate in Skates blog, and our team had one of our most intense bouts yet.

Our team is small because we keep losing skaters to pregnancy, job changes, and injuries. We decided not to borrow any skaters for this bout because the last time we played Lakeland we beat them by 246 points, and we didn’t want that to happen again. So we would be playing short with only 10 players. The day before the bout though, one of our players was admitted to the hospital so instead we went into the bout with 9 skaters.

The problems didn’t end there, though. The team’s venue we were playing at is an airplane hangar and right at turn 2 there is a very slick spot due to a past oil spill of some kind. The whole space is slick, but that particular spot is ridiculous. It was raining, so the air was beyond humid and the concrete was also just sucking up the water in the air, making it even more slippery (the team even said it had never been that bad before). It was hot as balls (as it tends to be in Florida during the summer; we’re so lucky the rain cooled it down). Also, the roof wasn’t that great and there were some drip spots on the track. So yeah, lots of problems.

We started out using our lines. Most of the team would be playing every other jam but 3 of us (me, Bone, and Fingaz) would play two, sit one, and repeat. By the time we reached the end of the first set of lines we had thrown them out. There was no point in having them, so they disappeared.

It was awesome, honestly. I was absolutely exhausted. I would skate three jams, and then I would sit one jam and do it all over again. I was in 4 jams in a row once and Bone was in 5 in a row once. Whenever we were tired we sat down for one jam before going back in. I even jammed once (didn’t get lead jammer or any points because the other jammer called it off when I reached the back of the pack). By the end we were so tired that we got a bit sloppy.

When it ended and we saw that we won 116-86 we were amazed. It was a miracle that we won and we didn’t die. Below is a video of the first few jams of the bout and some pictures by the amazingly awesome Phantom Photographics.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Insanity & a Review

I wrote a post about a week ago but I forgot to post it. You have no idea how often this happens. I write posts at work and forget to email them to myself, and by the time I remember to send them to myself they are no longer relevant and I have more stuff to write about. Anyway, the post was about weight loss, fitness goals, and healthy eating. That is to say, I’m going to be losing at least a little weight, improving my fitness levels, and start eating good food again. No more fried crap at the bar after practice.

Improving my fitness levels and losing weight is going to be a little harder than just skipping out on greasy food at the bar though. Today I officially started the Insanity Workout. Not just me, but BoneSaw is doing it too so we’ll have a lot of support and reminders and all that good stuff. The first day is just a fit test and it kicked my ass. I know for a fact that the fit test is the easiest thing in the workout, so I’m a bit worried about how bad I’m going to be hurting during the next two months. I have the (pretty crummy) results of my fit test here on my new tumblog that is all about fitness, weight loss, derby stuff, and stupid inspirational quotes.

Yesterday I got a tiny workout as well. We didn’t have practice because the rink wasn’t available, so Bone & I decided to try out the Roller Derby Workout DVD. I have to admit that I’m super disappointed with it. I think out of all of the exercises in the video there were only 2 that I had never done before. Everything else in there is typical of a regular derby practice, except we do a lot more of everything at practice. For instance, the dvd only had you do 20 bicycle crunches. At practice we do 50. If the team does Mason Twists (which I can’t do because of my tailbone injury**), I end up doing another 50 bicycles.

I was thinking this dvd was for roller derby players, but it isn’t. If you play roller derby you can already do everything in the dvd without breaking a sweat. This is for people either just getting into derby or outsiders. The thing that really bothered me was that there were no arm exercises at all. Ladies, you had weights in your hands, use them!! There should have been a whole other section just on arm exercises. If I do the dvd again I am going to add in the arm exercises we do at practice.

**Yes, my tailbone is still in pain every single day even though I injured it over 3 months ago.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I was getting worse, until Tuesday

In the last few weeks I’ve had a few crappy practices. You know the ones. You just don’t feel like you’re on your game, you get endlessly frustrated with yourself, and you think that everyone is wondering why you’re even there. Of course, they’re not thinking that, but you imagine they are. I caught a horrendous cold, so I’ve been dealing with that sapping my energy, but I can also say that I was doing a bit crappy pre-cold as well.

Tuesday night shifted my attitude back to the positive (because we know when you’re having bad practices it is not at all about your skills and 100% about your mind). It was a Gainesville practice and was one that I was actually kind of dreading because I’ve been in a funk. Some parts of it were hard and I felt stupid because I’m not as good as them, but I really needed that practice.

The last thirtyish minutes of the practice we scrimmaged and I jammed! I’ve never jammed at Gville’s practice before because a) they have awesome jammers and b) I am not an awesome jammer. A couple of their primary jammers weren’t at practice (LeBrawn was there but she was working with the fresh meat), so it gave a chance for other people to jam.

I put on the jammer panty, my team got down on a knee, and when the jammers were released Atomic Mel-Down (I think it was her) perfectly screened a girl away from the outside line and I got by. I dodged an incoming hit as I was getting out of the pack and by the first turn I was called lead jammer! I came back around to the pack to get some points, and before the other jammer got to the pack again I called it off. It felt really great! For the rest of our scrimmage time I only blocked, but I definitely think I held my own.

I can’t wait for our normal practice today so I can get back to improving working hard. We have a bout this Sunday and I have no idea what’s going to happen. We’re short a few girls, but we’ve been short most times. We’re going to work as hard as we can. Also, I’ve been signing up for scrimmages like a mad woman (I have three scrimmages and one home bout in June) because I figure I’ll get better faster if I’m in more scrimmages (weird logic, I know). Bone signed me up for one yesterday and this makes me extremely happy:

I can no longer call myself a beginner when I sign up for stuff. I’m now calling myself Beginner/Intermediate. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really is to me. I’ve come a long way since my first scrimmage in December.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thinking about changing my picture on the side...

Because from May of 2011 and May 2012 there is a bit of a difference...

So yeah, I might be changing my picture. :D

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our First Win of the Season! OCRD vs LDD

We won! We won! We won!

Okay, now that I’ve celebrated, I am going to admit that I feel a teeny tiny bit guilty about our win. Why?

Ummm, yeah…

So not only did we win, but we won by a lot! Almost 250 points, which is an insane amount. It is the third time the team has won (with two wins during the last season) and the second time the team has won a home bout (the first time was against a team that had only been skating about 6 months and they beat them 212-17).

About two weeks ago a few of us went to see Palm Coast’s bout and they just happened to be playing Lakeland. The ending score was very close (by about 7 points, I believe), so we started thinking that maybe we would get our first win of the season. We’ve been training hard and having really great practices in hopes that we would win. Well…we definitely won.

One reason why we won by such a high amount was that we played the entire game. Even when we had a giant lead we didn’t stop giving it our all. With about 15 minutes left in the second half the other team was absolutely exhausted. Our coach kept telling us to get lower because things were starting to get sloppy and dangerous on the track because they may have been tired. Should we have taken it easy on them? Maybe. We were having such a fun time playing that I didn’t really even notice the score until the game was over.

Unfortunately, I kind of suck and was the only jammer on our team that went to the box and created a power jam for the opposite team. Actually, I did it twice. The first time I was going into the pack way too fast and hit Poni causing her to fall and my leg must’ve caught someone else because I ended up with a major low block. The second time I went to the box was because I cut the track. I am pretty sure I was straddling the line, but I still should’ve just stopped and went back behind the person that was pushing on me, but I was thinking I would be fine. I really need to shake that because cutting the track is something I did a lot at the last bout, too.

We’re just about a month away from our next away bout, so we’ll see what happens. We’re losing one of our players because she announced her pregnancy last night, but we’re gaining two that just came from the fresh meat side (one is a freshie and the other is a returning skater that just went through her mandatory time in fresh meat). My older sister NSO’d last night and now she wants to get some skates and join in. I knew that when she saw derby she’d want to do it, and I was definitely right! I think it helped that there was one insanely badass player that we borrowed for our team that is a pretty big girl.

Scrum starts aaaaaaaaaaaall day

Derp jamming!

At the front of the Lakeland train, woo woo!

Sitting on the jammer

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Practicing with another league

Last weekend a group of us went up to Gainesville to watch and play sloshball (kickball + beer), and left with an invitation to join in on some GRR practices. Last month (or the month before?) we were invited up to one of their practices to join in on a scrimmage before their bout against Tampa and it was pretty cool. After that, two of their players, LeBrawn & Rage, came and coached part of our Saturday practice. Well anyway, at sloshball Rage let us know that the board had talked it over and said they would like to have us practice with them twice a month.

While I’m sort of embarrassed that they were talking about us at their board meeting and decided we suck enough that they want us around twice a month, I’m really excited about it. Because hey, we do suck when compared to their awesome WFTDA apprentice selves, but practicing with them twice a month is going to make us a hell of a lot better. It worked out really well though because every last Tuesday of the month our rink is booked because of a ballroom dancing class and we have a bout this weekend and need all the practice days we can get.

Because of the short notice I wasn’t able to get off early from work, so Bonesaw and I arrived about 45 minutes late when they were just finishing up land drills (kind of glad I missed them, tbh). We geared up and did a weaving forwards and backwards paceline and then this one pushing out line (everyone is on the edge of the track and each person pushes them off the track; I’m glad to say I did better than last time, but I’m still pretty bad at it). Then we sprinted as a line and the girl leading the warm ups yelled for us to tomahawk when the whistle was blown, and when the whistle blew I did a tomahawk and I didn’t fall and nothing bad happened! The fact that I’m doing tomahawks is still a surprise to me.

We did a four wall fanning type drill and then a 3vs2 type of drill where 3 girls were blocking against a jammer and a jammer assist. I was the jammer once and I sucked. I couldn’t get through even though I had one of the most badass players as my assist.

I look up to LeBrawn Maimes so much, she’s beast!

After that we did some scrimmaging! I had no idea that we would get a chance to scrimmage, but I brought my black & white scrimmage shirts just in case (I still need to put my name on the back, my number is there but I’m going to put my name on there when I get a chance). I was put on the white team because I was the only one out of our 5 girls that remembered to bring scrimmage shirts (and all of us were wearing black), and one of the girls from my team wore someone else’s shirt to be on the white team.

It took a while for me to get my head into the scrimmaging mindset, so in the beginning I was just awful. The scrimmage really showed me what I need to work on when I’m blocking (getting out of the jammer’s way, being more dynamic in the pack, not doing a job the other blockers are already doing, slowing down). The problem with our team is that the only time we can actually play like that is during bouts. We have anywhere from 6-11 people at any given practice so when we “scrimmage” we just do jam after jam of the same people and it is exhausting; sometimes the coach likes what we’re doing so we’ll have jams longer than 2 minutes and jammers are never allowed to call it off so our scrimmages are never similar to bouts at all.

GRR had enough people at practice to have two full lines on each team. I want our league to be big enough to do that! Honestly, I’d love for us to have enough people to fill a roster without having to borrow from other leagues. I remember when the season first started and I was worried I would never roster because there were so many skaters. Half the team basically up and left due to scheduling issues, burnout, and injuries. It sucks.

I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity to practice with them so we can work with players above our skill level and actually get some real scrimmaging time in. Also, they’re super forgiving about the fact that we’re not at their level and I love that. I sound really mushy about it all, but that’s because I am. I just want to hug ALL THE DERBY PEOPLE.