Monday, December 12, 2011

My First Scrimmage!

Yes, that's my butt in those shiny silver shorts

It was awesome, but before I start with that, I want to talk about the preparation. I got to the rink around 4:45 and we were just starting to set up. We were told to grab our knee pads, so I got mine and helped as the head ref did the chalk outline. I’d never seen them do the outline, so it was really cool. He had a long chain that had different rings and labels that told you which lines went where. Once the chalk outlines were done, we started laying out the rope and taping it down. It took us quite a while and then one of the refs came over and helped do the rest of the track in 3 seconds flat. He said he got really fast at it because the rink he used to be at wouldn’t let them set up until very late.

Name and number on my green shirt

At that time I had to gear up and I started feeling very nervous. For the first 30 minutes I was on skates I couldn’t remember how to stop (it was more about the rope lines and being scared of tripping over them). Because so many people signed up for the scrimmage we were going to have three 30-minute periods (we ended up having two 30-minute periods and one 15-minute period, but that whole thing comes later), and I was put as B2 in the 1st and 7th lines and then as Pivot in the 3rd line during the 3rd period.

Because I was in the first line I got to do the example jam at the beginning. I always thought it was some kind of planned thing, but apparently not. After the demo we lined back up for real and the whistle blew to start the first jam. And I literally do not remember what happened after that. The jammer probably passed right by me and I may have hit one person, but I have no clue. Before I knew it the whistle was blown four times by all the refs and the jam was over as quickly as it had begun.

A few highlights from my times on the track, since I can’t really recall enough to fully talk about one:

  • One girl fell right in front of me and I tripped over her and fell spectacularly, but I got right back up.
  • There was a bit of a pile up around turn three and I ran over someone’s fingers. It was like driving on a bumpy road.
  • I accidentally hit the jammer with my elbow (though she didn’t fall or anything) and luckily I didn’t get a minor (actually, I didn’t any minors or majors, but then again I didn’t play a whole bunch).
  • I hit the jammer with my elbow at turn two, but at turn 4 I hit her out of bounds!
  • I was really good about looking behind me and I think I spent more time looking behind than looking forward

We did have a few problems though. One woman fell (not during a jam) and snapped her ankle in two places. They called the ambulance and had to reset her ankle last night. That happened with about 3 minutes left at the end of the 2nd period and they were going to call the bout. They decided to go ahead and finish out the period and follow it up with a 15 minute period rather than a 30 minute period like they planned.

The 3rd period was going to be more evenly matched players against each other. Basically it’d be a line of all beginners, and then a line of intermediates, and then a line of advanced. I was the pivot in the beginners group.

With about 5 minutes left on the clock our jammer got hit and broke her clavicle. We all thought she had just hit her bad shoulder again, but at the after party we found out what happened. She was able to get up on her own steam and walk off the track and be driven to the hospital. So yeah, two very bad injuries in one scrimmage, both of them from my team. I am just so bummed and feel horrible for the ladies who were hurt, both of them love derby and it's going to kill them not to be able to play for however long they're out of commission. :(

The final jam was pretty intense. It started out as a power jam for the Santas and after about 2 or 3 grand slams our jammer was released from the box and was able to get some points before the jam was called off. It took several seconds to update the scoreboard and when we saw that it was 190-188, we all flipped! My first scrimmage and I was on the winning team!

At the end of the night I had smudges from other people’s numbers on my arms (and it was awesome). I had to resist the temptation to just leave my numbers on my shoulders because I’m sure my co-workers would not want to see it. Now we're on a break until January 3rd and our first bout of the 2012 season is February 12th. So yes, two more months and I have some goals/ideas for how I want to improve and I'll talk about those in another post.

And here's some pictures, all lumped at the bottom because I'm too lazy to sprinkle them through the whole post like a good blogger.

Hanging with Heather during one of the breaks

My dad kept taking pictures of me and I was very irritated about it

Go Elves!!

Wearing the pivot panty, woo!

I think this girl and I took each other out, but I seriously can't remember what happened

You can barely see me in this picture, but I am directly behind the girl that is on the ground. I ended up falling in a most epic manner (according to the bruise on my hand), but I got right back up and rejoined the pack!

Plow stopping like a boss

Remember when I said I didn't remember how to stop because of nervousness? Well, after my introduction lap I wasn't stopping very well so I grabbed onto the hand of one of the girls on my team. You can see the fear in my eyes and her laughing at me. I hope her clavicle heals quickly!

I want to go back in time and yell at myself to get lower. It looks like I'm just derping around at session or something.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Night of Encouragement

Practice last night was awesome (technically today is Thursday, but I started writing this Wednesday morning, so let’s go with that). I was really expecting it to be super cruddy because I just started my period, but after 5 minutes on skates I completely forgot about it. Because we’re in the off season most practices only end up having handful of girls show up to them, so last night we had 8. We started out by splitting off in to two groups of 4, with a drill of doing 5 sets of 5 timed laps. First we would do our laps and then the other group would do theirs. After the first set of five, I was surprisingly winded and felt like an idiot. The other girls were too, but they had legitimate excuses (one had just come from a workout and another was just getting over laryngitis. We did three, took a water break, did our fourth, and then did one set skating the opposite direction. My times were 54, 52, 50, 54, and 60.

After that we skated 5 laps backwards (some of the girls did 10 laps because many of them are awesome at skating backwards, so they did 10 in the time it took me to do 5, lol), and followed it up by skating forward a bit and then just turning around go backwards and turning around again (to get us comfortable with turning around, I think). Then I got to do something I’d never done before: toe stop runs!

In the drill we would skate backwards for a bit and when our coach blew the whistle we would go onto our toe stops and try to walk six steps (it would progress into running, but for the first few times it was just walking on toe stops). The first time I had no idea what I was doing and I fell, so one of the girls said to pretend like I was walking on high heels. I got it pretty well, I think. I definitely want practice it more because it feels weird and unsteady, but it’s doable.

The next drill we did was going out of bounds and trying to re-enter play quickly. When our coach blew the whistle we had to skate out of bounds, tomahawk stop, and quickly get back in. In the next one we would go out of bounds on a knee and then get back up and in bounds. The last one was tiring, but fun. When the coach blew the whistle we went down on our belly outside of the track and had to get up quickly. I’m still not as speedy as I want to be, but it’s a ton less flailing than it used to be and only one time it took me 3 seconds to get up (it was the last time).

Finally we did some scrimmage practice. We did some 4 on 4 (not enough people to have jammers) practicing different blocking strategies. Then we did some 3 on 3 with 2 jammers. I gave a few good hits and a TON of encouragement, tips, and compliments. Even when it was my turn to wear the jammer panty I was complimented (I didn’t do well, but the fact that I just kept going and going without giving up was good). Sometimes when I do well at jamming, I think that I might be a jammer in a real bout some day. If I work on my speed and endurance a lot, it might just happen (although I should learn to block first, lol). Also, I got a weird new injury: rink rash of the nipple! I was hit when I was jamming (she was out of play and ended up in the penalty box, so yay) and when I fell I slid on the floor and I swear my nipple hurt so damn bad. Apparently it happens to everyone, so I guess I’m proud to be part of the club?

I’m excited for Thursday practice (the last before the scrimmage!!) and I hope I keep improving. :D

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Practice on 11/29 & 12/1

Practice was originally canceled on Tuesday, 11/29 because the rink was unavailable. The reason it was unavailable was because it was being recoated. Luckily, it dried fast enough so they allowed us to practice that night. To be honest, I couldn’t feel much of a difference. My t-stops made sounds (I am notoriously bad at t-stopping, so this was a first) and it was harder to knee slide, but other than that it felt the same to me. More experienced skaters could feel the difference, I think.

Anyway, practice was okay on Tuesday. I did just fine, but not great or horrible. Honestly, I would rather fail spectacularly at something and work to improve it than just do an okay job at practice. When we left I didn’t feel exhausted or exhilarated, which is very unusual. I thought about it on Wednesday and realized that I really hadn’t skated as hard as I could have. We did a drill where we just did crossovers only around and around the track. I know I could have pushed myself to go faster. All in all, I was just disappointed with myself and how I didn’t give it everything I had. I decided that on Thursday I would push myself to exhaustion and if I wasn’t sore after practice then I did something wrong.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t do anything wrong. I was worn out and absolutely exhilarated after practice on Thursday. There were only 7 of us there (included the fresh meat coach and our head ref) and worked hard. I found out shortly after I got there that we would be doing an endurance practice. Rather than jogging for five minutes we put our skates on and did ten sprinting laps around the whole rink. That was followed by some planks, burpees (if you’ve never done burpees on skates, don’t do it, it is scary as hell), and stretching.

Then it all becomes a blur from there. We did all sorts of pace line drills (I still have a lot of trouble figuring out if I should be calling “inside” or “outside” and it makes me ridiculously anxious when we do pace line drills, which happens at almost every practice) including weaving forward, backward, lateral hops, hip bumps, pushing through, hip whips, arm whips, back whips (I’ll get to that in a second), and all of that again and again. Usually when we do pace lines we do an exercise once and move on to the next one. Thursday we did everything at least twice, sometimes three or four times.

This part may have happened before or after the pace line (I’m pretty sure it was after). We got in a line and did laps, our coach for the night said we would be skating hard for 15 minutes solid. First we did two laps at pack speed followed by one sprinting lap. We did it that way about 3 or 4 times before the faster people went to the outside of the track while one girl, our coach for the evening, and I did it on the inside. The girl with us in the middle of the track had to leave (she has sports related asthma and her inhaler wasn’t helping), so I joined in with the people on the outside.

We did another 2 rounds of 2 slow, 1 sprint before changing it to 1 slow, 2 sprint. While the other people were able to keep up with the line, I was about 10 feet behind the whole time. I think it was about 10 minutes into the sprinting drill that we started doing pushing and pulling. First I pushed the whole group around the outside of the track, and after everyone else had gone, I pulled everyone else around the track. It feels like walking through the worst mud when you’re pulling 5 people behind you. One of the hardest parts was staying in derby stance the entire time we did the pushing and pulling.

After we finished up that part we went to get water and our coach that evening said we just skated the equivalent of an entire half hour of a bout (minus the intense hits you’d be getting). I felt insanely proud of myself for not quitting or giving in, or even slowing down. I knew that if I just kept going that it would get over eventually. Think of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

I can’t even remember what happened for the rest of practice. All I know is that when I left I was feeling amazing and unbelievably exhausted.