Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rock vs Rap

The Rock vs Rap scrimmage was Sunday and it was amazing! I’ve been in two scrimmages before and both times I heard people say that scrimmages are so much more fun than regular bouts, but having no real bout experience I had nothing to compare it to. Now that I’ve been in a couple of bouts, I could not agree more. There were four other girls from my team that were participating and none of us were in any lines together (well, one was on the Rap team, the rest of us were Rock), so it was really awesome that I got to watch my teammates in action.

The score was insanely close almost the entire time and it ended up being 160-159, with Team Rap winning (although at the after party one of the refs said that our jammer got a point at the very end and it should’ve gone into overtime, but it doesn’t really matter). It was fun and exciting, and still so weird to play with and against people that I idolize. A year ago I could not have even imagined that I would actually be playing derby, let alone be told that I’m doing a great job.

After a bout or scrimmage I always think to myself, “I wish I would’ve done ___ better,” or “I’m so mad that I ____.” This time wasn’t like that. I played my hardest and to the best of my abilities and I have absolutely no regrets.

I’m all pumped up about this bout, but of course today I’m realizing that I have a LOT of other things I need to do this week before our home bout next weekend. I still need to make cards for the refs, make more buttons, make the flyers for the April 29 bout, and the programs. On Friday I started a cool project: The Florida Derby Calendar. Here’s the post about it on tumblr on the Fuck Yeah Florida Derby tumblog that I help mod.

Also, tonight we are visiting another (really really amazing, WFTDA apprentice) league for practice and I’m terrified. I feel like I’m going to look like an idiot skating with all of these amazing players. Eeeeeeek!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Bit Different

Last night’s practice was a bit different than normal, and that was a good thing. There needs to be a bit of backstory first though.

When the team first started there was a group of guys that were coaching. Due to several conflicts (I’ve heard so many different snippets from everyone but in all honestly don’t know very much about it), the male coaches were asked to leave. The fresh meat coach was not part of the problem so he stayed, but the other guys did not stick around. I know that they discussed if one or two guys would be willing to stick around, but it was an all or nothing situation with them. I vaguely talked about it several months ago back when I was fresh meat.

Well anyway, we needed an occasional practice coach (when normal coaches couldn’t be there) and one of the guys offered to coach us on those nights. He’s an amazing skater and derby player with the Magic City Misfits and brought some really great drills to practice.

A Magic City Misfits highlight reel

We started out by making two 4x4 squares on the floor with some tape. It was kinda funny because we had no idea why we were making the squares (and to be honest, they were some wonky squares because I am bad at shapes). Once we did, J told us what we would be doing. It was like sumo wrestling in that two girls would be in the square and could only use legal hits and pushes to get the other girl to either fall down or go out of the square. Once she lost on that square, she’d move on to the next square. So basically there would be two “matches” going on at any one time. It was so much fun and I hope we do it again in the future!

After that we did a last man standing type of thing, but rather than the typical spread out way, it was closer with a ref at each end about 15 feet away from the pack. There were two hitters that would go around and try to hit you out or down, and if you went behind or in front of the ref you were out as well. The first two rounds were fun and then the third kind sucked a little because I was one of the hitters and I just failed so bad. Ugh.

The next thing we did was a Push & Pull Pyramid. With a partner you start out pushing them for one lap then they push you for one lap. You go to two then they go to two, and so on until you’ve done five laps. After five you start pulling them rather than pushing and work your way down until you each end with one lap. The one thing I didn’t like about this drill was that it was not fair for me or my partner. We needed to find a partner that was similar in size so it would be fair, but everyone else had already paired up and I ended up with a much skinnier girl. She’s one of our fresh meat that was a great skater already, so I got to push and pull a very light girl and she had to push and pull heavy me, but it wasn’t too bad because she’s already a strong skater (although in the pulling drill I cheated a little and sticky skated so she wouldn’t have to work as hard).

The next drill we did (yes, we did a lot of new drills; fun new drills are always awesome) was a competition between two girls. The two girls would start out about 15 feet behind the rest of the skaters who were in a pack. When the ref blew the whistle the entire pack would go on a knee and just stay there. It was up to the two girls to race through the downed skaters without touching anyone and do a lap around the track. Whoever made it to the back of the pack first was the winner. I lost my first one (because I was literally stuck right behind the other girl going around the track so I didn’t lose by much), and I won my second one.

We did several other things including building and holding walls, scrimmaging, and some very in depth scrimmage strategy but I think I’ve gone on a bit long already. I left practice feeling really pissed off at a few people and it sort of spoiled my good practice happiness, but typing this up has made me feel a lot better about how fun of a time I had!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My First Away Bout!

I meant to post this several days ago but I have been super crazy busy

This past Saturday was our first away bout! It was at Barber Park (the outdoor rink where Heather and I sometimes go to skate) and the weather was awesome. We were all worried that the weather would be suffocatingly hot or it would rain, but it was just slightly warm and breezy.

We lost 198 to 98. The thing is: no one was really upset about it (unless I completely missed it). We were skating short as we only had 10 people and one was a borrowed person. Our normal team has 2 regular jammers but Poni was unable to come, so we only had one normal jammer, Brawl. A lot of us have been training as jammers, so there were 4 other girls that jammed every other line to give Brawl a rest (I was one of them).

We started out pretty strong, keeping the other team under 10 points for quite a while, but then they got the lead and ran with it. Everyone felt that we played better than we did at the last bout, though! We were against a better team with only one of our regular jammers; we really did well!

For my own performance? Meh. I did horribly as a jammer. I never got lead jammer, but I did manage to make it out of the pack every time. Unfortunately, every time that I made it to the pack to get some points, the other jammer called it off. I was a pretty okay blocker in the first half, though. I made some pretty good hits, but I also fell way too much.

I got hurt, too! Not seriously at all, but enough to show off for funsies. One of the times I was knocked down and got my hands completely dorked up and the other time was a hit to the mouth with a helmet which resulted in a busted lip. I’m actually kinda disappointed and slightly pissed off that the girl that hit me with her helmet didn’t get a penalty (if the refs don’t see it they can’t call it, but yeah, ow). When my fingers got ran over I saw they were bleeding a lot, so two of the girls helped me put bandaids on. It was a pretty amazing moment because the jam could have ended at any time and we’d be back on the track (every person played every other jam). And even though I was a bit rattled and bleeding I got right back on the track for the next jam. It was the same with my lips. It was bleeding quite a lot and the only thing I could taste was blood, but I still had to go out there and I’m glad I did.

I had my first trip to the box, too! I had 4 minor penalties, so I had to spend a minute in the box. I was one of the few people that spent time in the box. At our last bout we constantly had people in the box and it was tough for our bench coach. This time was so much better.

The feedback I got after the bout was awesome, too! Several skaters from the Orlando league complimented me and it made me feel great! It meant a lot because they are the first roller derby players I saw and cheered on before I ever knew that I was going to do derby myself. I’m excited to get back to practice and start putting in the work and the time to become a better player.

Because we didn't have the rink Tuesday we watched the bout footage instead of normal practice. It was interesting, but still sort of hard to watch in parts. I am still a really awkward person. Speaking of awkward, here are some bout photos!!

Photo by Phantom Photographics

Photo by Phantom Photographics

Photo by Phantom Photographics

Photo by Phantom Photographics

Photo by Phantom Photographics

Photo by Notalie Unsencered