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.

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