Returned for more punishment tonight, though, believe it or not it wasn’t that bad. The Betties have their own, non-nugget, practice time on Thursday evening and I came by to skate around the outside edges and get some extra practice in. About five other rookie girls showed up. It’s funny how when you go through something grueling together it creates a special camaraderie. I totally admire these women out there daring to do what I’m daring to do. Who knows what’s propelling us each forward in this sadistic goal?
And I can’t say enough how amazing and encouraging the Betties coaches have been. I think I love them. Each and every one.
I skated faster tonight than I have since I was 17. I dream about skating every night. Sometimes I’m falling and getting hurt, other times I’m flying around the track. I feel sick about going to Saturday’s practice, but also sickly excited. I just hope my ass can take it.
Last night was the first night of Bettie Boot Camp, my local roller derby’s eight-week hell session. Holy Mother of Fuck. I am so sore today that I cannot sit down or stand up with out swearing that mantra. Just know this, it washes over me and gives me a much needed momentary sense of peace.
Also, know this. I was probably the worst “nugget” there. (Nugget is the affectionate term we’re given during this hell session.) I have barely gotten to the point over the past two weeks where I could skate on my own. Last night, skating on my own was the easy part.
Shortly after warming up we formed two large circles (there were about 50 nuggets there) and proceeded to practice falling on our ass – 40 times. Fall. Stand. Fall. Stand. The standing part is supposed to happen without putting your hands on the ground. Yeah, right.
After this, I was pretty much toast. Everyone went on to practice lunge steps (knee to ground) across the track, then one-knee falls, two knee falls, baseball slides, figure 4 butt falls, rock star slides (picture David Lee Roth sliding on two knees across the stage, arms extended to the heavens with skates on). When I ran out of gas, I did my own versions of the above, which was mostly skating forward in a low, crouched position.
The Betties were all there in full force and were *amazing* coaches. They were definitely tough, but so kind and so encouraging. I love them already for teaching me how to get strong. Posted on the Brawlin’ Betties Facebook page today:
“Full of awe at the sight of so many amazing women pushing themselves to be stronger! It means so much to be a Bettie!!”
About half way through, feeling like I was going to throw up, I contemplated leaving the rink. Oddly enough, I kept looking up at the spectators and even though my son was not there, I swear I kept seeing his little face in the crowd. This gave me the inspiration to keep going.
I did end up leaving the rink 15 minutes early because I honestly didn’t feel like my legs could hold me up any longer. The rest of the group finished up with a punishing core workout: abdominal crunches, bicycles, side lifts, sustained push-up position lifts, etc. Two hours in total. All with skates on.
Today, besides the pain, my main battle has been with my psyche. Even though I know last night was an enormous accomplishment for me personally, it is verrrrrry hard to not feel like shit about myself because everyone else did so much better than I did.
But everyone else there hasn’t been fighting for their life for the past several years. Like me, they have not just lost 175 lbs. and are not returning to health from a life that used to be riddled with heart problems, pulmonary problems and Diabetes. Because of this, I tell myself to be proud.
So I’ve been skating for about two weeks now prepping for boot camp – trying to get my balance and coordination back (jury’s still out on that). Do you remember what toddlers look like when learning how to walk – you know how they do that Frankenstein thing (arms outstretched, tottering from foot to foot)? Well, pretty much that’s me on skates these past couple of weeks.
However, I *have* managed not to fall and eat dirt (or concrete) which is pretty amazing given the above description.
So today, I’m picking my 6th grade son up early from school and we’re walking out in a hurry. And of course, I come full speed into contact with a fricken’ crack in the sidewalk. Yep. I not only got a running start, actually got airborne for a second, slid for about three feet once hitting the ground and did indeed do a full face plant into concrete.
This of course couldn’t be done in any fashion of privacy. Nope. It had to be done in front of a entire class of, oh say, about 40 jr. high students all lining up for PE class. The (male) teacher comes running over asking if I’m okay (dress around my waist, spit coming out the corner of my mouth). I jump up determined to NOT be the center of attention in my moment of grace, make some joke about paying more attention to his lecture than to what I was doing, smiled my most charismatic (spit-dripping) smile and walked away without limping and with as much pride as I could muster.
My adorable son, who I’m sure was horrified in his own right (how embarrassing to have your mom biff it like that in front of a bunch of peers), jumps in with a comment, loud enough for the whole blacktop to hear and aimed to help me save face, says, “I guess being a roller derby girl is what makes you so tough mom.”
So there you have it, a girl who can’t navigate cracks in the sidewalk is contemplating being a derby girl. Oh lord.