I fucking suck.
“You don’t become a rollergirl, really, you realize that you are one already.”
~ Ginger Snap, Gotham Girls Roller Derby
I love that our Boot Camp is including cross training. Our past two practices have both been off-skates. Saturday was strength building and plyometric exercises. This is a main focus for me.
The other day I came home discouraged again at my (lacking) level of ability. My husband said something simple that put it in perspective. I love how men can do that. He told me that everything I’m doing is about building strength, not skills. He said that while everyone else may be skill building, I’m using these skills as a way to build strength. He also pointed out there’s no way that I can build skills until I first have the strength to do it. Duh.
I can will myself to complete these new skills all I want but for now it’s like telling someone to lie on a table and levitate. I can want it really badly, but it won’t come together until my body is capable of it. So I will try and get strong without damaging myself and keep body memory notes of these skills close to my chest, until I’m ready to pounce.
Last night we met in the windy cold at Elings park for our 7 p.m. practice. We reviewed derby rules then did tennis shoe derby drills. We have A LOT of nuggets and these are some die-hard gals. Freeway traffic was snarled due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the wind was blowing, it was butt-ass cold and the grass was still wet from rain an hour before. I was curious as to how many people were actually going to show up for practice. Amazingly, I think we had nearly 40 (of our approximately 50) nuggets there.
We formed two parallel lines then took turns moving down the line in small groups practicing blocking skills. Tough. A Bettie was usually placed in back as the Jammer and two nuggets had to move down the 50-foot line trying to prevent her from passing. Afterward, we practiced a solid 20 minutes of body checking. Slamming into a partner while keeping balance, or conversely, getting slammed while keeping balanced. At this point it makes my mind reel as to how to do this successfully on skates. One day at a time. Breathe.
Needless to say, I am bruised and sore today. I sucked at blocking down the line, but I’m pretty good at body checking. Doing the bump in my disco queen past helped out, just had to throw a little more force with that hip. My back feels fucked up today but it was fun. I was paired with Semper Fatale, who is probably half my size. That girl has some strength because she mostly managed to stay planted when I hip checked her.
I need to focus on core strength building and battling my self-esteem. This is where my work is.
P.S. The Betties have matched us up with our mentors and I’m STOKED!!!! My mentor is Lem. I love her.
I’m totally falling in love with my Betties. I admit, this might be Stockholm Syndrome setting in, but it doesn’t really matter. Every single one of these girls has an amazingly quick wit and they all like to play rough. I think I’ve found my tribe. No withering violets here. Thank God. I get so tired of feeling choked out by the ethos of political correctness and everyone being so nice all the time.
The Betties play such a good game of “You’re so Fat,” it makes normal “Your Mama” jokes look like toddler time. One of the milder examples from the other night – Dita to another Bettie: “You left your bra at my house so I’ve been using as a bag for my bowling balls.” =) But Miss One-Liner Dita has a depth of character simmering beneath the surface that some might miss unless they looked more closely. She’s funny as hell and the girlfriend you want to sit in the back of the class with, but know that whatever hasn’t killed her has made her stronger.
MAK, at the last Bettie bout of the season, got so pissed at the refs she led the crowd in an un-rhyming chant that only she could pull off, bringing people to their feet and shouting along to, “Get your dick out of her ass and read the fucking RU-LE book. Get your dick out of her ass and read the fucking RU-LE book.” 100% derby. There is a Bettie Code to keep games family-friendly, but shit slips out now and then. MAK is incredibly sharp, doesn’t miss a beat and what you see is what you get. No apologies. ♥
Viva – She looks like everything Gwen Stefani strives to be with the most beautiful face and fullest red lips. Humble and sweet with a FIERCE competitor inside and amazeballs of steal. She’s tiny and gets knocked around but is incredibly tough. Pair that with the fact she’s a doctoral candidate at UCSB in mechanical engineering. Quantum computing time travel shit. She’s my baby Einstein. ♥
Lem – All Betties, I’m learning, specialize in the concept of paradox. Lem is another fierce competitor but also has the soul of a baby kitten. Lem will be the one helping your great-grandmother across the street and bringing cookies when you’re down (albeit with an ulterior motive to get just a little more homemade matzo ball soup out of someone’s mom), while simultaneously fending off body checks with the ability to only spill a drop or two of coffee. She jokes about herself being like an awkward baby giraffe, but truth be told she’s a fluid example of grace rolled into beauty — mind, body and soul.
Kiki is a powerhouse, through and through, and looks like Gina Gershon only with a beautiful mane of red hair. My guess – she is one of the most loyal of friends you’ll ever meet. She stands for zero bullshit and is a multi-tasker extraordinaire. She is an amazing architect (literally) and runs her own business. She keeps her vulnerabilities close to her chest but has these incredible eyes that can’t hide her depth.
Stay tuned for more! Coming up in Girl Crush, Part Two – Roxie, Deuce, Booty, Danger, Vino, Loc & Hiss!
This evening marked the first night I’ve been at an indoor roller rink since I was 16. And another milestone for me tonight: skating in a large crowd. Even though it may not seem like a big deal – skating when you’re a rookie, surrounded by people, is not easy. It’s fucking nerve-wracking. Especially when I see a five-year-old who looks like he’s on skates for the first time cut me off and me, knowing full-well there’s not a thing I can do to prevent a crash disaster at my current skill level. “Live long and prosper, dude,” was seriously the only thought going through my mind.
But as the sk8 Gods would have it, tragedy was avoided several times throughout the night and it felt gooooood to be back in a roller rink with music pumping. Next time I bring the glitter lip gloss.
We ran into Miss Hiss and Kitten. It was comforting to see some familiar faces and know at least two people weren’t going to laugh (outwardly) at me for being the *only* person in full combat gear.
I still had trouble skating right at the beginning from the rush of adrenaline/fear. But that thankfully faded after a little bit. Getting over that, and adjusting to the dizzy factor strobe lighting can cause, I did okay.
Here are some video highlights. Drum roll please . . . . . . . . this is the first official video of me skating – ever. Video wasn’t the trend de rigeur when I was a teenager, so here’s history in the making. =)
Only had an hour to practice tonight but it was productive! My son has been coming Thursday nights and coaching me. He’s really good at it. When I hear his words of encouragement along with his tough “you can do this” attitude, I’m seeing myself mirrored back at me. I can see all the years of encouragement I’ve poured into him, pouring right back into me. An awesome circle of life.
Tonight he got me to attempt T-Stops again. I didn’t want to but he pushed it. In a very baby way, I am getting it! I can actually put my right skate behind my left at a 90 degree angle and skid myself to a stop – without breaking a leg. Yaaaaaay! No where near snow plows or tomahawks, though.
I also had my first not-on-purpose fall tonight. Skated right into some small metal screw (I can really understand that elephant/mouse fear thing), and that was it. Going down. At first I was all over the place, Gumby style. Then without even thinking about it, body memory took over and threw that left knee down into a deep lunge, skidding me to a (somewhat) graceful stop. Another small achievement!
I repeated the cross-over exercise I did with Kiki Tuesday night and practiced derby hops holding onto the wall (rest in a crouched position on toe stops, leap up, skates off the ground, landing again in a crouched position). I made sure to shock-absorb into a low crouch and maximize the strength building in my thighs (ouch).
It’s hard to comprehend that I’ve only been doing this for a week and a half. Wow. I’ve made it my life for right now and it seems like so much more than a week. Tonight I started seeing the first tiny results of strength building and how it’s beginning to work for me. =D.