The Road to Rollergirl How I Stopped Being a Roller Wannabe and Started Being a Rollergirl

13Feb/112

Hitting on Girls

Knock her down!

We recently started contact drills in earnest. Even though this is why we all join the sport, it's still a shock to the system. Like okay, we are all finally getting this skating thing down, and even skating close to other people -- now we have to hit people and not fall down when they hit us?!

For those of you who are new to the sport and have not yet done hitting, it is actually quite difficult. Getting up close to someone and landing a legal hit takes really good control, timing, balance, and strength. Like so much in derby, it is juggling about 5 different things at once.

25Jul/100

The Need for Speed!

I have found my new love - speed skating! In addition to the fitness class and the team practices, I've been attending speed skating sessions with the local [speed skating] team. They are really kind and welcoming to derby skaters, and I don't have to purchase dorky inlines or anything. It turns out that I can actually sort of haul ass when I want to, which is pretty neat. I just really, really need to work on form so that I'm not scrambling as much. Because even though I say I'm fast-ish, I'm actually getting smoked by 9 year old girls. Sheesh! This is serious business - like the speed skaters that you see on the Olympics, where they take the turns so fast that they are almost sideways. I am NOWHERE near that at all, but that's okay. The coaches are great, and are super supportive.

It's amazing how much more there is to it than I had ever anticipated. For a little bit, I was worried that this would turn out to be yet another thing that you have to have started doing when you were 10 in order to be good at it. But the fact that I'm progressing and actually learning (and that I LOVE being on skates) is comforting.

Every time I leave the rink, I just can't wait to get back. Now that's derby love!

10Jul/100

Derby Mania

I don't know what I was thinking!

This morning, I woke up early to attend an exercise class taught by one of the roller derby girls (sort of like this roller derby workout but on skates and including some derby drills). It was awesome, and even though it was cloudy, by the end, there was sweat pouring off every inch of my body. Major jelly legs at the end of it.

Then about two hours later, I attended another beginner training by the team, which focused on skating skills (stops, falls, form). A good derby stance is a pretty serious squat, and we spent most of the time moving and doing drills, so my quads and butt were so dead by the end of it that I couldn't sit down to pee. I wiped out once and crashed into a wall once (ooops, thank goodness for padding), but it turns out that I'm actually kind of quick! That was really exciting.

Then about two hours after that, I went to a bout to cheer on my favorite team - we won! The other team was pretty scrappy and managed to put a lot of points on the board in the last couple of minutes, but they really didn't stand a chance against our star jammer/team captain, who's a league MVP and a freakin' amazon. (I ran into her at the skate shop the day I bought my roller skates and was totally speechless. It was totally like Porky Pig: bdyuh-bdyuh-bdyuh!)

All in all, awesome day, but I am going to be dead tomorrow for sure. Today it sunk in that I am really serious about doing this, and the magnitude of exactly how much I have to work was a tiiiny bit overwhelming, but I'm seriously excited.

Next goal: practice with the local speed skating team. I need to work on my form and speed at the same time as I'm working on the derby skills.

19Jun/100

First Practice

Today I had my first official practice (sort of a newbie training run by the team).  To be honest, I was a little worried. I'm a really new skater, and I'd hate to have my dreams crushed off the bat.

You know what?

It fucking rocked!

Ok, so it kicked my ass a little bit, and I bit it a few times, but it was a really worthwhile experience. I suddenly understood why people play team sports!

That sounds funny, so I'll give it a little context. I am what they refer to as a "motor moron." I'm pretty sure that this is an actual kinesiology term (unofficial, obvs) for people who ... erm... need a little more practice than others to get down the muscle memory. Like, Jazzercize would be my nightmare because there is no way in hell I can learn the motions on a single run-through. Additionally, I have TERRIBLE depth perception. This rules out pretty much anything with a ball or a net. So I was a high school gym dropout. I would hang out with the geeks and the punks, and we'd make up outlandish excuses for our lack of participation. "I have Ebola." "I sat next to him, so I've been exposed to Ebola." The truth is that sports are not that fun when you know that you never have any chance of winning and when  you will never get the ball. This, however, I can do!

I'm not any kind of professional at skating (hoo boy!), but I'm sloooowly teachable, and it's something I like practicing. So this is a really new experience in not being the worst person in the room at whatever it is that I'm doing. (Actually, I did ballroom dancing in college, and that was pretty fun and I didn't suck.) This is something that I feel like if I just do the motions over and over again, I can make it work. Granted, a lot of derby skaters nowadays are people who actually were athletes and skaters before, but I think I could move up to nonsuckage with some guidance and practice. Like, I might have actually set an attainable goal for myself.

So, we'll see what happens at the next practice. I'm definitely a long way away from trying out, but I can see it on the distant horizon.