Summer is ending, and autumn is in the mail. While the cooler days are great for practice on city streets and spartan practice spaces, mornings are a little stiff from the cold air breezing in the window next to my bed, flung wide from mid-August to mid-September. This morning, I woke up feeling like someone had punched me in the lower back. It took me a couple of minutes to unfurl myself and stretch away the pain.
What the hell, man, what the hell?
I don't know the proximate reason why I was hurting today in particular, maybe something to do with the way that I slept or the change in the weather. But I know the underlying cause, and even as I type this I'm cringing at my own stupidity.
The other day at practice, we had our first real injury of the season, an ankle break. Honestly, I don't even know what to say about it. It was the damndest thing, this girl just suddenly fell over and was screaming in pain, her ankle snapped like a twig.
After the last practice that I wrote about I had a little bit of a ... moment. It turned out that the "package" was delivered C.O.D.: I had rolled my ankle hard enough to force me to skip a practice. Much better now, thank you, but at the time I panicked and called a friend. Basically, I was a little worried because pack work was so difficult and it's such an integral part of the game. How the hell am I supposed to play if I can't skate in a pack?! What is going to happen when people start hitting me if I can't even stay on my feet?! #@%#*&!!!
I think we have all had that experience with someone who just doesn't understand your values/anxieties/perspective. Her response was just the teensiest bit lacking in social skills. Basically, she said "it can't be that hard, don't let them get you down." Of course, when you're off skates, "it can't be that hard" means "you just suck too much," which is more than enough to throw anybody into a tailspin of self-doubt.
Then, in rapid succession, I had a few of revelations that really helped set my attitude back in the right direction:
- One of the girls that I had been practicing with over the summer remarked how different Fresh Meat training was from the very basic skate training we had been doing before. Even though it was run by derby girls and had derby in mind, it was very rudimentary and focused on building from the ground up one block at a time. We covered skills at a much slower pace, doing them over and over, whereas FM is more fast-paced.
- One of the vets on my team, whom I consider to be really speedy, told us that we were doing a good job and that when she started out, she was always the last girl in the pack. Now her footwork is so quick and she is one of the fastest girls out there!
- I was randomly reading information about tryouts and came across the following nugget of wisdom: Push your limits as you become comfortable so that you are constantly teetering between comfortable and uncomfortable. This is how you know you are progressing!
This last thing really made it click. As far as the individual basics of skating are concerned, I'm in a fine-tuning stage -- I can always reach deeper on crossovers, or stop quicker on t-stops and plows (or not fall on my ass during a tomahawk!). But as far as working as a team, pack awareness, and interacting with other players doing unexpected stuff, I'm just at the beginning. It's getting harder because I am doing well and the bar is being raised, and it will probably be like the for the entirety of Fresh Meat and likely even my rookie season. It only gets easier by plowing straight through it.
So for you beginners reading along, don't get alarmed if it gets harder before it gets easier. And for the vets - hey, if you have any lived-experience advice on close skating, I'll take it! Especially if you had a moment where you were like "OH! THIS is what I'm doing wrong!"
I am completely and totally unsurprised that my knee has evolved into one giant bruise, with satellite bruises on my shin.
Again, the lesson is always wear your pads! Luckily it doesn't really hurt unless I'm touching it. It's superficial so I'm still skating on it like a maniac.
So I thought that I had learned my lesson about stupid injuries a couple of weeks ago when I hurt myself on the elliptical machine. Erm... not exactly.
I thought that it would be a good idea to the local open skate night and work on my moves a little. I think that it should have been a sign to me when none of the people I was going to skate with showed up. But no, I got out there and decided that even though I Absolutely cannot rollerdance, I would get there on the skate circle.
I did okay for about an hour, but by about 11PM, it was getting pretty crowded with a very serious RollBounce crowd. Well this guy comes up behind me and knocks me over. And then falls over himself. And then the two people behind us trip and fall too.
There is nothing more humiliating than falling totally spreadeagled and then having people going "oooooh!" and pointing (seriously!). My immediate thought was "get small! get small!" and I managed to get off the floor pretty quickly, but I got the shit pretty well knocked out of me. A couple of people were kind enough to come over and tell me to shake it off while the dude who knocked me over and the women who fell over us had an altercation that included pointing in my direction. My knee was screaming in pain, so after a little lap to keep me from ending on a bad note, I decided it might be time to call it an evening.
Seriously, I was fighting back tears. WIEEEENIE!
So of course I come home and take a bunch of pictures.
It doesn't look hardly as bad as it is. I'll take more pictures as it inevitably develops into a big freakin' bruise. So what have we learned? ALWAYS ALWAYS wear pads. I tell you what, it's always when you're just fucking around that you really bite it. Ugh.
Ouch! I got my first serious-seeming injury, and it was the stupidest thing. I wasn't even on skates! I was working out and I think that I hurt my leg either changing directions on the elliptical trainer or on the leg extension machine. It hurt a little when I finished last night, but now it SERIOUSLY hurts! It's weird, because it's like when I stand up my knee feels like it's going to give out.
I absolutely refuse to have hurt myself in such a stupid way. Watch me have torn my ACL on a completely idiot-proof machine!