I am writing to you post tryouts!
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I woke up not nervous, but stoked and rarin' to go. Today is the day I've been waiting for. I puttered around for a few hours listening to my psych-up play list, eating little nibbles of food, and doing my dishes and stuff.
Finally, it was time and I headed over to the practice space. I went in, and the group of girls prior to me was finishing up. We were herded toward the locker area where we were signed in and given some instructions. There were a lot of skaters I didn't know, an NSO that I'm skate buddies with, and one skater that was there the day I bought my skates back in June. In keeping with my social ineptitude, I sort of blurted something about her being there, and it's like coming full circle. One of my girls came in from having finished, and you could see that she was full of adrenaline. She's a hardcore athlete and a bad motherfucker, and her hands were shaking! She helped me pin my number on and wished me luck, and we were led to the track as a group.
They let us warm up a tiny bit, but the group warmup was weaving through the pack from back to front. Piece of cake. I could have been a little sharper, but no thing. I love weaving through the pack. We had a little stretch, and then falls. I hit them every time, but I stayed mostly with my right knee because it is the better one. I popped onto my toestops and ran after every one, no skidding out. After that we worked balance, doing one half of a crossover around each turn. I tried to focus on staying low, but I definitely know that I don't have the follow through the toes down. It will come!
We did time trials, and I did okay - they accidentally cut us off early, but I got enough laps to pass the skills test. I was just thinking "cross, cross, cross, reach further, push harder, look around the track, not at the floor!" I wobbled a couple of times, and by the end I was breathing fire, but you can do anything for two minutes.
Next were stops. We'd skate around the track and they'd blow the whistle to indicate t-stops, plow-stops, tomahawk turns, or 360 turns. My stops were pretty, but my turns? WOOO! I nearly fell on my ass, I tripped on my own toestop. For a split second, I got scared.
Then I smiled a big fucking mouthguard smile. I am the only person on the track. This is just about me. I am here to have fun. The next tomahawk, I hit. I slipped a little later and laughed. It was like I had discovered the secret to roller derby. Big grin, determined eyes always dancing around the track, low, low, low. Lastly, we cooled off with wide slaloms around the track. I bounced off the edges like I was playing Pong.
All in all it was 30 minutes. I know! It usually takes me that long to get my skates under me! We stretched and headed back to the locker rooms as the next group filed in. Everyone was so super wonderfully nice. It was a fun skate. Visibly agitated from a couple of missteps, one of the girls in my group that I'm friendly with asked me how I think I did.
I don't care. That was freaking awesome!
I was not perfect, but I'm not supposed to be. I put it all out there. No matter what happens, I had fun. Today is a blip in the radar. It's a fork in the road, but the road keeps going either way, and I'll keep right on skating down it.
So I'll find out tonight whether I am cut and going home to Austin tomorrow, or called back for the second round and going home on Tuesday. Stay tuned...
I was just thinking that I wanted to post more in the run-up to try outs and, in one of those divine coincidences, I learned about NaBloPoMo.
National Blog Posting Month (peep the cute little badge in my sidebar). It's this thing where bloggers commit to posting something every day for an entire month. I think I can handle that (and I'm not counting reblogs on Tumblr). That also means that I'm committed to posting before, during, and after the tryout process, which is great, because win, lose, or draw, there's going to be some insanity.
If you're there, find me! If not, keep me accountable! If you see me lurking around the interwebs and not posting on my blog, tell me to get on the stick. As in life, it's easier to TCB if you know people are going to be let down if you don't.
Tryout season cometh! And with it, a sudden proliferation of people professing to be in training. Facebook is peppered with derby hopefuls swearing off the booze, making resolutions to attend every practice, launching a thousand blogs. Now that word of tryouts is out there, it's like a competition to see who is the most maniacally obsessed with the sport and the team, as though our Facebook pages were part of the tryout process. It reminds me of New Year's Day: when I was a waitress, I was the only one who didn't smoke. Every January 1st, everyone swore off smoking cold turkey, loudly professing that this was the year they were really giving it up. Like clockwork.
I was a little surprised by my emotional reaction to the surge. In a total first for me, I was overtaken by a sudden unexpected and unattractive feeling toward the Janey-come-latelies. I resented their posturing - surely they can't be as dedicated as I am! They haven't wanted this as long as I have! They don't work as much as I do! What the hell was this?
Could it be... competitiveness?!
This is a feeling that is completely alien to me. Never have I had this feeling of wanting to totally kick someone's ass at something and leave them in a trail of my dust, and let me tell you what, it is out in full force. It's ironic and ridiculous for a number of reasons, including my very rudimentary skill level and the fact that I could have been doing this all these years and hadn't until just now. In my rational brain, I recognize that I am no different from any other derby hopeful. But this process has unleashed something inside me that I didn't know existed, and my inner competitive stripes are shining through.
As for the other wannabes? Well, I just can't let them bother me. We've all been doing this for as long as we've been doing it, and I'm pretty sure that the coaches are familiar with me and how far I have come in the last few months. People show their stripes for better or worse. If there are slackers in the ranks, they will get weeded out. Case in point: by January 3, everyone was so cranky they were worthless and I'd be trying to surreptitiously stick nicotine patches on them. By January 5, they were all smoking again.
I have to say, I really busted my ass this weekend. All told, I spent 8 hours skating my ass off, drilling and drilling, flying, and occasionally falling. As I'm writing this, I'm pretty sure every muscle in my body is ringing with soreness, even really unexpected ones like my shoulders and my neck. Needless to say, I've recently discovered epsom salts. Honestly, I don't know if it's the salts or the warm soak, but they're heaven and probably the only thing keeping me going right now.
At any rate, one of the practice sessions that I went to was the team-sponsored practice. I feel like I sort of got my ass handed to me, but I also know that I hung in there like a champ. I did everything they told me to do, and even if I'm not yet the steadiest or the fastest, I'm willing to fling myself at it like a warrior.
Honestly, the most painful part of practice was at the very end. No, it wasn't some specially-devised torture off-skates drill. They talked about the upcoming tryouts.
I can't even begin to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about tryouts. They still haven't decided when they are going to be held, but it will probably happen in November (oh lord, hopefully not when I'm out of town for Thanksgiving - it will cost a shitload for me to change my flight) or December. I know that my goal this whole time has been to just learn how to skate and put my heart into it. And I am well aware that this team takes on a very small proportion of the hopefuls each year. But of course, I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't actually want to get on a team. When things are hard, when I'm having to hold a squat for two minutes (torture at this stage), I close my eyes and imagine myself taking that intro lap and seeing my loved ones cheering for me. Thinking of trying so hard and not getting a spot on the Fresh Meat class is painful at best.
So I won't think about it.
Now that I've admitted the soul-dousing fear of not making it on the league to the entire internet, I'm stowing that shit away never to be seen again. My plan is to work my ass off, keep plugging away on the WFTDA skills, and enjoying it. I'm doing this because it's fun. I refuse to lose sight of that. I'm just going to keep on putting in the hours with the knowledge that this will pay off somehow or another. If things are going to work out, they will, and if they don't, it won't be for lack of trying.
As for my short term goals... I am going to try to go to the gym tomorrow. I haven't been since my very stupid injury and I'm hoping that I'm good to go. It still occasionally hurts, especially right now after skating on it so aggressively, but it doesn't hurt in "neutral" like it did before. Elliptical machine, I will PWN your ass!