Sunday, 4 July 2010

Throwing Stars and Falling on my Arse!

So Saturday came around and I dragged myself out of bed early enough to attend the full two hours. I got suited and booted and awaited the coaches decision of what we were do. I was expecting to join my fellow members of Team Tard for just building on the basics but after a falling exercise we the split into three groups fo different drills. Starting on weaving between cones, I waited my turn and then gave it a bash and just about managed to weave through all the cones which were fairly close and while gliding /wobbling on one foot it felt fab to hear others in the group clapping and it was fab cheering other girls on because everyone was so impressive!

Next up we all panicked like little rabbits in the headlights! Jumping!!! A single lonely shoe sat waiting to be attacked by several girls on skates... Everyone did realy well and everyone managed to overcome their fear and get all 8 wheels off the floor. When my turn came around I went straight for the shoe and jumped... maybe not the best idea but still not as bad as I thought it would be, I was told on the way back to the rest of the group that I was fearless! Probably more nuts in all honesty! :) I continued to jump landing on my wheels most of the time but I still have a very painful ass proving it can go so wrong!

Then the final station was stopping, everyone was giving it a good go with t-stops and ploughs mostly. I went up and saw fear in someones eyes thinking I hadnt quite got control of my plough yet but I kinda do, its just one of my thunder thighs must be stronger so when I use them I turn as I stop. Also stopping was always better when I had to join at the back of the group!

Another loop of all the stations and everyone was so impressive even though one shoe had turned into two and the thought of clearing a person scared the living daylights out of me!! We also skated in a couple of small packs learning to control our speed and balance while staying very close to other skaters and it wasnt too bad but still something to work on. Then a few relay races with falls which had us all pumped up until the race with stopping which proved more people couldn't stop than those that could! After this came a mini-bout...

I was handed a pink hair net which instantly worried me, as I knew which position usually had the helmet. And so the pack headed off on the first whistle and then the second one went and I just went and bloody legged it! Catching up with the pack I managed to squeeze through and then tried to get around the second time which would be scoring time in reality. I just kinda threw myself at the pack and managed to get around a few times but the other teams jammer was amazingly fast and I was behind her most of the way until someone did a good block and we were pretty close at the end of the two minute jam.

I then proceeded to collapse!

So I sat out the second "jam" and jumped back in for the third as a Blocker, turns out a huge butt is very useful in this game! :D I stuck at the back of the pack and tried to focus on being able to keep to speed with the pack while looking back for the opposition jammer to block and our own jammer to help with a opening or whip! I loved it! Both being Jammer and Blocker and actually getting past the pack and blocking an opposing jammer showed that I had learnt something and that as a team we are definitely building the skills we need to have bouts! I am now hugely looking forward to practicing more and learning more things like the t-stops and going backwards :D

And so Ive seemingly kick "the Meh" into touch (for now) and thoroughly enjoyed it! I also enjoyed actually talking to some of the other girls a little bit but me being more sociable and not so shy definitely still needs a lot of work! And along with that my next challenge is actually taking my wheels outside for a skate :)

The First Strike!

It all began with the film Whip It, I saw the posters and had really wanted to see it for ages before it was even released here in Wales. So one free evening after its release I went along and was greatly surprised by its effect on me... Not only did I love the film but I was instantly hooked on derby and longed to be near a team to give it a bash. And so on facebook I noticed a friend attending a Roller Derby recruitment day and without any hesitation I clicked attending and went along that fine afternoon to the Star Centre (after getting totally lost!) to meet the Dragon Dolls!

I had never been on roller skates before, I had experience of the occassional Winter Wonderland ice skating but that was it. So after a loooong queue to sign forms and disclaimers I then nabbed a pair of skates close to my size and awaited some protective gear when the girls on skates swapped with us girls still waiting to get on 8 wheels. That first wheel wasnt too bad until they taught us falls, lets just say throwing yourself to your needs on skates feels just a touch abnormal! But nevertheless it was fun and I aimed to keep it up so went and spent the last scraps in my bank account on a pair of snazzy rios and all the kit :)

Since then I have't been able to attend that many sessions due to my other life as a student nurse! But what sessions (mostly the Wednesday free skates) I was able to make have been consumed with learning crossovers, falls and balance and general staring in awe at the girls who are super amazing with their going backwards and jumping things! Plus following one session I was able to go to lunch for a few girls and levels and social activities were discussed and I actually spoke to people as I tend to be a little too shy for my own good :/

Then a week or two ago I actually had a Saturday off work and so trundled to Star, skates in hand, to the half 10 session, to allow a lie-in of course! I joined "Team Tard" (purely the greatest team of all!) to be assessed for which skate level I was at. My single knee fall was ok but when asked to plow stop I failed due to my dominant thigh making me turn rather than stop! This made me feel "The Meh" as I was so annoyed with myself for not being able to do it along with not being able to attend Saturday sessions where girls were learning specific skills and doing drills.

The following Wednesday allowed me to continually speed up and plough stop as well as build confidence with my crossovers. Still feeling somewhat lacking next to the girls with their news skates and amazing new skills gained when I had been missing out. I felt better in myself but a bit pants in comparison and also like a tit for still being so shy and not even blinking at anyone else there....