Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stepping out from the shadows

No surprise I've been on such a high after last week's good news and it has been nice to feel as though I've accomplished something with derby instead of trying to organise another physio appointment. It's all well and good to enjoy the moment but it also helps bring you back to reality. Moving up to scrimmage level means I get to be annihilated by the big kids now while I try to find my feet, the training gets a lot harder, I train an extra hour each week and I'm one level away from bouting intraleague. Basically the hard work starts now :)

For me the biggest battle up to now was all mental which resulted in my shocking injury record since I started derby January last year. I went into each training session fearing I'd pick up another injury that it's no surprise that I kept picking up injuries from all the tension. I didn't want others to think I was soft and couldn't hack it so more often than not I'd train injured which only made the injuries worse and drag on. By not having any faith in my body holding up I was too scared to try more advanced skills so that all I was really doing was just skating. This year I did a lot of work away from the derby track to try and get my head right so that this vicious cycle wouldn't continue. I think the results are starting to show now because I've now managed to have six straight training sessions without any pain in my knees or ankles which is a record for me. From that I had the training session with Newy which allowed me to start training with a bit more confidence for the first time ever. The training has certainly stepped up and asking a lot more of me but I've never smiled as much as I have at training. I'm having fun! I'm not an awesome skater but I'm surprising myself by attempting skills that I thought I'd never be able to cope with.

Now that I'm in a better head space the focus needs to shift to the physical aspect of the sport. While derby doesn't require every skater to be a size 8, it's still a sport which requires one to think like an athlete especially at bouting level. With the new WFTDA rules about to come in which is shifting towards faster derby, fitness will certainly play a large part in both scrimmage and bouting levels. I've already set the wheels in motion with the amazing derby family in MFP which has kept me focussed on my goals. The extra exercise I've been doing has allowed me to fall in love with exercise again after we fell apart for a few years so I'm being more active now.

I've got a hard arse trainer in the form of Suzie who has been very patient with me after all the injuries I've had and ended up wrecking her training plans :) She's been a great help with strengthening my legs which has no doubt added to my current non-injury period. When she found out I'd moved up to scrimmage level she asked me what sort of stuff I'd be doing for derby training now and then started planning exercises and strengthening work around my answers to put me in an even better position on the track. Thanks Suzie :)

While working on transtions on the concrete in the backyard I started to attempt jumps and toe stop runs on the grass and I was able to do both of them so much better. Granted I had the advantage of doing them on grass but the main benefit was getting used to the feeling of doing them and getting the confidence to do them on the track. Whenever I'm on skates in the backyard I'm always under the watchful eye of Bruno and he doesn't move the entire time there. He's probably thinking 'humans are weird' ;) 

If you want to be the best skater you can be you should try and learn from one of the best in the business so I asked Cherry if she'd be a mentor for me. She's helped me a lot in the past at Skatel, training and off skates and thankfully she said yes :) I've even asked Jacqui to help me out (another awesome skater in our ranks). If that wasn't enough I even asked the queen of backwards blocking Jilla for some tips because I want to try and start tackling backwards blocking. I'm getting a lot of help from so many people which I'm thankful for because it is having a positive effect on me and my skating.

One issue which I've really needed to address is my hero worship. My fav three Brig, Cherry and Jilla are without doubt AMAZING skaters and had the biggest impact on the skater I want to be. My problem is (and through no fault of their own) I put them on a such a high pedestal. I know they're human like you and me but I let my fangirl side take control. In the last month or so while I've tried to move from spectator to skater it's finally sunken in that if I continue to work hard and pass the last two levels that one day I'll deserve to be on the track with them and there won't be that be that untouchable divide that I've put in my head. Of course with their experience they'll snap me in two but I'll get the opportunity to try and return the favour ;) Don't get me wrong I'll still always be a fangirl of the three it's just in healthier doses nowadays :)

Right now the thought of bouting isn't even a thought in my mind right now. There is so much work to do before I can even realistically think about it. That doesn't mean that there isn't some awesome goals and challenges along the way to keep me on my toes! Just getting used to scrimmaging is a big deal and it'll take a while. If all goes according to plan hopefully some of the Newy guys will come down to scrimmage with us next year, as if that isn't motivation to work my arse off between now and then! Also, once I find my feet with scrimmaging I'm hoping that maybe Cherry and I can go up and scrimmage with the Newy guys one night. That would be another dah-bee dream come true for me! 

The past month has had such a such a positive flow on effect on me. I'm in a happy place right now, I really look forward to training and for the first time ever I'm going into training with confidence. With each passing training session I feel as if the real me is starting to come out. Say what?

I love roller derby, I really do but it's not my first love. That belongs to Liverpool Football Club and has so for the last 23+ years. Sport has had a major effect on my life and it's one of the few areas in my life where I don't hold back, I step out of my shell. Now that I'm feeling more comfortable with derby I feel as though I can start to step out my shell. Away from the sporting fields you're usually lucky to get two words out of me not because I'm a snob, I'm just really shy. Whenever I've played football (soccer) once I step over the white line it's game on. I get stuck in, I'll yell out instructions, I'll organise my team mates, if we're losing I'll pick up my team mates, even if we're losing on the score board I always believe we can win and don't give up. I'm competitive as hell, I get the shit's if I lose a game of uno :) That's the side I'm going to start to bring out in derby. It's probably a completely different side to how most derby people know me by. Fear not I won't start to slide tackle opposing skaters ;)

I once got told by someone that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my body on my sleeve and they're probably right. I have no poker face, I blush easily and there's no mistaking my passion for sports. I'm one of those people that lives every hit, every move, every up and down moment. I thought I should just warn you guys so that no one is shocked by my actions on the track ;) I won't be pulling off my shirt and twirling it around in the air but don't be surprised if at the end of my first bout win,lose or draw I do something like a massive knee slide in happiness that I finally got to the point of bouting. Here's a sneak peek of what sort of behaviour to expect from me from the players and supporters alike. Worried yet? ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Walk on...

WARNING: It's been a crazy few weeks so if this post is incoherent I apologise in advance!

Although I was shit scared for most of the training session with Newy a few weeks ago because I was way outside my comfort zone it had a real big positive effect on me the last few weeks training with my league. For starters I wasn't holding back in training, I was giving everything a go. That resulted in me getting a compliment from Poz during a jumping drill on Sunday :) I had a new found determination to try and make it to scrimmage level no matter how long it took me. Taking my friend Cass' advice of practising transitions and backwards skating whenever I could, whenever we had a drink break at training I'd quickly drink then practise both transitions and backwards skating until we started the next drill.

We did 20 minute endurance on both the Friday and Sunday nights and I managed to improve by 6 laps on Sunday's attempt mainly thanks to Jac who was showing me the cat's eye or whatever it's called when it comes to skating laps correctly. Around the bends I'd always slide out wide instead of sticking to the inside time which wasted valuable time. I'm currently at 76 laps in 20 minutes, I need to be able to crack 100 laps in 20 minutes so lots of work to do to get to that magic 100 laps mark. Challenge accepted :)

Instead of ignoring things that I suck at and never improving I've started keeping a derby journal of sorts. After each training session I take note of endurance laps (if we do it) so that I can track my improvements and list anything I struggled with so I know to work on it in my own time. I'm determined to move from just being a spectator to becoming a skater.

The Smashleys vs WSR bout last weekend was freaking amazing. With Newy branching out to three home teams next year there was a real possibility that this might be the last time I saw Jilla and Brig as Smashleys depending on how the home teams are set out next year. I started off as a Smashleys fan because Jilla was on the team but if neither of them are Smashleys next year I'll be cheering and cursing them while hoping their teams lose when they play the Smashleys :) The Smashleys might not win many bouts but they were flying out of the blocks against WSR and were never in any real danger of losing. Both sides love the physical aspect of the game so there was no shortage of earth shattering blocks.

The Smashleys were playing with fluidity and as one unit. Jilla would block from the back of the pack and if the WSR jammer got past her they were met by Quirky at the front of the pack which allowed Jilla to get infront of them so the jammer had bugger all chance of scoring. It was the reset drill played to perfection. I must have been a bit on the loud side with the cheering because at one stage the lady who was sitting in front of me turned around and smiled when I cheered on Brig as she got lead jammer in one jam, oops! Susy Pow played her last bout for Newcastle and she left nothing in her tank, she caught me by surprise with her blocking, I'm more used to seeing her jam. I think the biggest cheer of the night came in the very last jam when Jilla lined up on the jammer line. She was on a power jam and managed to score a 7-0 jam. For me the funniest thing was seeing her monster her way through the pack. This was running through my head while she was jamming!


It made me think how much I'd love to see a HARD vs Smashleys bout (to go along with my HARD vs NRDL dream!). Make it happen please derby gods!

Monday night will go down as one of the most strangest night's in my life. I was about to start working on this post when I got a message from Cherry. She said the assessment results were in and that the training committee had passed me so that I'd move up to Corporal level 2 which meant I was allowed to start scrimmaging. Instead of going ape shit with excitement I stared at the computer screen re-reading the message for the next ten minutes with crickets chirping outside in the background. I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone and wasn't believing what I was reading.

My response to Cherry was probably the last thing she was expecting, I literally responded with 'What the hell? Are you serious?' I went to bed shocked and still not believing it. Next morning I got up and the post was still there and that's when the flood gates opened. It felt as though I'd consumed a carton Red Bull I was on such a high the entire day at work. I couldn't believe it after all the injuries and setbacks that I've had these last two years I was finally at scrimmage level!!! GET IN!!!!!! It made the news all the more sweeter that I found it difficult to control my excitement on Facebook hehe. After experiencing so many lows for so long I took the day just to enjoy the experience of feeling pure happiness with derby. Do I appreciate it more because of all the difficulties I had along the way? Who knows. I did savour the moment as though I had just won a grand final. God knows I took my sweet time getting to this level. I don't think I'll be scrimmaging right away. Cherry's worried about all my previous injury problems so I'll more than likely eased into it. After waiting this long, I don't mind waiting a bit longer because the last thing I want to do is injure myself right away because I imagine it's a whole different thing doing scrimmage based drills and actually doing scrimmage.

The response I got when I posted the good news on Facebook blew me away, I can't believe the support I got from so many people. I wouldn't be here without a lot of help and support along the way. The likes of Cherry, Jac, Punkie, Posh, Cheya etc helped me so much at training. I'm just greatful that my league stuck by me and had so much patience with me. I want to re-pay them with interest on the track one day.

Although I'm not a member of their league I want to also thank the Newy guys, especially Cass. I've got the 'Newcastle effect' when it comes to them. It started last September when I went up for a social skate and Cass showed me some techniques for crossovers. I ended up passing my fresh meat test the next night after my second attempt at it. Their outdoor skate-a-thon helped tackle my fear of outdoor skating. Then there was the training session with them a few weeks ago that triggered something in me and from that I passed to move up to scrimmage level. I reckon if I got to train with them when they do blocking practise I'll probably turn into an awesome blocker ;)

I've had such a love/hate relationship with derby from when I started to now and there's been times where I really started to doubt whether I'd even get to this stage let alone bout. The biggest thing I learnt in that time is that if you really want it, you'll keep fighting for it even when some people (and even yourself) tell you that it might be time to hang up the skates. Keep strapping, listen to the physio, listen to your body. If it gets harder to pick yourself up physically and mentally after a setback it's ok to get a little help from your team mates and friend's. That feeling you experience when you finally achieve something that you've fought so long for, it really is the best feeling in the world. No one can take that away from you. It makes all the setbacks, tears and frustrations along the way worth it all in the end :) I know everyone is starting to wind down for the year derby wise but I don't want the year to end! Lots of skating on my own during the break I think!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Winners are grinners :D

Call it the perfect storm, all the planets aligning or everything clicking into place. I wish every weekend was like last weekend. I'll explain before anyone gets the wrong idea.

The last knee injury in September which kept me sidelined for over a month knocked a bit of the stuffing out of me. I was feeling that after making some positive progress on the track and confronting some of my fears by getting more stuck in during pack work that I was back at square one again. I was finding it a little difficult to get back on skates, not from fear but from thinking if this was how it was always going to be, little progress and lots of setbacks so that I'm pretty much in the same spot and never really threatening to get up to bouting level.

You know me I like to analyse things to death, so I sat down and started analysing one of the things I hate analysing the most - myself. One of the biggest things I need to address was belief. I've got all these derby related goals that I'd love to achieve but my lack of belief in actually achieving them left me feeling more of a spectator and less of a skater and I've probably felt like that pretty much since I started derby. Another year is pretty much over and I'm still no closer to bouting so I asked myself did I really want to feel like this next year for the third year running? The answer is no. I realised that putting so much pressure on myself to succeed because I wanted it so bad was leading me to constantly breaking down with injuries. I needed to loosen up a bit and start enjoying the ride.

Next on the agenda was the big issue of my weight. I've lost about 6 kilo's since I first started derby but the reality is I need to lose a lot more. For one my knees and ankles might stop breaking down on a regular basis. Dealing with issues away from the derby track made the weight issue more of a psychologial issue than a physical issue and after working on that throughout the year I feel as though I finally am ready to deal with it properly once and for all. A couple of my team mates Cherry and Sarah were talking about my fitness pal on our Facebook group page so I checked it out and ended up signing up. It's basically an online calorie and exercise counter. I posted on Facebook last Saturday if anyone else used and was immediately flooded by derby friend's from various leagues who use it. For me it was a pretty big deal because here I was breaking my usual behaviour by not letting anyone else in and sharing embarrassing info. To top it all off it meant I really had to start looking at myself something I've done well to avoid for a long time. You know what, it's probably one of the best things I've done. We've got a little derby community going on the site and the support, help and ideas from everyone has been amazing that it's starting to make me think that it's ok to sometimes lean on others for help and not think that I can't let anyone in.

I hit Skatel on Saturday morning for the first time in ages. I practised my form and worked a bit on transitions. Once again it highlighted how I'm as flexible as a brick wall. I don't need to be as flexible as Gumby but it would be nice to loosen up a bit because it'll no doubt help me out on the track. The skating was good, it was nice to just skate with no pressure while I was getting back on my feet.       

Sunday rolled around which meant travelling up to Newcastle to train with the Newy guys, no big deal :P To say I was looking forward to it was bit of an understatement! I was happy as larry all morning but the second I parked my car in the car park the butterflies in my stomach went on a rampage and I was suddenly nervous as hell, what the hell was I thinking that this was a good idea? I went in, said hi to lots of familiar faces, got on my skates then Jilla came up and asked me if I knew what they were doing for training? I didn't. She told me they were covering backwards blocking and I immediately thought 'ohh fuck'. I had attempted to backwards skate once and that was for a few seconds, plus lots of transition work which I was still doing at a geriatric pace. Jilla took us through a couple of backwards skating drills and I sucked horrribly but I still tried. There was one drill where I had to do a transition at speed, I tried and sucked at it and ended up feeling like that special kid in school. I had to admit it what they were covering was too hardcore for my current skill level and I was probably putting my self at risk of a broken ankle.

Someone suggested I join Rum'n'rola who was taking the group who had just passed fresh meat through the basics of backwards skating and transitioning. Ahh my skill level! I joined them and I'm so glad I did. I really needed to learn the basics and Rum'n'rola was a fantastic coach. She helped me out heaps and showed me different ways to tackle transitions and even to do them. When the freshies finished I went to the side and practised all these new things by myself. I would take a glance from time to time to see what the other guys were working or listen in when Jilla was teaching them a new skill to backwards blocking. I kept going over what Rum'n'rola had taught me and then I started grinning like an idiot. Some of the things were working for me. Here I was being pushed way outside my comfort zone. Yeah I was bricking it but my feet were starting to get in synch with my brain WIN!!! I was over the moon and didn't want the session to end.

The longer the session went on, the more I could feel that spark of 'hell yes I'm going to bout one day, I can do this' which I had been missing lately. Jilla apologised that I didn't really get to train with them and you know even a couple of months ago I would have been gutted if that had happened to me but for me the arvo and that whole weekend had been a resounding success. It felt like a win, something I haven't had too much of in derby. I went beyond my comfort zone and ended up surprising myself and having the fun in the process. A couple of bonus things which made it an even better weekend, despite all the pressure I put my knees and ankles under on Sunday I came through pain and injury free. Also Danger said if there was anything I wanted to work on that I was always welcome to come back and train with them. That made my weekend even better :) The Newy guys were their lovely and awesome selves and I really appreciated all their help. It definately triggered wanted to do extra practise by myself on the weeknights and makes me look even more forward to training with my league again on Friday :)  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back to 'normal'

I thought I'd wipe away the cobwebs in this place and put up a new post now that things are starting to get back to 'normal' after the crazy month of October. After screwing up my knee at training in September, I finally got back on skates at training last Friday night. I thought I'd ease back into it and train with the freshies for the week so that I could get back on my feet and it was going sweet but would you believe it my night got cut short, not by injury (for once) but by the nut that came off which secured my plate to the boot so the plate was flapping about and I had no idea spare parts so that was my night cut short. I went home and ordered two sets of mounting kits which had all the nuts, bolts and washers so that I wouldn't get caught out again :)

October really was crazy busy, I'm still recovering! It kicked off with ERRD. I watched 14 bouts over 2 days and took down notes for all of them for bout write up's. I must admit my brain did start turning to mush a little on Saturday and by the end of the tournament I was a little knackered. I think I was derby-ed out! I tried to cover as many leagues as possible and covered almost every league at least once. The tournament itself was awesome sauce. Well done to the organisers on such a great job. I can't wait for next year's one. I got to see a lot of leagues for the first time and a lot of great bouts. Some of my favourite bouts were S2D2 vs CCRG, HARD vs CRDL B, NRDL vs WIRD just to name a few. Since I covered HARD's first bout, I missed their second one because I was covering the NRDL vs SRDL bout so I missed HARD's first win :( One of my highlight's of the weekend was getting a pic with ALL three of my favourite skaters Jilla, Brig and Cherry thanks to Cherry pretty much organising it all. Any surprise it became my profile pic on Facebook hehe. The pic itself has ended up being an extra motivating factor. I fully intend to get another pic with all three of them when HARD and NRDL bout each other and I'm bouting :D

Newy had a 13km outdoor skate fundraiser for their big bout against Auckland on the 13th October. I offered to skate alongside Cass for moral support ignoring the fact that I hadn't skated in weeks because of my knee and that I've hardly done any outdoor skating. They were encouraging dress up and Cass was in a pig outfit so I chose the cow pattern for my knee and ankle strapping to blend in :) Being extra cautious, by the time I was done strapping my knees and ankles I looked like a cow held together by bits of skin. They had a group pic before they started but I stayed out of it because I'm not part of their league (I was the only non-NRDL person doing the skate) but Jilla told me to get in the pic because I was doing the skate so I joined in. I was shitting bricks most of the skate. There were a couple of hills which I snow ploughed down and lots of near misses where I almost stacked it. I did stack it once when I went over a pavement crack but I landed on the grass. It was great skating with Cass. When I wasn't skating in fear I was having fun skating alongside Cass and some of her team mates. The longer the skate went on, the more confident I was feeling. It's what I needed after I was feeling bummed out about the knee injury. It's made me want to take on the Fernleigh track which is up that way and over 30km's but that's going to take a lot of attempts before I can do the whole thing in one go. The Newy guys made me feel welcome and Booga even gave me a hug as I was leaving :)

Last week my league hosted its first ever home bout as HARD took on S2D2 (a league I'm pretty fond over). It was a pretty full on day getting everything ready before the doors open but everyone put in and it all went off without a hitch. The merby bout was good fun with the crowd getting behind all the boys. Seriously Fink is freaking awesome. He struggled a little with the physical side but his skating skills more than made up for it when he could pretty much apex jump half the track.

I was on media duties for the night but when did that ever stop me cheering on my team ;) I was cheering on my guys when they took on S2D2 while trying to take down notes. Hats off to S2D2 they were deserved winners. Ann O'War and Killabee are awesome jammers and Apolcalyss is a no nonsense blocker who more often than not annihilates opposition skaters when she them in her sight. My guys are improving with each bout, we played some nice stuff throughout the bout. Our walls are getting better, I love watching the likes of CrackherJac and Punkie Brawlster improve with each bout. Lola Ebola was back in her first bout since August and it was like she never stopped bouting. The look on her face when she nailed an S2D2 skater was like 'Fuck you I'm Lola' hehe. It was great catching with old friend's, some who I hadn't seen in a year. I also got to the meet a fellow derby writer from Victoria The Cleaner which was nice :) Since the bout was Halloween themed they were encouraging people to dress up so I thought I'd get dressed up as my favourite horror movie villian Michael Myers from the Halloween movies. I lost count of how many people came up to me telling me I was scaring the crap out of them hehe. It provided a bit of a challenge watching the bout through the mask and trying to take down notes. I had to have my notebook up to my nose and tilt my head which probably looked even more creepy but it was the only way I could see properly.

I haven't given myself much preparation since I just got back to training last week but I get to fulfill bit of a derby dream of mine by training with the Newy guys this weekend. For once I'm not putting any ridiculous expectations on myself, I'm just going to give it my all and try and have fun in the process.

Despite having some big derby moments in October I was starting to feel a little lost. The latest knee injury hit me hard but then it quickly got caught up with all the derby media work which was self inflicted. I've had 22 write up's to do in October. I was thinking yeah I could do this easily until it came to typing them up and realised it's actually a lot to do and would take up all of my free time. As the month went on I felt less like a skater, add in the fact my knee was playing up I was starting to feel as though the closest I'd get to a derby track would be as a spectator. I ended up discovering a few things over the month which helped light the fire in my belly which is just what I needed after falling into a funk. I've gone on long enough, more next week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Swings and roundabouts

When I close my eyes I can picture the glamour of derby: working as one unit with your team mates and pulling off a great move to stop the opposition, the satisfaction when you hit your opposition in that sweet spot and send them flying, finally being able to do a certain skill that you've struggled with for ages etc Moments that make all the setbacks and failures along the road worthwhile and make you appreciate that moment of derby happiness just that little bit more. Moments that most rational people would say isn't worth the pain and tears, all the strapping you need to do to your knees and ankles just to get out on the track and get through a training session relatively pain free. That's the power of derby, for me anyway and it's what helped me get through the week.

After the training high from the previous week where I discovered I could do things that I previously told myself I couldn't do reality set in as the pain in my right knee returned in full force. I got to training last Friday all strapped up but right away both my ankle and knee were protesting. All the stretching in the world wasn't helping either. The first training drill for the night was weaving through a pace line in pairs and I was partnered up with Cheya. She was holding onto my shorts during the drill so whenever I got too far away from her I was in danger of her pulling my shorts down so that kept me as close to her as possible hehe. The longer the drill went on the more pain I got in my knee and ankle. It got to the point where it felt as though my leg was going to give way so I conceded defeat and got Cherry to take my spot. Try as I might I couldn't get the pain to go down enough to get back and skate so the tears of frustration kicked in. By this stage I didn't care if anyone saw me cry. I'm such a tough derby girl eh? More like cry baby. 

Although the good old thought of 'Fuck this I quit' flashes across my mind when I find myself on the end of another setback, deep down I know I won't quit. I keep going back to a quote from my favourite movie 'Million Dollar Baby' although it's boxing related you could use it for derby 'If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.' For all the setbacks I've had, I've had some equally great moments and achievements. I just want that chance to bout with my team mates on a regular basis and an even bigger chance to bout with my team mates against Newcastle.

Unless a doctor tells me on medical advice to quit derby, I'll keep my derby dream alive. I don't want to hang up my skates unless I know I've done everything possible to try and fulfil my derby goals. I've accepted the fact that I'll be going through more setbacks before I progress to the point I'd love to be at. I've stopped counting how much groups of freshies have caught up and overtaken me. I realise I'm probably going to go down in the Guinness records as taking the longest time to get to bouting level and that's just to bout, not to be some sort of superstar.

So fuck you latest setback, you may have brought me to tears temporarily but I'll be back on my skates again trying to create some more moments of derby happiness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tick, tick and tick

In last week's post I set myself some pretty big goals in regards to getting up to scrimmage level and also going up to train with Newcastle. I got the checklist from our head trainer on what skills I need to demonstrate to move up to scrimmage level to help me focus on what I need to do. Also the chance to train with Newcastle won't come around often so I want to take this opportunity with both hands. I also made the decision not to allow my fear's stop me from moving forward.

Training on Friday night gave me a great chance to test out my newly discovered confidence as Cherry took us through various weaving, pack work and hitting. Things I would usually try to avoid doing. I was getting a lot of help from my awesome team mates whether it was when I was partnered with Dobie when we were weaving through a paceline, Gina helping me out with transistions or getting feedback when I tried to do various hitting exercises, they were all a great help. Not even the tendon in my leg which played up and forced me off the track for a few minutes could put me out of the 'zone'. I was forcing my way through a pack and laying off hits, sure there's room for improvement and I could be more forceful on my way through the pack but I ended up surprising myself but how much I pushed myself and how the fear's of serious injury didn't eventuate when I skated in a close pack or when I fell. It's funny how a bit of confidence and belief can make you take on things you would normally try to run away from. While everyone else was cooling down and de-gearing after training Cherry and I went for a few more laps around the track pushing and hitting each other. Maybe I'm still stuck in a state of awe from what she can do on a derby track but for some reason I tend to lift a gear out of somewhere when I come up against her. Although I'm yet to get the better of her I love coming up against her on the track.

Last Saturday my fellow HARDies bouted against the Blue Mountains league. I put my hand up to bout commentate which I had never done before. To be honest I can't remember much of the bout because I was so focussed on what to commentate on I didn't get the chance to watch the bout as I normally would. I was trying so hard to stay professional and not say anything inappropriate or sound like too much of a fan that I thought I sounded boring. By the second half the conservative approach was wearing thin so I may have slipped in a few inappropriate comments like when Killabee got sent to the penalty box when she was jamming hehe. I have to thank Big Kahuna once again because he was a great help before and during the bout with his tips and advice. I simultaneously grinned and blushed when I introduced myself to the crowd because my team mates gave me a big cheer :) Most people know I pronounce derby the English way instead of the American way that most derby folk do. Things were going ok until my team mates all in unison yelled out DER-BEE one time after I said dar-bee, the cheeky fuckers so of course the next time I said the word the crowd joined in trying to correct me so I replied with 'NO, IT'S DAR-BEE'. I shake my head when I think back to when I first started derby in January 2010 I could barely string together two words to my team mates because I was so shy and here I am bout commentating. It really does amaze me how much of a positive impact derby has had on me. I've done bout write up's for HARD, I've bout commentated for HARD, surely the next step is to represent my league on the derby track? ;)

The feel good factor from Friday night continued on into Sunday's training session. More hitting and pack work. I managed to do a proper can opener for the first time with Gina being on the receiving end. I knew the second I hit her it was RIGHT and it felt awesome! Cherry taught us how to fluidly get around a skater to do a can opener or carve on Friday night and it made sense so I was approaching my hits differently. I reckon I got stuck in a lot more during pack work and laid off more hits at training on Sunday night. During one of the drills Dobie got me with a good hit that made me notice she was there which made me pay more attention. Much love to my team mates who were backing up from the bout the previous night, they looked knackered and some were carrying some knocks but they still turned up to train. Much respect to them all! One of my team mates said after training that I've been smiling a lot more at training lately, I hadn't even noticed. I definately feel as though I've been enjoying training more lately.

I know it's only one weekend but a few things stood out. I need to get lower when it comes to executing a hit, a few times I got into a good position but the hit didn't have enough impact because I hadn't gotten low enough. Another thing was making sure I get my foot forward when I'm attemping a carve, hit etc. I may have been able to use my body strength before but it's not going to work against the big kids now in training. I'm more effective with hitting on one particular side I guess everyone does, it's just a matter of making sure I don't completely neglect my weaker side. I'm not a powerful hitter I tend to ease people out of the way. I had a few good hits but I need to work more on technique and timing and getting more consistency with the hits. Although I had some good progress last week I'm constantly reminded of how much tougher it is fitness and speed wise stepping up to the next level so that keeps my feet firmly on the ground so that I don't get ahead of myself.  

Lastly I was struck by an act of kindness. Cherry and I were chatting one night and I said I was secretly hoping to have a photo with all my favourite skaters in the same shot Cherry, Jilla and Brig at next week's Eastern Region Roller Derby tournament. So sneaky Cherry took it upon herself to get in touch with the other two about organising a photo next weekend. I was touched that she did that for me :D

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Testing, 1,2,3...

I reckon if you could somehow bottle roller derby and sell it you could make a fortune. I was having a pretty shit week outside of derby and leading up until the moment I left the door to go to training I was constantly changing my mind on whether or not to go to training as my mind wasn't really in it. Before the night was over I was so glad I went to training. I think because I was so angry with external influences my mind wasn't consumed by lack of confidence like it usually is when I'm at derby training so the drills we went through weren't fazing me like they usually do. With visions of NRDL's Quirky and her last line of defence running through my head I was actually chasing down jammers to try and stop them SOMETHING I NEVER DO! One of them was Cherry, I had her lined up and was just about to lay a hit on her when she lost her balance and fell. I ended up tripping over her trailing leg. Either way I was chuffed that I even wanted to attempt to hit her and slightly disappointed that it didn't happen even though I more than likely would have just bounced off her :)

Our freshies were going through their test to move up to Corporal level one on Friday night. It's a real eye opener to see how far they've progressed in such a short amount of time. Some passed, some didn't which is what usually happens. I've experienced the crushing low of failing on my first attempt and the highest of high's when I passed the second time around, so I knew how both sets of skaters felt. I was so proud of the guys who didn't pass on Friday back on their skates at training on Sunday, I love the fight in them.
Another weekend, another trip up to Newy for a bout. It would probably be cheaper just moving up there ;) So it was Harbour Hellcats vs WSR's Boutlaws. One was the sworn enemies of the Smashleys and the other was the league I started off with before I switched over to HARD. I'm too much a NRDL fan so I went for the Hellcats but I couldn't bring myself to buy a Hellcats shirt so I wore my Dockyard Dames shirt, hey it's still NRDL related hehe. I won't lie I found it weird cheering on the Hellcats at first but then it dawned on me that there was so many ex-Smashleys in the side that I could call them the orange Smashleys so cheering them on was no problem after that! WSR was very physical right from the get go which I think both the Hellcats and supporters by surprise and allowed them to build a healthy lead. The Hellcats finally found some rhythm and started playing their game as they chipped away at the lead and they hit the lead for the first time just before half time. In the second half it was all Hellcats and they ran out deserved winners.

I met a couple of new people and caught up with some familar faces. One of people I met was Deathrow Doll. It's was the meeting of the Sylv's, she's Sylvie and I'm Sylvia :) My gosh she's so funny, I laughed a lot chatting to her. She was great to chat to, one thing I learnt was she'd be ace to come up against on the track, she wouldn't back down at all but you'd also have a lot of fun too. Here's an important date for your diaries - 17th November - Smashleys vs WSR's Boutlaws, get on it!!!

This Saturday night my HARDies will be bouting against the Blue Mountains league. I reckon it'll be a tightly fought contest. Funny thing is I'll be helping out with the commentating. My team mates got me to have a trial run at scrimmage last Sunday night and I didn't end up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. My problem is that sport gives me an outlet so I get to go crazy and scream a lot but with bout commentating it's different. I've got to make sure I don't swear and don't yell out instructions to skaters on the track. There's nothing wrong with commentating but when it comes to derby and me I don't want the bout experience to feel restrictive. I'll give it a crack on Saturday night and have as much fun as possible! After this Saturday I'll leave bout commentating in the capable hands of Big Kahuna and co :)

In my last post I mentioned the whole lack of confidence playing a part in stopping me from progressing. I don't want it to be a barrier anymore. I would really love to be able to learn the skills needed to progress up to scrimmage level by the end of this year. I have to learn to start trusting myself a bit more and not think that everytime I fall down I'm going to pick up another injury. Knock on wood I've had a pretty good injury free period lately. So while I should remain cautious and continue with strapping my knees and ankles perhaps it's time to stop being so paranoid.

I finally worked up the courage to ask NRDL if I could join in one of their training sessions and Danger said yes :D My reaction was 'OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO TRAIN WITH NEWY WOOHOO!!!!!!!...hang on a sec, ohh shit I'm going to be training with Newy' Excitement quickly turned to feeling overwhelmed. Everyone who reads this blog knows how much of a fan I am of those guys and how long I've wanted to train with them. The last thing I want is to feel like a shy, little kid and be in my shell the entire time I'm there because it's not like I'll get too many opportunities to do this. I really want to be able to push myself, learn as much as I can and have a shitload of fun along the way. Regardless of whether I get to do hitting practise with them or not I'll more than likely be grinning like an idiot the entire time I'm there :D 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The C word

Truth be told after Friday night's training session this post was heading down a particular road but then once the weekend was over things changed. The issue is still the same but I'm looking at it differently. It's funny how things can change.

Last Friday night was my first time back to normal training with the big kids and I got struck down with a bad case of loss of confidenceitis. I attempted tomahawks and power slides for the first time that night. My transitions still aren't great so I was doing the tomahawks at geriatric pace while everyone else was blitzing me. I get it everyone progresses at different rates and all the injuries I've sustained since I've started have stunted my development, doesn't mean it still doesn't feel a little shitty about not being able to progress a little more regularily. The other thing I was still struggling with was skating in a close pack. I kept dropping off at the back of the pack and never breaking through the pack at all. All in all a somewhat frustrating first session back and that's how I felt until the next night when I started thinking more about it.

Sunday night was all about working on strategies. With all the bouts I've watched and write up's I've done I can pick plays pretty easily but actually executing them is a whole different story. I had a complete mind blank and kept stuffing up things like the kill line drill even though I could picture the move with my eyes closed. It's easy to see how scrimmage can be so daunting when you first start doing it. I was lost out at sea most of the night but I was pretty pleased about knocking down Matron when she almost got through the pack while she was jamming. Plus I managed to push one of the blockers out of the way enough to create space for Cherry to get through so I'm making progress ever so slowly. 

I know what my problem is. It's confidence or moreso the lack of it. It's not a recent thing, I've had this problem for year's. I know with derby my biggest issues are that when it comes to doing sharp turns, fast stops like transitions, tomahawks, power slides etc all I'm picturing in my head when I'm about to attempt them is broken ankles. That mainly comes down to all the injury problems I've had with my ankles since I've started derby. My other major problem is skating close in a pack or having to force my way through the pack. You can add having to lay a hit on an opposition skater to that category to that too. Giving the size of me you'd think that wouldn't be an issue but the thing is I'm actually a big softy and have been most of my life. I worry about unnecessarily injuring my team mates especially the more experienced ones who are bouting or preparing for a bout because I've picked the wrong time to try and get through, caused a massive pile up etc so I don't attempt to and fall to the back of the pack and don't engage at all.

I've got the larger version of this picture that I won at the auction hanging up on my wall. A picture of Jilla in full flight and the word she selected CONFIDENCE above her head. The whole thing screams confidence. Most people would run the other way or close their eyes and hope for the best if they were confronted with this sight on the track. I know Jilla's skated for most of her life so there's no point in even trying to attempt to compare our situations but what I wouldn't do to be able to take the track with confidence instead of cowering at the back of the pack. 

It says it all when the likes of Jacqui and Cherry seem to have more belief in me than I do.
The problem is clearly psychological. Do I see a sports psychologist or get my team mates to knock this stupidity out of me? Either way I need to address the issue otherwise I'll continue to be stuck in no man's land that is between freshie and scrimmage levels.

While mulling over things on the weekend I realised that although it's a drop in the ocean compared to most people I have improved in derby but I know there's a LONG way to go before I can realistically start thinking of bouting against say my dream team NRDL. You only have to read the posts when I first started this blog. Upgrading my skates helped a lot too, along with the Rocktape I use to strap my knees and ankles I've managed to cut out my knee and ankle injuries. If any further proof was required it's in the video below. Cherry recorded it at Skatel not long after I joined HARD in February last year. I think I skate a bit better nowadays :)

This post was never about ohh everyone please feel sorry for me and all that shite, I'm not that sort of person. It's more to address my current issues and try and figure out how to fix them so that I can move forward. I think there's an ok derby player hidden underneath somewhere, I'm just trying to find it :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What happens in Newy...ends up in this blog.

The first half of this post will probably go down as the shortest non RDAU bout write up I'll ever do but I couldn't not mention the Newy bout :) It was the first time in over a year that I was watching a Newy bout and not doing a write up for the RDAU site. I brought along one of my sister's to her first Newy bout and she had an absolute ball. In the bout program there was a survey to fill out about NRDL and their bouts. I couldn't help it on some of the answers instead of just ticking yes or no I added my own 2c especially on bout suggestions. It won't take long whoever is reading it to work out which one was mine hehe.

With no writing resposibilities it didn't take long to get into rabid fan mode :) I was on my best behaviour so it was nowhere near as bad as what I'm like watching Liverpool play (the last time I went overseas to watch them play at Anfield I almost fell over the concrete barrier and onto the field celebrating when we scored hehe) All the personnel changes messed with my head, Danger as a Hellcat was the hardest one to get my head around. On the plus side GodJilla and Brigand Strong were both Smashleys :D

Although the teams have gone through some massive changes it was almost the same old. Close at the beginning, then the Hellcats took a commanding lead so that the Smashleys were forced to play catch up. One change I noticed was with the Smashleys Hippy High Rola. Most bouts I've seen her play she tends to favour going along the outside line when she tries to get lead jammer but at this bout she mixed it up and went along the inside line and managed to still get lead jammer. No idea if it was intentional or not.

The bout was an absolute roller coaster I was either pulling my hair, biting my nails or just cheering on the Smashleys. At one stage Joe Brown (one of Newy's biggest fans) and I were cheering on the Smashleys in tandem, it was lots of fun! I loved Quirky's never say die attitude as she'd launch herself often getting airborne at a Hellcats jammer as the last line of defence. Jilla surprised me a little. In the last few Smashley bouts I watched most of Jilla's blocking was backwards blocking which we all know she's boss at. In this bout she went back to the more traditional blocking during the night. In the end it didn't matter in which direction she blocked she still kicked arse. One of the funniest things was seeing some Hellcats blockers try and push Jilla out of the way or carve her. The only impact they made was causing Jilla to smile at their attempts before she sent them flying hehe.

Brigand Strong = BOSS! She put in another amazing performance which highlighted why she's one of my favourite skaters. In the final jam for the first half  she scored a 15-0 jam which brought the Smashleys back into the game to leave them just trailing 46-40. There aren't enough superlatives to describe how she played that night. She jammed so effortlessly and could withstand any hits the Hellcats sent her way. When it came to blocking she was marshalling her troops to where they needed to be, she laid off some cracking hits but when she wasn't putting on a massive hit she was positional blocking to perfection. Her efforts were rightly awarded with the Smashleys MVP of the bout.

I admit I was probably paying more attention to the Smashleys but there were some Hellcats players that stood out. Rum n Rola played a blinder and she's improving with each bout. Ohhh Dangerass, another amazing all rounder up in Newy and now a Hellcat. She didn't jam as much as usual but she punished the Smashleys with her blocking. She pretty much played the pivot role even when she didn't have the pivot stripe on her helmet. She stuck to the Smashleys jammers like glue that the only way to get around her would have been committing a major and getting yourself sent to the box but considering how awesome she was playing in stopping the jammers she probably would have positional blocked them all the way to the penalty box to stop them getting ahead of her. I was simultaneously yelling 'Far out Danger' while applauding her. She was unplayable that night even though it was to the detrimental to the Smashleys but I still applauded her.   

I've got to mention Cass. She had her serious face on jam timing and did her job really well. I don't envy her especially the end to the bout. With the bout literally going down to the wire the Smashleys only needed a few more seconds to win it but time ran out and Cass had to blow the whistle and she did which allowed the Hellcats to win it by three points. I'd hate to be in that position but she handled it cool as a cucumber.

One of my goals for the night was to meet Brigand Strong one of my favourite skaters. It was a switch flicked inside me because as soon as the bout finished I went from the intensity of the bout to starstruck, shy fan mode. My sister had enough of me putting off going up to Brig and ended up introducing the both of us to Brig. To make matters worse she spoke to Brig more than I did. Bloody shyness. It wasn't as bad as meeting Jilla for the first time but it wasn't a great performance from me either. It wasn't all bad though I ended up getting a pic with Brig :)

The tendon in my ankle is getting better but I wasn't confident enough to train on it last week. I'll be back at training this week all strapped up and ready to go. I went along to training to see what my team mates were working on and to jam time for scrimmage. I'm loving Jeremy's enthusiasm for merby and wanting to train. It's contageous. I can't wait to cheers him on when he bouts. Some of my fellow C1's past and got promoted to C2 so they're allowed to scrimmage. A massive congrats to Lara, Dee and Te'res :D After seeing Lara get unfortunately annihalated by Jac and then Apple in quick succession I'm somewhat shitting bricks for when I eventually move up to C2 one of these decades.

There's quite a few bouts coming up to look forward to. First up the SRDL finals this weekend. The Unicorns vs BSK bout should be interesting. On paper the Unicorns have the better team but they haven't managed to beat BSK who I think play better as a team. It's surprising that Torture doesn't jam anymore since she made the switch from BSK to Unicorns because she's a beast of a jammer along with her destructive blocking.

I'll be committing blasphamy on the 8th September when the Hellcats bout WSR's travel team the Boutlaws by cheering on the Hellcats. I know some people from WSR but the Hellcats are an NRDL team so that wins out plus there's some awesome players in the Hellcats with some of them ex-Smashleys.

The following week my HARDies bout against the Blue Mountains guys which will be awesome sauce. If our guys play like they did in their last two bouts I reckon we're in with a good chance. I'm looking forward to the workout I'll get on the sidelines jumping up and down cheering them on :)

The 27th October will be a massive night. HARD is hosting its first ever home out. We're bouting against S2D2 another fellow new kid on the derby block. There's also going to be a merby bout to start the night which will be lots of fun. I've dubbed it the 'Team Media' bout because I'm part of Roller Derby AU and the guys from S2D2 (Noms, Big Kahuna, and Ann O'War) are all Viva La Derby so that's added some bragging rights to the bout hehe. On the same night Newcastle are bouting against Auckland up in Newy so it's finally happened HARD and NRDL clashing on the same night. I joked on Facebook it was like picking your favourite child but the truth is there was never any decision to make. It was always going to be HARD and always will be because they're my league, doesn't mean I'm not slightly bummed out to be missing on the Dames bout.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

That was fun, can we do it again?

So it was back on skates last Friday after a month off and can you guess what happened? Yep I psyched myself out before I even put on my skates. I can do it so well that I'm on the verge of throwing up and my legs go to jelly. It's a talent I wish I didn't have and it's a puzzling one because all the years I played soccer and the grand finals I played in I was never like this, I was just so eager to go out there and play. Jacqui was a calming influence and the hug from Jeremy was the cherry on top. Simon suggested I spend the weekend training with the freshies while I got back into the groove and I completely agreed with him. It was the right decision especially since the guys were practising for the bout the next night. I started to get back into my groove the more I skated, and I identified the skills I was a little rusty or weak on. It was good in that I got to meet and skate with some team mates that I hadn't met yet.

Complete this sentence - it's all fun and games ........ I was going through the drills that Simon was giving us when I felt a tweak in the tendon that runs up my right ankle, yep one of the problem areas from last year. Suddenly I couldn't support myself when I did the hydrant moves on my right leg. Well that was just crap. I was only feeling it when I did that so I was able to finish off training without any further problems. It didn't go so well on Sunday when the pain kicked in just as I started skating and got worse. Doing the sensible thing I stopped instead of going on and being forced to lose a month off from injury.

It was down to the 'gong on Saturday for the WIRD double header and wow what a night it was for so many reasons. I was so proud of our guys against BSK. Yeah the score deficit was higher than against SAS but our guys played so much better and scored more points. They played to their own game plan instead of just worrying about how BSK were going to play. I've got absolutely no idea how I'm supposed to keep the Roller Derby AU bout write up as unbiased as possible haha.

From the last few WIRD bouts I've gone to it's clear to see they've stepped up a gear. They're still a hard hitting side but they've added more to their overall game and are playing really well now. It was the first time I watched the Melbourne Death Stars bout and they did prettty well in what was only their sixth bout as a team. They've got a pretty good core of players there and will no doubt improve. They've even got a player called Lisbeth Slander in their ranks haha, pretty similar to my derby name. I guess it's a popular choice.

Lastly from that night there was a skater from the Death Stars that I was hoping to meet after the bout. Her name is Bonnie Crash. Just as I started derby I read her feature article in a issue of HAM and it blew me away. Barring having a child, I could have easily written that article about myself, my experiences and the impact derby has had on me. It was such an inspiring piece and gave me hope that anything was possible. Of course I was too shy to say anything so it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago when I worked up the courage to send her a message on Facebook. I got to meet her after the bout and she came across as a nice person and an inspiring one at that.

Off the track I've been eating better and engaging in more physical activity and strengthening work. I don't want derby to be my only physical exercise and I figure if I'm doing other sports or activities it'll probably help strengthen my body for derby too. I'm planning on going back to doing boxing classes and once my knees are in a better condition I'll probably switch over to kick boxing. I've got some fun races lined up for the end of this year and the beginning of next year that I want to do - think mud run, warrior dash etc. Eventually I want to go back to playing football aka soccer (Suzie if you're reading this, I can't extinguish this flame no matter how hard I try!). I figure this mixture of strength and cardio work will help me out on the derby track down the line.

The withdrawl symptoms can finally subside because there's a Newy bout on this Saturday and I can make it haha. My sister who recently got married is coming up with me to watch her first Newy bout and we're making a weekend of it so it'll be good to catch up on all the old haunts we used to go to when we were kids. Also I'm pretty stocked because both Jilla and Brig will be on the same team and they're both Smashleys woohoo! Plus I get to cheer like crazy and be a fan only. The only thing I'm worried about is meeting Brig for the first time because given my track record when I met Cherry and Jilla this one will also be a nerve wracking, blushing, stuttering disaster hehe. I guess that's a part of me that never grew up - feeling like a kid when you meet your fav musician, sport stars etc for the first time. Wish me luck that I don't fuck this up ;)  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Finding the match to light the spark

This past month is the longest I've gone without derby training and for ONCE it wasn't injury related! I've had two weddings to go to, playing tour guide for my relo's from Germany plus I managed to pick up a cold in between. I don't regret any of it (except for getting sick) and would do it all again it just made for a manic month which ended up messing me up for a while that I've had to make changes both in and outside of derby.

For year's I've overfilled my life whether it be working two jobs and going to TAFE at night or not having a single night free during the week that whenever I've stopped to have a break even just for a few days I've gotten sick because my body is used to going 100% all the time. No surprise it happened again this time when I took a week off work to show my relo's the sight's of Sydney. I can't do this anymore, it's not healthy so I've had to re-organise my life to have some spare time but still feel like I've been productive.

One of my major decisions was to go on an indefinate hiatus from doing bout write up's for Roller Derby AU. I've already spoken to Ivy who is in charge and she's cool with it. Truth is they take up a shit load of my time during the week when I work on them and it was starting to get to the stage where I missed the experience of being able to just watch a bout and go ape shit cheering on from the sidelines instead of making sure I got down as much info as I could for the write up. I would like to finish up on covering the WIRD double header this Saturday because it would allow me to do my first write up on my fellow HARDies bouting as a team but then it would mean that the next bout I go to as a fan would be the Smashleys vs Hellcats bout next week so that ties it up nicely! At the very least I'd like to be able to cheer on both HARD and NRDL (if they're participating) at the ERRD finals in October. I will go back to doing write up's I just don't know when at this stage.

The longer this last month went on the more I found myself going down a slippery slope of negativity. Sure some of it was down to sickness, and the longer my routine went out the window and I could feel the weight coming back on, the more lost at sea I felt. There were times where I'd look at that monster Jilla pic and think godammit I'm never going to get to bouting level because I was missing out on training then I got the news last week that pretty much extinguished whatever spark I had left when my grandmother said that the doctor's told her they found a spot on her lung during her latest x-ray exam. My family is the most important thing to me which is highlighted by the tattoo on my left arm so when I heard the news the panic set in for me. My grandmother has had cancer twice in her life and pretty much has her own pharmacy in her room from all the pills she consumes. So now comes the nervous wait to see what the tests will show up. By last Friday I was struggling to get my head above a sea of negativity and derby felt like a million miles away BUT then...

I ended up going to the CCRG bout last Saturday night and something just changed inside me. I saw some of my team mates for the first time in weeks and even though I was doing reporting duties and taking down a shit load of notes I had an absolute ball. The merby bout killed me I was in absolute stitches and the Astro Naughties vs Voodoo Dollies was an absolute nail biter and tense. Don't get me wrong I laughed a lot when my relo's were here but it was something different at the bout on Saturday night, it was like I found the match to light the spark back up that was missing this past month.

It's back to training again this Friday and I know I'll suck arse because I haven't skated for a while and my fitness levels went backwards fast but dammit I'm really looking forward to it :)      

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Derby hangover

Supermegaderbyweekendexpialidocious was just over a week ago and I ended up suffering bit of a derby hangover but what a weekend it was! Lots of screaming, fun to be had and lessons learnt. It didn't get off to the best start as it took me two hours to get home from work on Friday night after the truck overturned on the main road I use so I just got to training on time. Whether it was being stuck in traffic for two hours or it was something else something felt off as I walked into the training venue. I just wasn't feeling it which was annoying because Womb Raider was taking us through some really good drills. No matter what I did I was absolutely rubbish and as the night went on the worse I got. It did suck that after making some regular progress the last few weeks that I was now hitting a wall. It came down to how I handled this setback. Up until now I'd get the shit's for days whenever I had a setback and be extremely critical of myself. This time around I decided to write off this disasterous session and start again on Sunday which is a pretty big change for me.

Saturday morning and it was up to Gateshead for NRDL's fresh meat info day. I wasn't joining NRDL instead I was going up there to give Cass a little birthday present and for a social skate. I love Cass, she's such an amazing person, Newy are lucky to have her in their ranks. After seeing her reaction to the little Newy and HARD lego skaters I made for myself I decided to make her a set of Dames skaters and her reaction when she them cracked me up once again :)

I saw a few familiar faces and I met Tootsie Turbo, she knew who I was before I even opened my mouth which surprised me because I'm not sure how she knows me. I got to have a skate and although I was just skating it felt a lot better than my attempt the previous night at training. The track up there is nice to skate on. I'm figuring I'll add another ridiculously high target to my list of bouts I'd like to be in. One day I'd love to be able to bout against the Fort Smashleys with whichever team I eventually get drafted into in HARD. I sure love dreaming big hehe but at least it gives me something to aim for whether it's realistic or not. One of my highlights from that session was Danger getting a sneaky whip off me while I was chatting and skating with Cass. Danger's one of my fav Newy skaters so I was like WOW hehe

Saturday night saw me head out to Penrith to do reporting duties for the WSR double header. I had the best seat in the house, I was sitting next to Big Kahuna at the commentators table so we got to have a good chat in between jams. He was such a gentleman whenever I came back to my seat he'd always pull out the chair for me, bless him! It was good to watch some of my derby friend's bout who I hadn't had a chance to see bout yet. I enjoyed watching both bouts and there still hasn't been a bout where I haven't learnt something new.

Sunday morning I headed off to the airport to pick up my relo's from the airport. I was home for half an hour before I headed off down to the 'gong to watch my league in their first ever bout. They were bouting my fav SRDL home team: SAS. I wasn't doing reporting duties which meant I got to be a fan for the day YAY! A funny story I was about to walk into the bathroom just as Freyda Cox was coming out. I wanted to say Oh my gosh you're one of my favourite SRDL players but it wasn't the best time to say anything except hi. I was so proud of our guys, they did a great job especially those bouting for the very first time like Phat. I was on my best behaviour so I wasn't as vocal or animated like I am when I watch Liverpool play otherwise I would have paced up and down the sidelines living every hit and move. Poor Bede was standing next to me though filming the bout so all you're probably going to hear on the audio is my screaming and swearing haha. We play BSK at the WIRD double header on the 18th so I'm really looking forward to watching my fellow HARDies go and skate their hearts out again and do us proud.

As soon as the bout finished I went back home grabbed my gear then headed out to training. I was really impressed with Cherry and Cheya because they bouted against SAS and then came back for training, what machines! It was inspiring. It ended up being one of the toughest training sessions I'd had in a while because I was doing a lot of skills for the very first time so I was really pushed out of my comfort zone. I sucked arse at them but I persisted until the end. I ended up doing a proper transistion for the first time after persisting at it until I got it right and improved on the attempts I made the week before.  No surprise by the time I got home on Sunday night I was feeling pretty shattered from the big derby weekend but I learnt a lot along the way and had fun in the process.

Another lesson I learnt from the weekend was not getting ahead of myself. Most of my derby goals involve different sorts of bouts and training between HARD and NRDL. As much as I'd love to see all those goals happen I'm a LONG way off from that happening. I know our training committee won't pass anyone unless they're 100% sure a skater has passed and while it can be frustrating at times to not be at bouting level it would be even worse to be at bouting level before I'm ready and then getting absolutely annihilated by Newy and not offering any sort of contribution to the bout or training. After such an injury ravaged start to derby I'm slowly starting to make progress and if I keep my head down and keep working hard I'll eventually make it to bouting level even though I'll probably go down in the Guiness book of records as taking the longest to get to bouting level.  

The unthinkable happened last Saturday night - I missed a Newy home bout for the first time in a year haha. I was a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding. The thing's you do for family :P They were completely changing the line up's and it wasn't being revealed until the bout. I made a few predictions on Cass' FB wall before the bout: 1) Bermuda Thigh Tangles was going to be a Smashley based on a Smashley spa party she mentioned on her FB page a few days before. 2) The Danger/Jilla combo was going to be split based on the fact that they said there were going to be lots of changes and new combo's forming 3) Brig and Jilla were going to be on the same team. This one was wishful thinking on my part because I would have loved to have seen them on the same side but knowing my luck if it happened they'd be both put on the Hellcats and not the Smashleys. Funnily enough all my predictions came true except that both Brig and Jilla are both on the Smashleys YAY!! Truth be told even if they both ended up as Hellcats I'd still remain a Smashley fan and cheer them on while hoping their side lost. Confusing? haha. I'm looking forward to the next Newy bout on the 25th August because not only will I be bringing my sister to her first Newy bout, I'll be going as a fan for the first time in over a year and not doing a write up so I'll be able to scream my lungs out. I wonder if you can get thrown out of a bout for being too vocal ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


So I learnt a few new things at training last Sunday. Firstly the thought of backwards blocking scares the shit out me. We were practising some drills and it was the first time I'd even attempted doing it so of course I freaked out, got caught in two minds and ended up leaving a gap in the wall for the jammer to get through so that was an epic fail on my behalf. I think I really need to learn how to skate backwards. It wasn't all bad news. I've discovered that I'm feeling a lot more comfortable when it comes to being hit by a back block. Before I'd freak out and would almost certainly stack it, now it's more like 'yeah I know you're behind me and if it takes you back blocking me to the ground to get past me then I must be doing something right'.

Another thing I've realised for a while actually is that I'm probably not the best person to be NSOing. I really can't be impartial. I've only ever done jam timing so once the jam is under way I'm too busy watching and cheering people on so I'm really not a good example of when it comes to NSOing :) 

Those that know me know I'm not really the affectionate, big kisses and hugs kinda girl. I am however willing to make an exception. At HARD we have the most aptly named Team Zebra member Stunt Muffin. Jeremy's always smiling at training and always appears to be in a good mood that it's infectious whenever you're around him. I swear whenever I see him I just feel like giving him a hug. I wish there was more people like him in the world.

To the explanation behind the title of this post. If I'm not sick of roller derby by the time this weekend is over then I'll never be :) This is how my weekend is looking.


7-9: Derby training


10-1: NRDL freshmeat info day

5-9: WSR double header bout


9:05: Pick up my relo's from the the airport

1pm: WIRD double header bout

5-8: Derby training

It's funny how some things work out better than you had initially planned. I had planned to go up for a NRDL social skate on Saturday and give Cass a little birthday present without realising it was NRDL's fresh meat info day the same day. So not only will I get to watch a demo bout, I'll also be allowed to join in on the free skating session afterwards and get to skate with hopefully some of the NRDL big kids!!! A derby dream come true for me. Excited much?? haha. Sadly I can already see how this will turn out. My shyness will kick in so I'll spend an hour skating by myself, too shy to talk to anyone then I'll spend the trip home cursing myself for not having the guts to talk to anyone.

I promised Pepa la Pow a while back that I'd cover one of her bouts so I'll be rushing back from Newy to cover both bouts at the WSR double header so that's two write up's to look forward to next week.

Sunday morning some of my relo's from Germany are arriving for my sister's upcoming wedding. The plane is due to arrive 9:05am so by the time they get through customs and we get home I'm going to have to leave right away to head down to the 'Gong for the WIRD double header. This one is extra special though becauase it'll be HARD's first ever interleague bout as the CamoKazi's. If everything works like clockwork I should be there JUST before the bout starts. I'm going there to cheer my league on especially my team mate Fear my Phat. It's her first ever bout so I wanted to be there to cheer her on. She forms the other half of the Phat Slam so there was no way I wasn't going to be there. So from there it'll be back to Sydney for my normal derby training session and then I'll eventually have to start working on the two WSR bout write up's.

Lastly I felt the time was right to get my derby related tattoo. No it doesn't involve skates at all. For those that don't know my derby name Lisbeth Slammed-her is taken from the character Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium trilogy books and movies. In the Swedish movies (which is the only version worth watching) she has a dragon tattoo on her back like this:

From the second I watched the first movie I fell in love with her character. I could relate to some of the shitty stuff she went through and how she didn't use it as an excuse, instead she kept fighting. Even though it's all a work of fiction I really admired that and found it inspiring. I've decided I want to get that tattoo on my right calf. It's as much as a nod to the character who inspired my derby name as it is for me and a reminder to never stop fighting. I've already found the tattooist, it's none other than Kiki Chaos from CCRG who is also a qualified tattooist. I've seen some of her work and it looks really impressive plus I thought it would have been a nice touch to get a derby inspired tattoo done by a fellow skater. It's just a matter of having a proper chat with Kiki to organise the logistics so it'll hopefully be done some time this year :) I did manage to track down the artist who actually created the dragon tattoo in the movie and he was kind enough to send me a high res pic so this will give you a better look of how it'll look.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The great balancing act

So much derby stuff has gone on since my last post surprise, surprise! I went to the CCRG bout which featured some of my fellow HARDies. It was a cracking bout which went down to the very last jam. Here's the write up I did for RDAU for the bout. Kiki Chaos from CCRG actually asked me if I wanted to cover their bouts on a regular basis which completely took me by surprise because I've never actually had a league ask me to cover their bouts on a regular basis.

I went to the SRDL bout and had a load of fun. I didn't have to do a write up so I got to be a fan. I'm a SAS fan and unfortunately they lost again. Freyda Cox was once again their star player. She may not be tall but it's proved virtually impossible for any BSK blockers including the awesome Great Bolz of fire to get past her when she was playing pivot. I watched the bout with my sister and a few friend's one of them being my friend Lyndall's fiance Michael. He was great to watch the bouts with because we're extremely similar when it comes to watching our teams play. We're both extremely vocal and get really caught up in the game that we forget that there's people sitting around us.

Some pretty huge news (for me anyway!). Our head trainer Lola Ebola is working with GodJilla to send some Newy skaters to come down and scrimmage with us! Holy fuckola I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I heard that. There's just one tiny little problem, I'm not at scrimmage level yet. I'm currently a Corporal level one but I need to be at least a Corporal level two to scrimmage. As far as I'm aware there hasn't been a date set yet for this awesome derby moment. I've had more setbacks than I've had wins with derby to date so while it probably wouldn't mean much to other people it would mean the world to me if I was able to scrimmage with or against them when this does happen. Even though I'd probably spend more time on my arse than on my skates it would feel like such a massive win for me. So I've basically used this as extra motivation to try and get myself up to scrimmage level. To the derby gods out there although I'd love for the entire Dames side to come down and scrimmage with us I'd happily settle for Jilla, Brig, Danger to be among those coming down for scrimmage ;)

As for training I seriously don't know what's happened and I really wish I haven't jinxed it now but I'm still injury free! Last Friday night I had bit of a crisis in confidence because the week before I really struggled to keep up with everyone else during the pack work that all those 'I'm not going to make it to bouting level' thoughts were bouncing around in my head. Phat was great and she helped snap me out of it. Remembering my goal of wanting to scrimmage against NRDL I instead turned to some advice for some positive motivation. I kept repeating 'confidence' and 'live the dream' to myself. If anyone saw me they were probably wondering why I was talking to myself haha. As for the significance for the word and phrase it comes from this:

For some reason I found them to be extremely helpful for me. I kept repeating them while I was working on learning how to do transistions even when I was getting extremely frustrated because I couldn't do them and SLOWLY I got to the point that I could do them. Yes they were extremely rough and I need to do a lot more work on them but I finally could do them for the first time! I may have expelled some liquid from my eyes in happiness and crushed a few people with bear hugs but I was just so relieved. I'm going to keep confidence and live the dream as my motto's because they certainly helped me out.  PS thanks for the inadvertently inspiring words Jilla :)

On Sunday we were doing hitting drills. I was all lost out at sea the more advanced the drills got but I couldn't remember the last time I had so much fun at training. My biggest problem is that I still have this fear working in close packs that I'll clip my skates, fall down and get injured. That's also why I struggle with trying to get through a wall and end up hesitating on the track. I loved blocking with Phat, she's definately someone I'd like to form a partnership with on the track. She's going to be an amazing blocker, it's amazing to watch her improve with each session. There was one drill where I got to block alongside Cherry and Phat which I absolutely loved. Hopefully I'll get to do that again with them in a bout. There was a funny moment. some of the ref's joined in on some of or hitting drills. During one of them Daniel was on the opposite team, he was looking at Phat who was coming up on his right hand side so he completely ignored me. I found a little gap so I decided to go and lay a hit on him and I did. Only problem was someone had already fallen down so there was a stray leg on the track that I didn't see so I tripped over that and landed on both of Phat's skates. So while I was on the ground in pain I was also equally happy with my hit on Dan haha. Now I'm sporting two swollen bruises on my right leg hehe.  

I got myself a skater ticket for the Aussie Rollercon and I'm already questioning whether I did the right thing or not! Seeing some of the high level skaters who are going is kinda scaring me because I'm nowhere near their levels. Maybe I can bring out cut oranges to them in between training drills :P I haven't even organised accomodation of flights yet so looks like I'll be going solo. So much for me and my bright ideas!

We all joke from time to time that derby will take over your life. With training, bouts, extra training on our own, learning rules plus in my case doing bout write up's it's not difficult to see how that can happen. While I'm single and have no kids I've noticed that I've allowed derby to have an impact on my relationships outside of the sport. In particular my relationship with my best friend Chris. He and I have been friend's for over 12 1/2 years. After my family, he's the next most important person in my life. I've been guilty of going into fan mode with derby that I've neglected Chris lately which I'm extremely disappointed in myself about because I don't want to lose him out of my life but I find it equally as scary that I've neglected other areas in my life so fast all in the pursuit of derby. I'm so desperate to make up for lost time with derby due to all my injury problems that all my focus went into the sport instead of finding a healthy balance with my life. It's something I'm currently trying to address.

Tomorrow I'll be updating a previous post that I've wanted to do for a while. It'll be ace and informative!  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Playing games.

I went to the SRDL bout on the weekend and this time I dragged both my cousin Mark and his girlfriend Suzie who also happens to be my personal trainer to watch their first ever derby bout. Sadly SAS lost to the D'viants who I also have a soft spot for. Freyda Cox was unbelievably amazing in the first bout. She excelled in any position she was asked to play. It was great to watch. I haven't been to that many SRDL bouts to date due to the fact they always clash with something else I've already got planned but I knew the second bout between BSK and Team Unicorn would be a highly entertaining bout starting with the skate out's. I'm really not fussed about skate out's but maybe because I was just watching the bout instead of taking notes for a write up I must admit the Team Unicorn skate out was pretty damn entertaining! The bout itself was an amazing spectacle too. BSK beat the more fancied Unicorns. Bomb Jones jammed out of her skin and Great Bolz of fire was freaking amazing in the defending department. She kept Winnie Bruise pretty quiet which is no easy feat. Special shout out to Elwyn who was the score guy he managed to out entertain the Unicorns. I would pay the entry fee just to see him do the scores again.

I'm still keeping up with the extra exercise away from derby. A group of us HARDies even have a little exercise group which I'm finding is great support and motivation for me and makes me less likely to come up with excuses for not exercising. I've re-arranged my room so now I've got floor space to do some core work and basic strength work. I'm also lucky in that Suzie has finally gotten to watch a bout because now that she knows what derby entails she can adjust my training sessions to help strengthen my body for the demands of derby. I've got all the resources available to me it's just up to me now to make the most of it and get closer to my bouting dream.

One thing I've noticed especially when I've struggled with my fitness levels after coming back injury is that my drive to want to do derby is still alive and well, I think it's actually gotten stronger since I first started last year. I know when I eventually start bouting initially I'll be spending more time on my arse than on my skates coming up against more experienced skaters but I know I'll be able to get back up again and keep going back for more because if anything all the setbacks I've had have actually toughened me up a bit mentally and that I know I've got it in me to carry on fighting. So my fellow HARDies while I might not become a superstar skater I promise you I'll give it my all right up until the final whistle even if I have to crawl on the track because I'm feeling completely fucked (which is probably a sign I need to work on my endurance hehe). 

Following on with some advice I got about putting my passion and aggression for derby into more productive means. I've been focussing on rules and strategies in my spare time. For all the complaints about anti-derby we use the same rule book so instead of complaining why not try to come up with ways of counteracting the anti-derby plays? For all the rule controversies it also provides a chance for someone to come up with new plays which I think is a good thing for the sport as it allows the sport to grow and evolve. Having come from a soccer background I can see the similarities with having to work as a team and become one unit. With different formations, use of wingers etc in soccer it has made me look at derby differently and think of plays that could be used like how to counteract someone backwards blocking at the front of the pack. I think I've worked out how to stop it and it works in theory I guess it just depends on whether it would work on the track.

I got inspired by both our Team Zebra and the white board we sometimes use at training to work on plays to come up with my own. I wanted to make it a little fun so armed with my e-bay account and Posca markers I made up some modified H*A*R*D and NRDL skaters hehe. It does make it a bit easier to picture plays in your head because they sort of look like skaters. Even in lego form H*A*R*D vs NRDL looks pretty damn good don't you think? Imagine how much awesome it would look in real life hehe. One guess who the Newy skater is skating backwards at the front of the pack!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When two becomes three.

It was off the sidelines and onto the track on Friday night. I had decided beforehand that I was going to sensible for once and spend the weekend getting my skating mojo back instead of going straight into full training so I spent my time hovering between the freshie training session and just skating by myself. I'm glad I did because I was rubbish on my skates on Friday. I had absolutely no rhythm with my skating and my back and quad muscles were aching pretty quickly. I felt like a freshie all over again. I even managed to trip over a clump of dirt that was on the track and landed on my left shoulder AGAIN so its been protesting since then but I've still got full movement in it which is good.  As the weekend progressed and the longer I skated I felt it all coming back.

Saturday morning I went up for the NRDL social skate. Cass wasn't feeling well so I didn't get to skate with her but there were a few familiar faces there so I had a chat with them. I managed to make a dickhead of myself (now there's a surprise...NOT) Rum n Rola came up and said hi to me and I did not recognise her at all. I've only ever seen her all geared up while bouting for the Hellcats. So I asked her who she was and when she told me I felt like such a dumbarse! Skating wise I was feeling a lot more comfortable on my skates. I was getting back into my groove. I was skating for longer and trying some advanced skills the longer I skated. It was also pretty cool because that's the same venue that the Smashleys and the Hellcats bout. I decided to have a bit of fun and pretend I was a Smashley from time to time as I was skating around hehe. They've got an amazing set up there. The space is big enough for the derby track but then there's all the room that is taken up by seating during the bouts so people could use that empty space to practise on their own or in groups. You could pretty much treat the social skate like an extra training session. If I lived closer I'd be there every Saturday morning. 

After the bout I went to pick up the Jilla pic I won at the auction. DangeRass met me there. I got to see the exhibition properly this time around and not through the windows like last time when it was locked haha. I ended up chatting with Danger for over an hour on all things derby. It was ace. We kind of think the same on some issues in derby and she's not into all the political crap that sometimes plauges the sport. She may have mentioned that we can go up and skate with NRDL and that they'd be happy to send some guest coaches to one of our training sessions. To say I was grinning from ear to ear at that would be an understatement :D

There's been a lot going on behind the scenes in and out of derby. After doing and dealing with things by myself for years I've gotten bit of a support network happening and I find it helping in all areas of my life so that it's now spreading into derby for me. I've been taking on the good advice I've been getting instead of sticking with my bad habits. Instead of ignoring pre existing injury problems until my body keeps breaking down with injuries I've been easing myself back exercise wise and following my trainer's instructions. Yeah there's a part of me that has a mental list of all these extra kinds of exercises I want to do but this approach is allowing me to work to the level my body can handle for the time being without breaking it even further.

Another good bit of advice I'm following is channeling the intensity and competitiveness I have when it comes to sport into more productive means. Instead of cracking the shits with myself because I can't do a certain skill and being in a foul mood I'm trying to have fun while still giving it my all at training. If this past weekend was to go by it felt like a weight of expectation got lifted from my shoulders and I starting to skate more freely. I'm not going to become a kick arse skater overnight but I think these changes I'm making will probably help reduce the amount of injuries I have so I may start to improve faster I hope!

Whenever I've been injured I've tended to hang around Team Zebra. Although I couldn't skate, I felt as though I was still learning. I like the ref's in our league they know their rules pretty well and they're pretty approachable. One of our ref's Dandemonium is bit of a strategy guru so I've enjoyed chatting with him the last few weeks when it comes to rules and strategies because I've learnt a lot from him. I reckon he'd make a kickarse bench manager. I've got much love for Team Zebra, they've got a thankless job but they're also a great source of useful information when it comes to derby. 

I decided to make my big two of Cherry and Jilla into a big three consisting of Cherry, Jilla and Brigand Strong from Newy. That's my final favourite skaters list. I won't be adding to it haha. Sure there's probably more 'star' players out there but these three all had an impact me and the skater I want to be.