Monday, January 30, 2012

It's on like Donkey Kong :)

It's been bit of a rollercoaster kind of week but it proved to be a defining one. It didn't get off to a good start though. Cherry planned a massive hitting/blocking training session on Friday. I was REALLY looking forward to this because I've never done hitting practise on skates. Earlier that day though I went to a funeral for someone I've known all my life and it hit me harder than I thought it would. I couldn't snap out it so I couldn't concentrate properly which meant I was skating really crap. I was getting the shit's with myself because I couldn't snap out of the way I was feeling but then there was a moment which made me smile. I'd gotten through the endurance drill and was stretching my ankles out when Jeremy came over and said I did well with the endurance, after having such a shit day that just made me smile. Jeremy is a sweet, lovely guy. No one says a bad word about him, if they did I'd deck them :)

I started doing the blocking drills and I was practising positional blocking with Blood Red Penny and during one of our attempts I think our skates clipped and we both went down. Since my head was all over the place I didn't put my arms out to do a four point fall so I landed on my shoulder and momentum propelled me forward until I landed on my jaw to break my fall. Not cool. I was left sporting a sore jaw and I realised if I kept continuing I was going to injure myself worse because I wasn't concentrating so I sat out the rest of the session.

Fast forward to Sunday night training and I was feeling a lot better and switched on. To my joy Cherry was going to go through the hitting/blocking training again. For most of the drills I was partnered with Danger Blond which was good because she's an experienced skater so she was helping me out a lot with how to position myself for a hit or block. I was laughing for most of it though because whenever she had to block or hit me I was always pushing her off the track hehe oops! These exercises taught me how important timing and good footwork is. I was really struggling with getting my foot in front of the jammer so I either over shot them or hit them in the wrong spot. Another thing is that I lead in with my shoulder instead of going in with my hip. So much to learn but I can't wait to learn more! There was one time when I was against Cherry and our skates clipped, I stacked it and somehow I accidently grabbed one of her wheels and then she went down too. YAY I've finally brought Cherry down haha :P There was another drill where there were walls of two and we had to block and hit our way past them. I kept coming up against Red and Cherry and I won't lie I was pretty excited coming up against them because Red gets down so low that my arse would have to touch the ground to get as low as she does and Cherry well she's just a brick wall that most people can't get passed her so I was loving the challenge which lay ahead of me. I didn't have any luck getting on the outside of Red and when I tried getting around Cherry she kept executing her favoured carve move but I wasn't going to let her have it all her way so I pushed her back and we gave as good as we got with neither conceding any ground. I didn't knock her down but she didn't push me out of bounds either. It was great fun :D

We had another 'I can't believe it's not scrimmage' session and I got picked again :) I'm still new to this so I'm still rubbish at it but the more I improve the better I'll be. A problem I have is that I'm extremely competitive, I hate losing a game of Uno that's how bad I am, and throw in that I'm not so shy when I put my skates on that I'll find myself in lots of trouble if I'm not careful. In my first jam I had my arm up high and the opposing jammer hit my upper arm as she went through but not my elbow and I got called for a minor use of elbow. I protested that she hadn't hit my elbow and got warned for insubordination so I shut my mouth hehe. I was struggling in most of my jams and was leaving too many gaps in the wall so the blockers and jammers were getting through so I was swearing a lot at myself but I was listening to the more experienced skaters in my side and trying to get myself in the right position.

For those that don't know my younger sister Ness also plays roller derby with HARD. She's developed quicker than I have and she has her heart set on being a jammer. When she played jammer I was proud as punch at how well she's improved playing jammer. She was finding gaps to go through and using Cherry as a battering ram to create space for her to get through. After one particular jam she had trouble breathing so Bede took her outside and helped her get her breathe back and I stayed with her to make sure she was alright. Bede was brilliant and helped her get back to normal. I re-joined my team mates and found out all us Corporal level one's were going in the same jam with no experienced skaters to help us on the track and I was going to be a pivot for the time in my life AND we taking on more experienced skaters - ohh shite! It didn't start well they went with a no pack start and their jammer went straight through our wall. I got us to regroup our wall but then Sharon went to try and break our wall so I tried pushing her out of the way but I dropped behind my wall so it left a gap for their jammer to get through which she did. I caught up again but I was slipping into my full back role that I've played all my life with football/soccer so instead of us having a straight wall I slipped behind them and we had a V shaped wall with me trying to co-ordinate my other blockers from behind so I was screwing up our tactic, bloody idiot! The tactical part of me loved the extra responsibility of having to organise my blockers and yelling out where the opposing jammer was. Those that only know me off skates are probably shocked reading that haha. That jam highlighted how much I need to learn but I'm so eager to learn :D

My last jam I had Apple and Wee General in my side. It made such a massive difference having someone like Apple call the shots. Whatever she said I did.Up until that last jam I wasn't really getting stuck in and I felt like a headless chook. I think I also had that fear of my skates getting clipped and me going down. I don't care who are I'm sure most people felt like that when they started doing scrimmage exercises. It was weird it felt like something clicked in me with that last jam I got more involved and started getting my body in the way to stop their blockers getting through our wall. Hell I even pushed Bailee to the front before I cut in front of Sharon to re-form our wall again. I think that's the best jam I've had to date. I even let out a 'fuck yeah' when the jam finished hehe

Despite ending last night's training session on a high, I had the thought of 'was that my last ever training session?' hanging over my head. Like I mentioned before I screwed both my knees playing football/soccer when I was younger so now both my knees click and I've had ligament problems with them too. I went to the physio tonight to see whether I could manage my knee problems or if I'd risk mobility issues later in life if I continued playing derby. When she was working on my right knee it sounded like it was making crunching noises and it felt like there was stuff grinding in my knee. It appears that my right knee cap is moving too far to the side so it's wearing and tearing at a quicker rate hence the problems. According to my physio with the right amount of strapping, strengthening exercises and stretches I can manage my knee problems and still do derby, I'm sure I can live with those demands! I left the physio feeling a massive relief. Yeah training is getting even tougher but I'm improving and my two roller derby goals a) making it into one our intra league teams and bouting and b) making it onto our travel team and bouting against NRDL are still alive and well. I think that deserves a big :D and a massive FUCK YEAH! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Houston we have a problem

So my ankles are still feeling good when I skate although I'm getting a pain in my right foot when I skate now but I think that's because I've tried fixing my skating technique so I'm engaging different muscles for the first time. The only major concern I have now is dealing with knee problems. I know being a fat arse doesn't help with putting extra pressure on my knees and I've made changes in my lifestyle so I can shed the extra kilos but the truth is I screwed my knees long before I piled the weight on. My knee problems started when I used to play football (soccer) a few of my teams mates decided that we would do the whole knee sliding celebration if we scored. Well we scored and when I slid on my knees I felt the most intense pain in both my knees that I couldn't get up for a few seconds because they were hurting so much. Stupid me thought maybe I did it incorrectly the first time so when we scored again I slid on my knees and felt the same pain all over again. As a result my knees make clicking sounds when I move them and sometimes they're sore for days. I'm currently experiencing soreness in my right knee so I've decided to go back to the physio who fixed up my ankles and see if there's a way to maintain them so that my knees don't get worse in the future. There is that fear in the back of my head that she's going to turn around and say that my knees are too screwed to continue doing derby but I'd rather deal with the situation now so that I don't have such a stop/start year this year.

A few posts ago I mentioned my new found derby friend BioniKate was doing interviews with skaters around the world. Not only were the interviews going up on her blog but they were also doing up on Derbylife's website. Don't believe me here's the proof ;) So if you would like to be world famous hehe check out Kate's blog for all the info and while you're at it check out her other posts, it's a good read. Also we're doing bit of a derby shirt exchange she's sending me a Nashville Roller Girls shirt and I'm sending her a HARD shirt, nothing like sharing a bit of derby love :)

I had my first write up for RDAU and it was on a a topic I know all too well about injuries!!! I got some good feedback from it which was encouraging. Hopefully it's the first of many. If anyone has any topics they would like to see discussed, drop us a line and I'm sure one of us will be able to tackle the issue.

Some dates are starting to pop up for intra league bouts - FINALLY! haha One bout I'm looking forward to going to is the season opener between NRDL's Fort Smashleys and the Harbour Hellcats. Whether I cover the bout for RDAU or do a review on my blog I'll be covering it regardless while cheering on the Smashleys! I can't wait :D

I hear Cherry's planning on taking us through hitting and blocking training on Friday night. Dear knee injury please heal by Friday night, pretty please with a cherry on top! I want to start learning how to hit and block on skates. I may as well start living up to my derby name :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Yesterday was (hopefully the first of many) OMGWTFBBQ co-hosted by Viva La Derby, Grand Slam TV and Roller Derby AU otherwise known as Team Media to say thanks to the derby community for their support last year and to kick start the derby calendar this year. Special mention goes to Derby Skates and Ghost Points who both made huge contributions towards the event which made it all the more a huge success so a big thanks to both of you :)

The BBQ was open to every man and his dog (quite literally someone did turn up with a dog which got lots of attention!) and despite the initial rain there was still a great turn out with people coming out from as far as Newcastle, Wollongong and even Orange. Throw a derby get together and they will come rain, hail or shine! It was a great sight watching everyone walk up the hill to congregate under the shelter armed with eskys and food. There was lots of mingling and it felt like one big derby reunion.

Grand Slam TV did some interviews on the day and one of them was with Roller Derby AU. Since I'm now part of RDAU I got asked to participate in the interview. I'm not proud to say it but I turned to jelly while having nightmare flashbacks of having to get up to the front of the class and do speeches back at school. I never imagined I'd be interviewed on a show that I've watched numerous times (and if you haven't watched it already, do so RIGHT now because you're missing out big time). I apologise in advance for my bit of the interview everything from my stance to the way I talked was all down to nerves, I'm not usually like that. I was kicking myself afterwards hoping I could have done it again. At least then I could have let it sink in that I was going to be interviewed and I wouldn't have been so crap! 

Nothing says fun like Slip 'n slide and thanks to Noms from VLD there was one there on the day. Considering the falls we take playing derby is it any surprise that there was no shortage of participants when it came to taking on this slip 'n slide which was going down a hill and was lathered with bubble bath? There was no shortage of laughs as people had varied success taking it on and no doubt there will be some great pictures. 

Whenever there's a derby related event on, a raffle is never too far behind as was the case here. The tickets were selling like hotcakes and it was no surprise when you saw what the prizes on offer were like the extremely rare Ghost Points Team Australia trucker hat (only one of four in existance). A massive thanks goes out to all the leagues and derby businesses that donated prizes to the raffle. It was a huge success! I won a prize and picked out the South Side Derby Dolls shirt which hasn't even been made available to the public yet so this was the temporary prize I got given  :D

GSTV provided rope for a game of tug and war. The rules were teams of three with each person coming from a different league to give people a chance to meet new people. I was with Noms and Womb Raider and we took on a team of Team Zebra I think it was. It got off to the funniest start when we pulled the rope and it snapped right in the middle leaving both sides tumbling everywhere haha. After Scott fixed it back up it was round two and after an initial struggle we beat the boys :D There were all sorts of challenges skaters vs Team Zebra, GSTV vs Ghostpoints, VLD vs RDAU, kids taking on each other and one on one challenges. There was lots of falls and people being dragged along the along the ground. It was great fun to watch and participate in. I actually challenged GodJilla to a duel and being a good sport she took me up on the offer. So it was fan girl vs favourite skater and after being an even contest Jilla slipped and I eventually won which resulted in big grins and a handshake. In delusions of grandeur if I can get Jilla on her arse again this time on a derby track I'll be pretty happy haha. Love ya Jilla!

The rest of the afternoon was really catching up with people and chillaxing and was a nice way to finish the day. Team Media considered the day a success and there was excellent feedback from those that turned up. There was talk amongst us about organising more of these events in the future. There are murmurings about possibly having one at The Great Southern Slam which would be massive. It was great just being involved and seeing everything go off without a hitch. I had a great time.

I ended up being given cool stuff like the ones in the picture below. The Team Australia one came with a beer in it thanks to Ghost Points. I put the beer to good use!

I'm also in the possession of an item that money can't buy. These shirts were already rare and it was thanks to Wayne at Derby Skates who made them for Team Media but I got all the Team Media guys to sign it too. This is going with my signed Fort Smashleys shirt.

Overall it was a great day out. I hope to do it again some time :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I can't believe it's not scrimmage

Personally speaking derby training on Sunday was pretty epic. I'm still grinning like an idiot just thinking about it :D

Blood Red Penny took us through training that night and got us to do various drills. One of them was walking around the track on our toe stops. This was my first attempt at doing them away from any walls to support me if I stumbled. Going ever so slowly I was managing to walk on my toe stops on the track without any support but I eventually stuffed up when I tried walking faster. Everyone else had pretty much managed to get around the track by the time I got around a 1/4 of the track. I got to the line that Red had set me to get to and joined the rest of the group feeling like the special kid in school as they all watched haha but stuff it I'm making progress and catching up on lost time which is what my goal is.

We ended up working on crab skating which got a laugh from me because I attempted crab skating for the first time on Friday night while holding onto the rail at Skatel but I could not get my back leg to generate any speed no matter how hard I tried. This time around I was attempting to do it while skating. I had a few attempts while skating round the track and sucked all three times but I was still happy that I even attempted to do it.

Then came THE moment. Cheya said we were doing scrimmage based exercises since we didn't have enough players to have a jammer for each side so we'd have to alternate. I asked sheepishly if I could join in and she said yes that I almost gave her a massive bear hug that I probably would have crushed her :D To me it made absolutely no difference that we were had to alternate jammers that it wasn't a 'proper' scrimmage this was going to my first ever scrimmage, no one was going to take that away from me. Full credit for the title of this post goes to my team mate Apple Ya'hair  who came up with the 'I can't believe it's not scrimmage' phrase when we were told it wasn't a full scrimmage. One year of waiting finally led to this moment, I was so excited that I almost stacked it and I was smiling so much that I was worried I might break my jaw hehe. Baley was also participating in her first scrimmage too which was great to experience with her even though we were on opposite teams. As we were getting ready to line up I was on the opposite team to Matron and she started with the trash talking so I gave it back to her. Yep I wasn't so shy anymore once I stepped on that track! Our side even talked about tactics before the first jam, could it possibly get anymore exciting before the first jam even started?

The second the first whistle starts everything changed. The atmosphere completely electrified and my heart was in my throat. I was trying to do my job at the front of the pack on the inside line and keep a wall while trying to stop the opposition from getting through while trying to avoid getting clipped by other skates. Until you scrimmage you really can't imagine what it's like. The constant turning around (this sport really is played 360°) to see where everyone is and what plays are being executed behind and around you. I made sure I was low as possible for all the jams I was in to avoid being taken out by a hit and boy did I feel it in my legs the next day. Since I spent a large chunk of last year on the sidelines I had very minimal scrimmage/hitting training (read - virtually none apart from the cat and mouse games with Cherry and one session of hitting practise while stationary) so I didn't try and force my way through the pack that much in case I unnecessarily injured any team mates, instead when I saw any gaps I went straight through them.

I tried getting in the way as much as possible but sticking my arse out or leaning into the opposition players and I managed to push a couple off the track. Of course there were stacks. I had three but I can't remember one of them. My first one happened when Baley stacked it in front of me and I tried lifting my left leg out of the way to avoid her but I couldn't do it in time and stacked it. I remember my left ankle bending like I was Gumby as I fell and thought 'ohh shit this isn't good' but I felt no pain even as I landed on my arse but I got up as quickly as I could and continued on my way. The other stack I remember was when Jodie tried getting through our wall and all I remember is she pushed past me on her way through that I somehow did a 180° turn and smacked the ground. I didn't feel any pain and got up right away. It must have been a decent stack because a few people quickly asked me if I was OK and it wasn't until I started skating that my right boob started hurting I must have landed on it when I stacked it. Needless to say when the jam ended I decided there and then to invest in turtle shell bras at the first chance I got, something tells me they'll be excellent investments! It helped a lot having experienced team mates like Apple and Hurt direct me and tell me what to do during a jam. I had no problems being vocal by yelling out where the opposition jammer was, poor Mon copped it right in the left ear when I started yelling out 'OUTSIDE, OUTSIDE' to try and stop the jammer from getting through. I've got no problem being vocal on the track but get me off the track and you'll be lucky to get a word out of me! I just remember that it felt like my senses were heightened that my skin was almost tingling while I was scrimmaging, there is so much stuff going on that everything you do needs to be by instinct because if you take too long to think about something it could cost your team points or throw strategies out the window. Ohh and when you fall you really have to bust a gut to catch up, not only that a two minute scrimmage feels like forever haha! There's so much I need to learn but I've had the taste of scrimmage  now that I'll do everything in my power to experience it again and i'll continue to work my arse off to be a better skater and player in a pack.

I feel as though I'm finally enjoying skating. Last year I had injury clouds and fear of picking up injuries that I was often scared to push and try new skills. Having that break over Christmas, going to Skatel and making some changes in my private life have all played a part in how I've approached this year with derby. I let my ankles heal and worked on strengthening them and it's paying off. I still have some soreness which is normal but I'm not nursing any injuries for the first time in a year that I'm finally able to just concentrate on skating and finally pushing myself to learn new skills instead of managing injuries and I swear it's one of the most amazing feelings I've had with derby. I would have killed to have had this feeling at least once last year when I was really struggling with injuries, not progressing and often in tears (which is pretty big for me since I hardly ever cry). Now that I'm finally in a happy place with derby it's also reflecting outside of derby as I have people telling me that I look a lot happier nowadays. I want this feeling to last as long as possible.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Apologies for the sudden post overload. I seem to have been overcome with inspiration to write lately. Last year was bit of a disaster for me and after getting bogged down in the negativity of all those injuries and constantly worrying about whether I'd pick up a new injury whenever I put my skates on I decided to sit down and examine where I currently was and where I wanted to be with derby.

At the end of last year I was pretty devestated that I didn't even get to scrimmage once at training last year. Considering I only had one training session at Corporal level before injury left me spending two months on the sidelines it's no surprise I didn't get to scrimmage last year so this led to my first change for the year. Instead of constantly living in fear of injuries I decided to focus all my energy and nerves into making this year my year. I know I'm not going to suddenly became an amazing skater, skating rings around everyone else, I will however skate outside my comfort zone and continually push myself plus I'll enjoy my time on skates this time around. Call me an eternal optimist but I'll still wear either my black or white Liverpool jersey to training and have the other coloured jersey in my bag on Sunday's JUST in case I get the tap on my shoulder to say I can finally join in on scrimmage :)

Changes outside of derby will have an impact on derby this year. First up I got offered a new job with more money so it meant I could quit my second job so no more working at night. The first thing I plan on doing is joining up for the beginner speed skating classes on Thursday nights at Skatel to improve my technique and speed. Next up I read this awesome blog post and reading the muscle imbalance section I realised last year that 99% of my exercise was derby related so to fix the imbalance I signed up to the gym where I'll be doing weights and cardio work to go with the training sessions I have with Suzie just to break it up a bit.

A problem I've had for a while is that I skate with my knees pointed inwards which of course causes the pain that runs down my right leg. My other problem is my ankles tend to roll out. Cherry gave me some tips at the end of last year to try and correct it and I've had to work continually at it to stop both of them from happening. When I skate I don't realise I'm even doing it. While I was going through some old pics to try and find some for BioniKate's interview series I could see it clear as day that I skate with my knees pointed in. Even now when I'm walking down the street I try and walk the way Cherry showed me to, I think it's helping.

I know it's early days but even just the first chance skating more positively and not constantly thinking about picking up another injury has made a difference. I know I'll never skate without some sort of soreness but I'm feeling better physically than I have for a long time. I'm actually enjoying myself and seeing how far I can push myself. It's the feeling I've been searching for for so long and hopefully long may it continue.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm ALIVE!!!!!

The further I go with derby the more my needs change with this blog. I'm no longer doing my blog for its original reasons so I'm changing with what I do with it. Instead of doing it once a week and having ridiculously long posts, I'll post whenever I feel the need to do it, so you might get a few shorts posts a week or lots of really long posts, either way it'll all be about derby.

Our training session was cancelled this Friday night because there was an annual indoor soccer comp at the venue we train at and they booked all the courts. The next best option? Heading to Skatel with some of my team mates! On Friday nights they allow kids with scooters and skateboards to go on the track. When I was paying my entry fee the lady warned me it was scooter night but that there wasn't too many of them. There was a shit load of them and they had set up little ramps all along the track, this was going to be interesting trying to avoid them. I met up Sarah and slowly more of my team mates turned up. We hit the track and tried skating while dodging the kamikaze kids on their scooters. It was actually proving to be great agility training. There was one really close call when this kid cut in front of me, we both tried getting out of each others way but we went in the same direction and were heading for a full on collision. It was too late for me to go anywhere else but forward so I braced myself. I got lower into the derby stance and was ready to take him out scooter and all with my shoulder but he somehow changed direction at the last second and we JUST missed each other, he probably shitted himself when he saw me bearing down on him and tried his best to get out of my way haha.

Some of my team mates tried their luck on the scooter ramps. Matron had a couple of good stacks but she got back up and kept going for it which was great to see and she ended up nailing some good jumps on the ramps, same too with Dobie. I would love to try skating on the ramps one day but I really need to improve my skating and for now my body is still made of glass so I want to strengthen it more before I try my luck on ramps.

I was working on two of my weaknesses: walking on my toe stops and transitions. Since I missed so much training last year because of injuries I'm still struggling to do some basic moves like these two things. Sarah and Dobie gave me some tips and I noticed the lower I got the easier it felt. I don't wear high heels so I'm not used to walking like that. Walking on my toe stops feels like I'm walking in high heels while squatting down on the loo and I probably look that graceful too :) While I'm not setting the world on fire yet I did manage to walk 7 steps before grabbing onto the wall. Up until tonight I couldn't walk two steps before grabbing onto the wall for dear life. As for transitions I haven't done them since February last year when I injured both my left ankle and knee in two seperate stacks while attempting to do them. I tried doing them while holding onto the rail but couldn't do them. I think I need to be taught again how to do them. I managed to get my legs into the crab skating position while holding onto the rail but I could not get my back leg to move to get any power out of it no matter how hard I tried. So I definately stepped out of my comfort zone tonight which made me really happy even if I didn't have too much success.

While I was skating Erin came up to me and asked me if I was happy to be skating again, I definately was then she said it was nice to see me back on skates which left me grinning inside and out. That was really nice of her. I really do have some great team mates :) Dobie and I had own little cat and mouse game going on, I tried using positional blocking on her when she tried to be past me and there were a couple of little hits from both of us, it was great fun!

Lastly I got to skate with Cherry again at Skatel, it has been a while since we got to do that. We continued our cat and mouse game. Honestly it's one of my favourite derby activities. I still don't know how to actually hit properly because I missed so much training last year so whenever Cherry carves into me all I usually do is try and counter her hit so that I'm not a sitting duck and get taken out by her. One time tonight she went to carve me and I went to hit her and got her upper arm with that sweet spot on your shoulder blade and it knocked her off balance for a couple of steps. I was absolutely chuffed that I got her and I didn't even hit her hard, it was more about positioning myself properly. I seriously love our cat and mouse games, it raises my heart beat, not in fear but excitement, and all I'm thinking is 'fucking come on'. I know she can be extremely intimidating on the track but I love going toe to toe with her, she brings out the competitive and fearless part of myself out and the shy me is nowhere to be seen :) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who needs relationships when you have derby love?

In terms of skating there's not much to write about, the illness I picked up over the weekend has started to fade away so I'm hoping to start exercising again tomorrow morning. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm itching to get running again and take up bike riding too despite the fact I'm extremely unfit and it's going to be a massive challenge. Maybe just maybe I'll eventually get back to the fitness levels I used to be at when I was ONCE fit and actually slim.

A problem of mine is that I tend to overthink, for example with derby I can't just sit down and watch a bout anymore. In between cheering on one of the sides I'm looking at what tactics are being used, whether skaters have particular habits, successful partnerships on the track, whether sides deviate from the order their jammers go on the track etc. I love derby so I'm always looking at what new things I can learn so maybe it's a good problem to have. Inspired by Team Zebra member Kernel Panic from SRDL who has been known to wear a camera on his helmet in bouts so I've been wondering what it would be like to see a scrimmage or a bout from a skaters POV. Sure the footage might feel like you're in the middle of the Blair Witch project movie and you might not know what's going on but there's also the chance that it might give you a good insight into what a skater might see on the track and how it might make them react in certain situations. I still haven't scrimmaged yet but I'm guessing what spectators see from the sideline is different to how skaters on the track see the game. It could very well be a great educational tool and it's one I'm considering in investing in.

I've had bit of a revelation over the last few weeks and it's been a good one too. When I started off with roller derby the only person I really knew was my sister, so add in my extreme shyness and being surrounded by women with strong personalities well I was quite frankly shit scared. Doing this blog has helped a lot with me being a little less shy. The blog has also opened the door to a world of endless possibilities which far exceeded my expectations. I've gotten a permanent writing gig with RDAU and from that I'm now part of the Team Media group which is made up of GSTV, RDAU and VLD. How amazing is that? The more I get involved the more I start to find my voice again and the shyness disappears a little more. I've got no inhibitions when I'm watching Liverpool play or I'm on skates so I would to be like that in 'normal' life too. With this personal progress I've made so far it feels as though that I need derby as much as I want to play it if that makes sense.

It's a little over a week away until THE event to kick off the roller derby season, that's right folks it's the OMGWTFBBQ! hosted by the Team Media collective. It's already going to be kick arse with lots of derby folk expected to come along. Trust me you'll want to come down because there will be lots of excellent stuff planned :) In a beautiful example of why I love the roller derby community so much, there's been no shortage of offers to help especially Wayne from Derby Skates who has donated a load of stuff and the awesome Ghost Points who have donated the bread rolls for the day. If that's not enough Aprilla the hun from SRDL even suggested we head down to Skatel for a skate after the bbq, how awesome is that, the chance to skate with skaters that I've seen bout before! It's going to be a massive day/night, you don't want to miss out!

The roller derby community while it might feel a little intense when you first join a league you quickly learn that it really does feel like a big family and at the first sign of trouble you'll no doubt be able to call on an army to cover your back. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor people will help out as much as they can with time, resources or both if someone needs help. Despite knowing that it doesn't mean I still don't get amazed when something amazingly awesome happens. Around the same time I posted my last post I get a message from Apollonia Thunderpussy from SRDL on behalf of the guys at Ghost Points. She said she spent most of the weekend going through my entire blog, not only that she liked my blog too. In one of my older posts I said I wanted to do the Warrior Dash race and Thunder encouraged me to do it, not knowing that I just posted that I was going to do the race. Then came the moment I almost fell off my chair - she was inspired by my blog that she wanted to offer me the Ghost Points Warrior Dash shirt. Holy crap, I was still trying to get over the shock that someone who has already bouted could be inspired by someone who hasn't even scrimmaged yet when I read she wanted to offer me a shirt. I must have looked like a fish unblinking and just opening and closing my mouth with no words coming out haha It was such an amazing gesture and one that I'll never forget the rest of my life, and I know I've told her before but thank you so very much for your kind words and offering me a shirt :D I'm looking forward to sharing beers and turkey legs with them. Ohh and if she wasn't awesome enough she also sent me a youtube clip on lacing up correctly to give my ankles extra support!

Despite not skating, it's been a pretty amazing week! I can't wait to go to training this week, hopefully fully focussed :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Baby, you're a star!

So first week back at training and it was bit of a mixed bag. Apart from being back at training the best bit about it was seeing Santina back on skates after breaking her ankle last year, and what a lovely sight it was :) As for me I'm stuck on what to do now. I've got a lot on my mind with stuff outside of derby, wait hang on a sec I have a life outside of derby, how dare I! haha. Now I know we need to leave our personal dramas at the door when we go to training but I wasn't having any luck with it on Friday night. Those that do derby know that not only do you need to be switched on physically you also need to do so mentally. This was the first time I've gone to training where I haven't been fully switched on and I noticed it right away. My body felt like it had a mind of its own and I didn't feel right on my skates. I stuck it out and trained with the main group for a while but I realised I was fighting a losing battle and headed over to the other court with Santina. If anything good came out of it it was being able to just skate and talk with Santina, she's had her own injury dramas but she's still so positive and still strives to reach her derby goals that you can't help but let that positive outlook rub off on you.

I hit Skatel on Saturday morning with Sarah and there were a few people and it was muggy as hell but I was more worried about whether or not I'd be able to skate fully focussed. Skatel has been a great place for me to improve my skating, there's no pressure there like there is at training, you just skate or do what you like. Although I was able to dodge the little kids as I skated past them I still couldn't shake the concerns out of my head so just like the previous evening I was skating rather lethargic and having to think about doing certain things instead of just doing them by instinct. I even struggled doing the hydrant moves, it felt like I forgot how to do them that I overthought about them that I kept missing the opportunity to do them, the stupid thing is I managed to do them the night before. So I don't know what to do. I don't want to injure my team mates or myself because I'm not concentrating 100% but I'm equally annoyed at the thought of not skating and stopping me from achieving my derby goals. Injury wise I'm feeling better than I have for months but mentally not so great. Why does every single step I've taken so far feel like such a massive challenge? What can't I just catch a break for once? (and by break I don't mean a broken bone).

Although I tried ignoring the warning signs yesterday ie: sore throat and blocked nose there was no denying it this morning when I woke up with a fever and completely sapped of energy that I was sick so that meant no training for me tonight which pissed me off. Even when I was injured I'd go to training whether to watch, help out or take photos because I love hanging around my team mates and I love derby. When you're sick you can't be selfish and pass it onto your team mates so it's best to stay away even though the thought of it sucks, so I spent the day in bed sucking on Vicks Vapodrops from time to time, it doesn't get more interesting than that ;)

I've been talked into doing the Warrior Dash race next month by my trainer Suzie. I'm starting with zero training only a month out from the race so it's going to be a massive challenge just to complete it on my first attempt which is my target. Next year I can focus on beating whatever time I get this year. I'll be joined by my team mate Baley. Her and I have struggled through derby together so it makes sense to struggle through Warrior Dash together :) Seriously though it's good to do the race alongside someone else because I find it'll push me on and not quit. The good folks at Ghost Points have also designed a shirt for the day for all the derby peeps who will be doing the race. Not only is it a great design but you can get your derby name and number on it too, what's not to like?

Lastly the reason behind the title of this post. It didn't take me long to figure out that most derby folk love having their picture taken and/or do interviews so this bit may interest most of you plus you would also be helping out a fellow derby member. I came across BioniKate from the Nashville Revolutionaries Recreational Roller Derby league after reading some of her articles on the Derbylife website and from there I came across her blog. Kate's currently doing a interview series with skaters from all over the world. It doesn't matter whether you're just starting out, not known outside of your own league or you're well known it's aimed at skaters from all levels. Not only will you be featured on her blog you will also be featured on derbylife so get typing and send her your replies :) All the info can be found here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting the year with a bang.

I hope you've all had a good Christmas and New Year! Has anyone had any derby withdrawl symptoms or have you been getting your skate on with some street skating? I know some people have New Year resolutions but I've never kept one in my entire life so I've instead come up with a list of goals I want to try and achieve this year with derby.

1. Learn to walk and then run on my toe stops.
2. Learn how to do the transition move.
3. Scrimmage.
4. Bout by my birthday in October.
5. Hopefully not to suck too much at being an assistant benchie for the first time in my life.

In my last post I was pretty shitty and frustrated with derby and my lack of progress. Thankfully my annual trip with Chris came up in time as we headed out of Sydney and to our usual destination for a few days. Even better he's a qualified psychologist so I got to vent to him the poor bastard haha. I got it all out of my system and ended up doing a bit of off skate training by hitting the beach to try and get my fitness levels up before derby training resumes this Friday. Back at home I've been getting a good work out at the park by this tank as he takes me for a walk and run :)

I finally got to skate today as I headed over to Skatel and it was completely empty for most of the session so I got to even skate in the 'wrong' direction to break it up a bit. I've got the hang of my new skates now it feels like I've been skating on them for ages, I just to have work on the blisters I'm getting with these new boots. The plates are SO responsive. I've got the reactor plates, yeah they might have cost extra but it's proving to be an excellent investment so far. I was working on weaving and the turning circle is so much more smaller than my other plates. This is what my new Liverpool inspired skates look like

When I go to Skatel I go fully geared except for a mouth guard, I may look like a dork especially since none of the little kids wear any safety gear but this time it proved to be a blessing. I was practising can openers and imagining I was doing them on Cherry when on one of my attempts I leaned too far back and ended up parallel to the floor and landed on my back and hit the back of my head on the concrete floor. My lower back and the back of my head are still hurting so it could have been worse if I wasn't wearing a helmet. I know that this year the training will intensify and I'm going to attempt to learn new skills so there will more than likely be plenty of falls along the way but I didn't even last 2 days into the new year without getting hurt so much for hoping to minimise injuries this year! I accept that I'll be in a world of hurt this year after all this is roller derby and in this world you can't let fear get the better of you so I attempted another can opener in the same spot that I stacked it and did it stack free this time :)

I have a plan. This year I turn 30. I'm one of those people who really couldn't care less about my age because to me it's just a number, it doesn't mean I won't use it as an excuse to do something I really want to do though! I'm thinking of going overseas to Liverpool for a few weeks!! I'd happily miss out on having a 30th birthday party but it would also mean having to miss out on going to the Great Southern Slam and Rollercon which will suck because they're two big roller derby events happening in Australia this year that I wanted to go to. Of course it all comes down to whether or not I can save enough money in time and get the time off work. I would love to catch up with some of my friend's again, watch another Liverpool match and spend time in a city that I consider 'home'. This time though it would have the added advantage of roller derby. If I do go I'd love to have a training session with either or all of the Liverpool Roller Birds, Preston Roller Girls, Wirral Whipiteres Roller Derby leagues. How awesome would that be! It also serves as extra motivation for training so that I'd be at a decent level before I trained with another league.

So derby training resumes this week for us. I won't lie there's a bit of nerves because I know it's going to be a lot more harder this year if I want to make the step up to scrimmaging and bouting. I've discovered a bit of mental strength the last couple of months to continue pushing on even when it sucks and thoughts of quitting run through my head (one of the unfortunate symptoms of being a bottler all my adult life) so hopefully that'll help me the next few months.