Monday, March 19, 2012

Smash you very much

So I went up to Newy to watch the opening match of the season between the Fort Smashleys and Harbour Hellcats (I'm hoping to finish the write up after this post). Here's a funny fact. I've lived in Sydney all my life BUT I've been to more Newy bouts than I've been to ALL bouts I've gone to in the Sydney area. Plus I think it's probably a sign I've been to too many of their bouts when I go line up to get my media pass while lining up in the general admission line and I haven't even opened my mouth but they already know who I am and give me a media release form :)

I sat and watched the bout with Big Kahuna and had an amazing time. It was great chatting with him about all things derby, he's a funny bugger so I had a few laughs too. It was also great hearing his insights during the bout and picked up a few new things in terms of strategy. Hopefully I'll get to watch a bout with him again in the future.

I also had two of my team mates come up to watch a Newy bout for the first time with Hayley and Keiryn making the trip up. It was funny hearing Keiryn's reaction about being slightly worried coming up against them as they play more physical than SRDL. I know I'd get slaughtered by Newy on the track but fuck it I can't wait to come up against them one day and then have a beer with them afterwards!

As for the bout itself it will go down as one of my all time favourite bouts. Neither side had a 14 player squad due to injuries so the bout got scrappy as tiredness kicked in but I was equally amazed and excited at the same time by the fitness and determination that both sides showed to got right up until the final whistle. I swear just when I thought I couldn't love them anymore they go and surprise me again. Read my write up when it gets uploaded there's heaps of other goodies I'll mention about the night. I'll give you one more nugget of info guess who jammed multiple times at the bout, yep Jilla! I haven't seen her jam since the very first bout I ever went to in October 2010 and it was an awesome sight to behold. (Pics courtesy of the Nav Man). When I grow up I want to be as good as her!

AND an amazing shot of her leaving blockers in her wake!

So I have an open invitation to train with Newy but I'll cash that in when my skating improves. I'm working on another thing. I've talked Newy up to my team mates and we've already had other leagues scrimmage and train with us so along with our head trainer Lola I'm trying to get Newy to come and scrimmage with us some time this year *cough* hopefully one of the skaters coming down would be Jilla :) *cough*

As for me after seemingly progressing the last few weeks I felt like I stagnated last week at training on both nights. I knew the progress wasn't going to last forever so I'll deal with that so that the progress can kickstart again. I'm officially ruled out of bouting in our first intraleague bout in May/June. I need to be a Corporal level 2 for at least 8 weeks before I can attempt the Sergeants test and I'm a Corporal level 1 with less than 3 weeks before the exam. Watching the scrimmage last night which had members from CCRG and SRDL in it too I *knew* that if I was in that scrimmage I wouldn't have survived so I'm not up to that level. So here's my master plan. I've had enough of talking about my derby dreams. Talk is cheap and I want to do my 'talking' on the track instead of writing about it. I flirted with it before Christmas last year but I'm officially calling it quits with this blog starting tonight. I'm putting all my focus into training to make sure I'm bouting this year. I'll stick with the RDAU write up's only because I learn more about the game by doing them. I'll update my progress as status updates on my Facebook page but that's about it.

To the people that have read this and the friend's that I've made from this blog SMASH YOU VERY MUCH and hopefully see you on the derby track sometime soon!

Sylv aka Lisbeth Slammed-her.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One and only chance

It dawned on me today that I have less time than I thought if I want to have any chance of bouting in our first intraleague bout in May/June. I've only got one shot to pass the Sergeant's test before the bout. If I flunk it the next lot of Sergeants tests will be after the bout. If that wasn't challenging enough, I'm currently a Corporal level 1 which means I can do more advanced drills and scrimmaged based exercises but I can't scrimmage yet. I'm not complaining because I don't feel as though I'm ready to step up to Corporal level 2 yet. So basically I'm asking myself to become a Corporal level 2 and pass my Sergeant test by the 13th-15th April when the tests are scheduled.

The realistic part of me is thinking this is all WAY too ambitious especially with all the injury dramas I've had since I started derby last year and most rational people would probably agree. The thing is that fighter part of me that's starting to re-emerge again for the first time in years is thinking fuck it just go for it and see what happens so I'm going to be irrational for once.

I gave everything I had to pass my Corporal the second time around but I'm going to have work harder still this time around as there's more that's required to pass this level. My trainer Suzie has become a drill Sergeant (pardon the pun). I sent her the list of things I'll be assessed on so after giving her a demo on each skill so she could see which muscles were being used for them she's gearing my training sessions towards strengthening my body for the test. Also, she's put me on a food and exercise plan (off skates) to keep me on track so that I don't stray so this shit got real folks.

I'm also planning on going up to Newcastle for some of their Saturday morning social skates in the hope that Cass can work her magic again and teach me how to do transitions this time around. So I'm leaving no stone unturned in this quest to try and pass the test next month.

I know my original goal this year was to be bouting by my birthday in October and there's more chance of me failing than passing next month despite everything I'll be doing on and off the track this next month but this felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. If I flunk of course there will be some disappointment, no one likes to fail but I don't want to have any regrets or leave anything in the tank. I want to know that I did everything I could to try and pass.

Stayed tuned over the next month for lots of smiles and swearing in frustration from me :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Smiling so much your jaw hurts

I thought I'd open up with some good news, we've gotten a new member in our league. Leah has come over from WSR and I was really excited by this news because when I first started derby last year with WSR Leah was one of the first people I met. She's a lovely person and I kept in contact with her when I switched over to HARD. Leah also bouted last year so we're getting more experience come into our ranks which is always great to have. Hopefully you enjoy your time here with us Leah and welcome to HARD :D

Yesterday was my first proper training session since I injured the ligaments in my right knee over a month ago. To say I was completely knackered by the end of it would be an understatement but at least I know I gave it everything I had. We started off with a 20 minute endurance and the aim was to skate 80 laps in 20 minutes. I wanted to see how close I could get to the mark but my legs really started to tire out and the best I could do was 65 laps. That gives me a starting point so the goal is to improve on that next time. Jacqui absolutely smashed it and got 95 laps, well done mate :)

After getting our breath back it was onto manouvering a carve in between Poz and Cherry who were stationary and then quickly going into a snowplough all while making sure we didn't go out of bounds off the track. I stuffed up a few times but I was carving on my favourite side and managed to pull off a few decent ones. We then switched to have moving targets with Cheya and Cherry. It was so much easier to do when the targets were skating and I'm pretty sure I did it correctly. The funny thing was this was the first time I've carved Cherry every other time whether it be Skatel or training she's done it to me. My problem was that I was afraid I wasn't going to come in correctly and that I'd end up clipping the other person's skates and go splat on the ground. This time though I wasn't even scared and just went for it each time and would you believe it I made contact with Cherry (nothing that would knock her over) each time I carved her and the contact didn't threaten to make me stack it. Each time I did it correctly and then skated around to do the drill again I did a little fist pump and broke out a grin because I was doing the drill correctly :) After the endurance though I felt as though I was going to hurl and that feeling came back so when we had to do the drill carving from the opposite leg I went to the side and held onto the goalpost trying to stop myself from hurling and it worked. I wasn't ready for the night to end yet.

We moved onto trying to push a wall of blockers out the way to create a gap for your imaginary jammer to get through. When it came to me doing the pushing I locked myself into the right position on the first blocker in the wall and just pushed. My problem is whenever I do these kind of exercises I get too excited and keep pushing until they're well off the track which you can't do in a bout otherwise you'll get penalised. When it came to me being part of the wall that was supposed to get pushed out of the way my other problem came to surface. When it comes to me being on the receiving end of a hit I can't just be a sitting duck otherwise I'll go flying from the impact so I always put up some resistance the only problem is that it's as subtle as a sledgehammer so most times I'm usually pushing the person hitting me more than they're pushing me, oops! So basically whenever I was on the inside line I'd push back so the person in the middle would get sandwiched.

Poor Candy had to try and get passed our wall of three which consisted of Lauren, Jacqui and I and she had absolutely no luck through our wall we held strong. Hopefully we'll get the chance to replicate that in a bout situation. When I came up against Cherry I started pushing against her but I didn't get my foot in front of her (a common problem I have) so she got in front of me and was able to push me off. I did get an almighty massive complement from her she did tell me about getting my foot in front but that I had strength. Coming from someone who knocks people over like bowling pins on the derby track for fun it left me grinning like an idiot again :)

We were doing scrimmage based exercises with everyone having a go at pivot and jammer at least once. Cherry put me in the opposite team to her because she knew I'd enjoy coming against her, she knows me too well haha. My legs were gone by this stage it felt as though someone was physically holding them back so it was harder to skate. Keiryn and I were discussing strategies which I absolutely loved even though I was mostly listening. We started off minimal amount of blockers and worked our way up with more blockers as the night progressed which was good because it meant we could change tactics as required. A few things I noticed especially when I'm covering the inside line and going around the bend I often get caught out because I drift too far in and leave a gap for them to get passed me on the inside line. Next thing I noticed even when I was playing pivot some of it may have had to do with tiredness but I would drift to the back of the pack and play the sweeper role, I think that's the fullback in me from all the soccer I played coming out also. I can't really unlock a wall or be more attacking in a pack I find getting in way and being more defensive a lot easier which is another reason I enjoy playing at the back of the pack. Also when I'm at the back I find it easier to read the pack and direct my blockers or yell out where the opposing jammer is. I did have a moment where I was at the back of the pack when Cherry was jamming instead of thinking OMG OMG fangirl moment Cherry is coming towards me instead I got down even lower and thought I'm going to try and stop you getting through. One time I stepped in front of her and she went straight into the back of me, it certainly didn't tickle haha. I did love the challenge of trying to stop her.

I know I'm never going to be a derby superstar and I never joined the sport under those pretences. My goal instead is to be the Dirk Kuyt of HARD (he's a Liverpool player read and watch up on him) not the most technically gifted player, but a dependable workhorse type of player who pops up for the important moments when required. I feel as though I'm progressing. I still have a LONG way to go to see whether or not I'll make the grade in time for our first intraleague bout in May/June. One thing I do know is I'm going to give it my all and not be left wondering whether I could have done more.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let the games begin

Hello! It's been a few weeks since I last posted. Have you missed me :P It has certainly been an eventful few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago we had our first annual awards night/birthday bash at the Hawkesbury Hotel. It was a nice chance to socalise with fellow team mates away from the derby track. We had a good turnout and a good time was had by all. There were some funny awards amongst the more serious ones . Instead of a trophy the winners for each category received a set of customised dog tags with their derby name and what category they won. I got surprised not once but twice! I got runner up in Hero of the year and won NSO of the year. The NSO award wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't of been injured so much last year haha but seriously I learnt so much about rules and the game in general from doing all the NSO duties. Being runner up in the hero award meant a lot to me that my team mates thought so highly of me. I was made up that Santina won it not only did she come back from a serious knee injury, she also came back from a broken ankle that's just freaking amazing. I've worn my dog tags every day since I won it. I'm proud as punch to have won it and it just reminds to keep working harder because it'll eventually pay off in the end, I can feel it.

I've been testing my injured knee out the last few weeks at training. On my first attempt I managed to get through a 30 minutes endurance skate (with a lot of help from Lauren who skated in front of me towards the end when my knee was hurting like hell so all I focussed on was following her and it worked) but my knee couldn't handle any more skating for the night so I called it quits for the night and iced it on the sidelines. My second attempt last Friday was not so great, I was skating by myself on the court taking it easy when all of a sudden I got tripped by something and hit the floor on my injured knee. The culprit was a piece of cable tie that some dickhead left on the floor and I tried skating it out but the sharp stabbing pain in my knee kept getting worse and I had to stop.

Last night I had one of my best ever derby moments to date. I was skating on the other court testing my knee out while the rest of my team mates trained on the other court. I was also testing out new wheels the Radar Zodiacs which are narrower than any other wheel I've skated on so I was trying to get the hang of that. Later on I joined the rest of my team mates to train with them and test my knee out. Thanks to Cheya I finally learnt how to carve properly, thanks Cheya!!! We then had to go in pairs with one person attempting to carve the other. I paired up with Jacqui and it didn't take long to work out that neither of us know the meaning of going easy we both went for it when it was our turn haha.

We also did a drill where there was a wall of 2 blockers at the front with an opposing jammer and blocker to help try and assist them past the wall. Everyone had a turn at all the roles. I found it easier being a defensive blocker trying to stop them getting through although I still got caught out by the jammer getting passed me on the inside grrr. I've hardly done any work trying to get through a wall so I wasn't much help for my jammer in those occassions. I got to jam for the second time in my life and this time Cherrry wasn't there to stop me so maybe I had a chance of getting through. Jodie was frigging amazing as she made space for me and tried distracting the blockers and it worked I managed to find spots and went past them about three times. It was only a training drill and I may have gotten a little excited and maybe pumped my fist a couple of times in the air but stuff it, I finally played jammer and got through a pack for the first time, that's progress for me so I was happy. If I get that happy doing a training drill I dread to think how I'll be when I finally bout haha.

If that wasn't amazing enough we did the drill one final time with Jacqui and I as the blockers at the front, Jodie was the jammer with Gina assisting her. For those that don't know Jodie is a tricky customer she has speed and excellent agility so she's hard to contain. One time Jacqui and I left a gap in the wall straight up the middle as we were coming around the bend. I was trying to stop from getting passed me on the inside line but she ended up charging through the gap in the middle. You know that instant when you just know that if you go to do a hit on someone but you'll end up being taken out if you do it? In that split second you need to decide whether to go through with it or pull out of the hit at the last second. I thought fuck it and just threw my body in front of her to try and stop her. At the same time I was coming in from the left, Jacqui was coming in with a hit from the right so poor Jodie got absolutely squashed by the two of us at the same time. Not only was that the first time I've hit someone on skates it was a legal hit too. I gave Jacqui a hug for the nice bit of team work. Jacqui said we should name the hit so I thought about combining our derby names Fear my Phat and Lisbeth Slammed-her and call it the Phat Slam, and with that a new signature move was born!

I don't know what it is about this sport for one it has turned me into a massive cry baby. I've lost count of how many times I've cried from either frustration or anger from another injury. This sport has given me some amazing highs but also its fair share of crushing lows. It's taken me a lot longer than most people to try and progress due to the injuries so most days it feels like groundhog day. I can't remember the last time I've wanted or fought for something so bad as I do with roller derby so at this stage I have no 'plan b'. I'm putting everything I have into progressing through the ranks so that I can bout not just in my own league but against my other fav league too.

I'm happy to say we have a skater from the UK training with us for 6 months while she studies over here. A big welcome to Ellen, hopefully you enjoy your time with us :) The added bonus is that she pronounces derby the same way I do so now none of my team mates can give me any stick about it nah-nah!

Lastly there's talk about us having an intraleague bout around May/June if we have another skaters at the correct level to bout. I know at this stage my chance is about 10000000000000000000 to 1 and it's probably unlikely I'll be ready by then but fuck it, I'm going to give it my all and give myself the best chance of making that happen. I've already gone into lockdown mode so all I'm thinking is May/June. I've had some family and friend's tell me that want to see me bout plus I've also had a monster of a skater tell me she wants to come watch me bout so whether it happens sooner or later, it'll happen and I want to make sure I'm ready when the chance arises.