Thursday, May 31, 2012

When doing nothing is the most sensible thing to do

My shoulder injury has been getting better. I've been putting it through tests like air drumming to punk and metal songs and I haven't felt any pain so that's a good thing. Around the same time I injured my back and it wasn't even from derby. It was at work and I had to fill in for the delivery driver who was off sick. I had to lug some portable air con's up the stair's for the customer. I didn't ask for help, when I really should have because I struggled lifting them up so of course I ended up hurting my back. After all the injury problems I've had since I started derby this incident finally broke me. I knew I was going to have to spend another spell on the sidelines and then play catch up AGAIN. The amount of injuries I've had to date from derby is beyond ridiculous, some were just bad luck but most of them came down to me. I did some soul searching and tried to work out what I was doing that was making me so self destructive. For most of my life I've never liked to be perceived as weak, whether it was keeping everything inside, not crying in front of others, having to prove to everyone that I could do anything and wasn't a piker. I did it all, but by showing how 'tough and strong' I was I ended up actually making myself weaker and my body kept breaking down. You only have to look at the sport we play, we got knocked down, we get back up. I've seen skaters grimmacing in pain from a big hit or fall during a bout and somehow continue on. You have to be strong on one level to keep taking the hits otherwise you'll be too scared to take a hit which isn't the right attitude to have. I need to work on finding the line between 'toughen up princess' and knowing I'm injured. I'm not going to get it right from the get go but if I don't change my outlook I'm forever going to be stuck in this cycle of never progressing far enough to be able to actually bout because my body keeps breaking down. I've been off skates the past few weeks and I finally got to see the physio. Apparently I've got muscular strain in my back. I've been following her orders and if all goes well I'll be back on skates next Friday night.

While I've been off skates I've been going to some of our training sessions to watch and it's amazing how much you can really see on the sidelines. It's been amazing to see the progress of some of our skaters whether it's the more established skaters scrimmaging for the first time or the freshies who started recently. I swear some of them are already better than me. It'll only be a matter of time before you see the likes of Foggy, Shorley Tremble, Fear my Phat, Posh Deck'em, Butter Scream and Punkie Brawlstar bouting for us soon and they're all going to be awesome. I'm proud of my league and how far we've come in the short space of time. I want to achieve everything I can with them whether it's competing at TGSS or competing in a best of three series with NRDL (I'm going to pester both sides until they cave in hehe). I can't wait for the day I represent HARD on the track, it'll mean a lot to me. 

I went to the NRDL Smashleys vs Hellcats bout a couple of weeks ago with a few of my team mates. I ended up sitting next to CCRG El Presidente Sir Gestive while I was taking notes for the write up. He was great fun to watch the bout with. I laughed a lot :D The bout itself was great to watch. I picked up a few new things and got to see Jilla jam again which is always lots of fun. A while back I said on this blog that the next Newy bout I was going to work up the courage to go up to Brigand Strong and tell her how amazing a skater I thought she was. Well I worked up the courage but she wasn't even bouting that night, so epic fail on that wish! I've since discovered that she's as shy as me so this is going to make for an interesting intro next time I'm up there to watch a Newy bout hehe.

So why all the fascination with Brigand Strong? Newy are blessed with lots of kick arse skaters in their league. I came to this realisation the more Newy bouts I started watching. I remembered the first bit of advice that Jilla ever gave me when she said not to pigeon hole myself into one position for derby. It hit home when I started paying attention to both sides and not just the Smashleys. Although she's a Hellcat, Brigand Strong's performance were catching my eye. She was tall but built enough to be able to take a hit and dish one out with interest. She could also block AND jam equally effective which made her the complete player. That was the moment I started changing my own goals where instead of just wanting to be a good blocker, I wanted to be a good allrounder so that if I was ever needed to jam for my team, I'd be able to step up. Yeah I wouldn't be like Winnie Bruise but I wanted to be able to do the job. I could also relate to not being one of the big personalities on the track. People might not notice Brigand Strong because she's not one of the loud ones but you can bet your bottom dollar if she wasn't playing she'd be sorely missed by the Hellcats or the Dames. If anyone was ever going to threaten to break up the big two that is Cherry and Jilla, it would be Brigand Strong. OHHHH big call, right? haha. That's how awesome of a skater I think she is :)     

Monday, May 14, 2012

Winners are grinners

Training was cool, frustrating and painful all rolled into one on Friday night. I got bit of a reality check when we practising carving. When I was the one being carved I realised that some of my team mates have really improved a shitload and weren't having too much difficulty pushing me off the track, so that was a lesson for me to keep working hard at improving my game or I'll be a complete walkover on the track.

We were practising slides up and down the court and then going straight into a push up or sit up depending on which side of the court we were at. My only problem was doing the push up's because of my injured shoulder but I think the adrenaline was kicking in so the pain wasn't too bad. While doing a single knee slide and going straight into a sit up my left skate accidently used my right shin as a brake so now I've got a lumpy bruise on my shin with a graze running across the bruise from the wheel. Very hardcore :P

Towards the end of the night Matron was running us through paceline drills and we had to weave through it both front and back. Due to all the injuries I've had this was only the second time I've attempted to weave through a paceline. I thought I did ok but I also realised how tight you need to skate through the paceline because if you overskate it you go flying out of bounds and lose all momentum. Lots of short, sharp steps, got it. I just need to execute it on the track. The interesting part came when we had to weave in pairs. I was with Matron and she was really helpful because I'd never weaved in pairs through a paceline before, so my timing was pretty shite that Matron had to grab me and push me through at the right moment which was all good but then Jacqui went straight past me that I thought we were going to smash into each other so I hestitated. Matron said 'trust me' and went to push me past Jacqui but then I stacked it right onto my injured left shoulder and that was the end of my night. Good thing it happened right at the end. It looks like I'm going to have to go back to the physio who fixed my knee and ankle injuries last year. Dammit I was really hoping to avoid going back there for as long as I could.

Last week my favourite footballer Neil Mellor was forced to retire from the game due to ongoing knee problems. Big deal you say and none of you would even know him. It did make me think though. I've had similar knee problems to what he had and he had professional doctors and physio's looking after him and he still had to retire so what does that say about my situation? Is this as good as it gets for me? Are constant injuries and setbacks all I have to look forward to because no matter how hard I push myself and how badly I want to be good enough to progress and eventually bout my body can't cope with the demands of the sport. This is an ongoing internal battle I've had with myself ever since I picked up my first derby injury last year. Maybe it's just my bad habit of thinking the worst of a situation that's keeping this negative thought stuck in my head. If I ever had to quit derby for whatever reason I would want it to be my own decision and not out of my hands ie: derby ending injury etc. I don't know how most people find the demands of derby but the mental aspect of it really has a big impact on me. What to do?

On the flip side I had a frigging amazing day on Sunday. Thanks to the persistance of my trainer Suzie I entered the 4km Mother's Day Classic race at Parra Park. I didn't get too much running training in the lead up to the race and I hadn't competed in a race since I was in high school so I was expecting the worse. during the first kilometre my legs already started feeling the effects of jogging so I started walking a bit but then I eventually thought sod this and started jogging again. When I came up to 2km mark I thought I'd attempt to try and jog until the next kilometre without slowing down to a walking pace and would you believe it I did, then I thought I'd try the same for the next kilometre but I kept at it and ended up jogging right up until the finish line which completely surprised me. During all this I noticed a girl about the same size as me and around my age. I ran past her initially but then she overtook me and then started walking so that I caught up to her again but then she started running ahead of me and then walked for a while again. The funny thing was I caught her a few times looking back in my direction and would start running again when I caught up to her. I sensed a challenge and I'm extremely competitive so it was on like Donkey Kong. My only goal was to finish in front of her. We kept up the cat and mouse games right up until the end and as we were coming up to the straight leading to the finish line I thought screw you and I ran as fast as I could that my legs lost all normal feeling, and went all jelly like. Not only did I kick her arse, I also beat the time my trainer set me which was 40 minutes. I got 35mins 47 seconds so I was doubly chuffed and proud of myself which is a rarity for me because I'm extremely hard on myself. If I was able to achieve this with hardly any training imagine what I could achieve now that I'm taking up running again! I think the endurance laps we do at derby training probably helped me in the race. Apart from general soreness in my legs and back from running, I didn't pick up any injuries HOORAY! Although this wasn't a derby event, this result gave me a bit of confidence and hope that maybe just maybe my body might hold out so that I can bout one day. Winners are grinners!

So the plagiarism dramas with Central Coast Grandstand are partially sorted. Pepa sent a great, professional e-mail to them last Friday and one of the journo's replied back apologising for what happened. Whether we get a proper apology in the paper from them remains to be seen. That fuckwit Val Bridge who stole my work has yet to apologise so I'll be sending him a message telling him what I really think but keep it in a professional manner. Once again I just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who helped or offered to help. I was overwhelmed by the support. I guess it goes to show you mess with one derby girl you mess with us all :)

Everyone knows I love the tactical side of derby but judging by some of the crowd responses at the WIRD vs VRDL bout especially with the scrum starts not everyone is a fan. Maybe if enough people complain about the slow starts WFTDA may change the rules. I suppose the slow starts aren't terribly entertaining to watch but a part of me likes seeing the two sides make the most of the situation and get into the best position for their next tactical move. From these scrum starts we've seen new tactics form like the T-bone start so it can't be all that bad as it allows leagues to come up with new tactics. It allows the sport to keep evolving which gets a big thumbs up from me.

I'm looking forward to Saturday night. I'm going on a short road trip with some of my team mates to watch the NRDL intraleague bout between the Fort Smashleys and the Harbour Hellcats. Once again I'll be doing the write up for those who can't make it but it'll also be my last bout write up for a while so expect a killer write up (hopefully!).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blah, blah, derby, blah

I'm currently nursing some battle wounds from training over a week ago. I injured my right ankle and left shoulder in two stacks on different nights. My right ankle is feeling ok, I guess the true test will be to see how it pulls up at training on Friday night. My left shoulder seems to be getting worse in terms of pains and the restriction I'm getting in my arm. Being left handed I'm fairly reliant on it so that hasn't helped with the recovery. If there's any consolation it's that the stacks happened from pushing myself at training during various drills. Hopefully the stacks and injuries decrease in time the better I get on my skates.

Although I still feel like I'm stuck in a rut progress wise, I've been doing things behind the scenes to try and help me make the next step up. I started speed skating classes. Although all the stuff is coming from an inline skaters perspective I've disocovered that making even the slightest changes in technique could possibly make a big difference on the derby track so I'm excited about getting to as many classes as possible. My trainer Suzie has been pretty awesome in tailoring my sessions with her to mimic movements in derby and doing core work which has all been great for derby. I'm starting a non-derby fitness project which will HOPEFULLY come to fruition next year depending on whether everything works out. Put it this way I want this as badly as I want to play derby. The good thing is that the benefits from this project will help me out with derby too so it's a win-win situation. Lastly I'm extremely fortunate to be getting a lot of mentor type help from Cherry both on and off the track. She's been a great help so far and I'm really greatful for all her help so far.

I mentioned on Facebook a few weeks back that I wanted to do an experiment with skates and test the difference between traditional skating boots vs football boots in terms of agility, ankle support etc. I was initially going to go with the ones I used for indoor soccer but the sole is too flexible that it would require too much re-inforcing before putting it on a plate. My other option is to go with the ones I use for outdoor soccer because they have the hard plastic sole but it would mean having to grind down the studs before getting them on plates. Here's a pic of what I'm talking about, yep I'm old school when it comes to football boots, none of this synthetic, brightly coloured crap that some people wear nowadays :)

This boot dream of mine has been delayed for the time being, only because I'm trying to look after myself. They would be a lower cut then my current skates so I have to keep my into consideration my dodgy ankles. So I'll put this into plan when I pass my next level in derby which is Sargeant and it would mean I could bout intraleague. It would also mean that I would have been injury-free long enough to be able to progress so my ankles should be stronger by that stage too. I just need to find someone who could grind them down enough without stuffing up the boot and making sure the plate will fit square on the boot. I know a few skaters from WIRD have this set up so I might ask them.

I went to Roller derby heaven for the first time and bought some stuff. One of them being a proper skate bag. I got the Antik one but the funny thing is I don't even own a pair of Antik's. I do have Gumballs on my skates, does that count :P De-Bri (who also skates with NRDL and is in the kick arse Fort Smashleys) was really helpful and I'd highly recommend going there if you need derby gear. I ordered myself a set of arm bands which now serve as extra motivation to get my arse into gear so that I can get competant enough to scrimmage so that I can use these suckers.

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute roller coaster in terms of my bout write up's I do for RDAU. I got my first constructive criticism about my write up's at the WIRD vs VRDL bout by someone I know. They told me they thought my write up's were too detailed and long for them. I'm not going to lie I was slightly crushed when I got told that because up until then all the feedback I got was positive so I thought I was doing a good job. The reality is not everyone's got to like the things you do so I went away and thought about it. Yep I know my write's up are on the long side. I've got absolutely no background in journalism so I had no idea what I was doing when I started these write up's. I tell these write up's from my perspective so all the strategy and detailed info is stuff that I watch out for in bouts so it's heavily featured in my write up's. Plus I'm also trying to re-create the bout for people who couldn't make it or the skaters who can't remember because they're...well bouting of course. I've decided that yes I could probably make it a little less detailed but I'm not going to change my writing 'style', that's just the way I write. If enough people don't like it and mention it to RDAU then they could get someone else to do it and there would be no hard feelings from me, I did the best I could.

I must admit I am missing the experience of just going to a bout and watching it as a fan without being worried about making notes for a write up. I've got the NRDL bout on the 19th lined up as a definate write up but after that nothing set in stone. The last time I just watched a bout was in August last year so I'm thinking after this next Newy bout I'll go to a few bouts and just watch, starting with the WIRD bout on the 26th May. I plan on watching a Newy bout too whenever their next season starts. So I'm officially on temporary hiatus while I go back to just being a derby fan for a little while.

Lastly I was informed by Hans and Mini from CCRG last Sunday that the write up I did for their bout last month for RDAU was plagarised by a Central Coast publication. I got sent the link and low and behold apart from a few different sentences it was mostly a direct copy of my original write up with no credit to me. Here's my write up and here's Val's 'write up' . Spot the fuck all difference. I was fuming when I saw it. This hack journo gets paid to write but I don't and then my work gets knicked. These write up's take up a lot of my own personal time too only for someone to copy and paste it and call it their own. I'm in the process of writing a formal letter to them. If I don't get a satisfactory response I'm going to step it up just like I mentioned on my Facebook page so watch this space. I just want to clear up that in NO WAY do I hold CCRG responsible for this fuck up, it's got nothing to do with them. I'd happily cover one of their bouts again.

Not too much skating to talk about this post but I suppose there's more to derby than just skating.