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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cheating on the one you love?

I finally got my clearance letter from the physio last Thursday so I'm free to resume derby training! I must admit it was killing me restricting myself to following the physio's instructions on what I could and couldn't do but I followed it and would you believe it my back feels a hell of a lot better haha. I eased back into my personal training with Suzie this week so it was no where near the intensity I'm used to but Suzie was being mindful of all my old injury problems. There were some drills that I couldn't complete because I started feeling pain in my knee or shoulder and instead of getting the shit's like I usually do because I'm 'weak' and can't cope I felt acceptance. All the pressure and destruction I've put on my body over the years has meant that I'm now at the stage that if I don't follow medical advice I won't get to bout at all so I'm going to have to work harder behind the scenes to strengthen my body on top of my normal training to have any chance of bouting. It's only taken 1 1/2 years for rationale to win over stubborness and having to prove I'm not weak. No point in thinking about 'what if's' and time wasted on the sidelines due to all the injuries, it's time to finally focus on where I want to go with derby and what I need to do to get there.

There were lots of derby events on over the weekend and I went to none of them due to other commitments. First up some of my team mates teamed up with Central Coast Roller Girls to bout as the Bloody Holly's at the Wintersun festival. It was all the more awesome as two of my team mates Posh Deck'em and Punkie BrawlSTAR made their bouting debuts. I heard they both got lead jammer and scored points throughout the night. I'm so proud of them :) Of course there was TGSS. My news feed on Facebook got flooded with posts from derby peeps leaving to go to TGSS, while they were at TGSS, and finally heading back which made me want to go even more haha. I'm really hoping to go next time. I did see positive posts and lots of negative posts about 'no derby' being played. It's such a controversial area of the game. On one hand I could understand teams going with that approach especially earlier on in the tournament as a way of preserving their energy for the latter stages of the tournament. The jam in the VRDL vs CRDL bout where no one moved for the full two minutes worked a treat for VRDL because in the jam they wiped out CRDL's lead in one jam and went on to dominate and win the bout. On the flip side watching skaters stand still isn't very entertaining to watch. It's hard for the sport to evolve without fan support but how do you keep both sides happy? Do you change the rules, work on strategies to try and combat 'no derby' or something completely different? I don't know the answer.

I guess most people have something they do when they need that little bit of motivation or inspiration. For me it's watching boxing related movies. Having done boxing for a while I appreciate the discipline required and the high intensity training, it's like a physical game of chess which is another reason I fell in love in derby. I find having all the boxing training scenes from the films running through my head helps me push on when I'm at the gym or going for a run which is a good thing for my fitness and therefore derby.

I've been guilty of having my head in the sand with a particular skill. I suck at it so bad that I've tried banishing it from my mind but the reality is that I can't do it properly but I need to be able to do it if I want to do more advanced skills. I'm ashamed to say it but it's walking on my toe stops, something so basic but I can't do it. I can barely walk on them and the best I can do is a few steps at a time at a very SLOW pace. Pretty much everyone I know can walk, run, tomahawk, so the 'Jilla' block and I can't do any of that. Having really weak ankles, or not wearing high heels probably doesn't help my cause. So while I already have a massive list of stuff I want to learn how to do this is something I'm going to focus on.

I've got bit of a funny story. I was chatting with some of our ref's at training and we were discussing how to legally combat the block that Jilla seems to have perfected where she gets to the front of the pack and skates right in the face of an opposing skater while skating backwards. I said I plan on asking her for an autograph or pic, that would probably confuse the fuck out her long enough to get around her in one piece :) Simon then said that he can't wait to see me bout against Jilla because he seems to think that as soon as she hits me my reaction will be 'Oh my God GodJilla just hit me' in a fangirl kinda way. Am I really going to be that bad? I hope not!

Finally the meaning behind the title of this post. Lately I've been thinking is it possible to equally love another league beside your own? Before I even put on a pair of quads NRDL became my favourite league after watching them in a bout. I eventually joined up to play derby and with HARD I've gotten an extended family who I'd go through bricks walls for. Problem is when I pick a team to support I stick with them which is what I've done with Newy. It's not like I'll ever play for them but I love their league. On the other hand I can't help but feel like I'm cheating on HARD for loving another league as much as HARD. Am I cheating on HARD?