Although I was shit scared for most of the training session with Newy a few weeks ago because I was way outside my comfort zone it had a real big positive effect on me the last few weeks training with my league. For starters I wasn't holding back in training, I was giving everything a go. That resulted in me getting a compliment from Poz during a jumping drill on Sunday :) I had a new found determination to try and make it to scrimmage level no matter how long it took me. Taking my friend Cass' advice of practising transitions and backwards skating whenever I could, whenever we had a drink break at training I'd quickly drink then practise both transitions and backwards skating until we started the next drill.
We did 20 minute endurance on both the Friday and Sunday nights and I managed to improve by 6 laps on Sunday's attempt mainly thanks to Jac who was showing me the cat's eye or whatever it's called when it comes to skating laps correctly. Around the bends I'd always slide out wide instead of sticking to the inside time which wasted valuable time. I'm currently at 76 laps in 20 minutes, I need to be able to crack 100 laps in 20 minutes so lots of work to do to get to that magic 100 laps mark. Challenge accepted :)
Instead of ignoring things that I suck at and never improving I've started keeping a derby journal of sorts. After each training session I take note of endurance laps (if we do it) so that I can track my improvements and list anything I struggled with so I know to work on it in my own time. I'm determined to move from just being a spectator to becoming a skater.
The Smashleys vs WSR bout last weekend was freaking amazing. With Newy branching out to three home teams next year there was a real possibility that this might be the last time I saw Jilla and Brig as Smashleys depending on how the home teams are set out next year. I started off as a Smashleys fan because Jilla was on the team but if neither of them are Smashleys next year I'll be cheering and cursing them while hoping their teams lose when they play the Smashleys :) The Smashleys might not win many bouts but they were flying out of the blocks against WSR and were never in any real danger of losing. Both sides love the physical aspect of the game so there was no shortage of earth shattering blocks.
The Smashleys were playing with fluidity and as one unit. Jilla would block from the back of the pack and if the WSR jammer got past her they were met by Quirky at the front of the pack which allowed Jilla to get infront of them so the jammer had bugger all chance of scoring. It was the reset drill played to perfection. I must have been a bit on the loud side with the cheering because at one stage the lady who was sitting in front of me turned around and smiled when I cheered on Brig as she got lead jammer in one jam, oops! Susy Pow played her last bout for Newcastle and she left nothing in her tank, she caught me by surprise with her blocking, I'm more used to seeing her jam. I think the biggest cheer of the night came in the very last jam when Jilla lined up on the jammer line. She was on a power jam and managed to score a 7-0 jam. For me the funniest thing was seeing her monster her way through the pack. This was running through my head while she was jamming!
It made me think how much I'd love to see a HARD vs Smashleys bout (to go along with my HARD vs NRDL dream!). Make it happen please derby gods!
Monday night will go down as one of the most strangest night's in my life. I was about to start working on this post when I got a message from Cherry. She said the assessment results were in and that the training committee had passed me so that I'd move up to Corporal level 2 which meant I was allowed to start scrimmaging. Instead of going ape shit with excitement I stared at the computer screen re-reading the message for the next ten minutes with crickets chirping outside in the background. I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone and wasn't believing what I was reading.
My response to Cherry was probably the last thing she was expecting, I literally responded with 'What the hell? Are you serious?' I went to bed shocked and still not believing it. Next morning I got up and the post was still there and that's when the flood gates opened. It felt as though I'd consumed a carton Red Bull I was on such a high the entire day at work. I couldn't believe it after all the injuries and setbacks that I've had these last two years I was finally at scrimmage level!!! GET IN!!!!!! It made the news all the more sweeter that I found it difficult to control my excitement on Facebook hehe. After experiencing so many lows for so long I took the day just to enjoy the experience of feeling pure happiness with derby. Do I appreciate it more because of all the difficulties I had along the way? Who knows. I did savour the moment as though I had just won a grand final. God knows I took my sweet time getting to this level. I don't think I'll be scrimmaging right away. Cherry's worried about all my previous injury problems so I'll more than likely eased into it. After waiting this long, I don't mind waiting a bit longer because the last thing I want to do is injure myself right away because I imagine it's a whole different thing doing scrimmage based drills and actually doing scrimmage.
The response I got when I posted the good news on Facebook blew me away, I can't believe the support I got from so many people. I wouldn't be here without a lot of help and support along the way. The likes of Cherry, Jac, Punkie, Posh, Cheya etc helped me so much at training. I'm just greatful that my league stuck by me and had so much patience with me. I want to re-pay them with interest on the track one day.
Although I'm not a member of their league I want to also thank the Newy guys, especially Cass. I've got the 'Newcastle effect' when it comes to them. It started last September when I went up for a social skate and Cass showed me some techniques for crossovers. I ended up passing my fresh meat test the next night after my second attempt at it. Their outdoor skate-a-thon helped tackle my fear of outdoor skating. Then there was the training session with them a few weeks ago that triggered something in me and from that I passed to move up to scrimmage level. I reckon if I got to train with them when they do blocking practise I'll probably turn into an awesome blocker ;)
I've had such a love/hate relationship with derby from when I started to now and there's been times where I really started to doubt whether I'd even get to this stage let alone bout. The biggest thing I learnt in that time is that if you really want it, you'll keep fighting for it even when some people (and even yourself) tell you that it might be time to hang up the skates. Keep strapping, listen to the physio, listen to your body. If it gets harder to pick yourself up physically and mentally after a setback it's ok to get a little help from your team mates and friend's. That feeling you experience when you finally achieve something that you've fought so long for, it really is the best feeling in the world. No one can take that away from you. It makes all the setbacks, tears and frustrations along the way worth it all in the end :) I know everyone is starting to wind down for the year derby wise but I don't want the year to end! Lots of skating on my own during the break I think!