The big weekend finally arrived last week and for the first time ever that I've been assessed for derby I was feeling calm and not the slightest bit nervous. It was all thanks to that disasterous scrimmage session with NRDL, I think it consumed all my nerves, so I suppose that was one good thing to come out of it. Just to side track for a minute, there were two big reasons why I was so shattered by how the scrimmage session with NRDL went. Firstly, I hate letting my team down. It felt like all I was doing was skating and had bugger all contribution on the track so I ended up feeling as though my team were skating a player short whenever I was on the track. Secondly, you know when you want something so bad for so long and when it finally happens you get stage fright and waste the opportunity? I'll be the first to admit I'm extremely harsh on myself so when I get into one of those moods I stay away from people because it doesn't matter how much rational things they tell me, I won't listen. I'm one of those people that needs to sort it out on their own. Once I calmed down and looked at the scrimmage session again, I picked up a lot of positives out of it.
Back to the assessment. There was no nerves but it didn't take too long to notice that the floor was pretty slippery. No way was I going to use that as an excuse because any good skater will adapt to different track conditions. I knew it would make things like endurance and stops that bit more challenging but that's life. Betty, Ru and I were getting tested for the Sergeant's level and there was a few Corporal level one's who were being assessed for scrimmage level. First up was endurance and I flunked it. My technique and how I handle bends more than likely slows me down and ends up putting extra pressure on my left quad which causes stabbing like pains when I'm doing endurance. I was also starting to get the strained muscle pains that I was getting last year up my right leg but I was only feeling it when I was doing endurance so I must be doing something wrong. Although I knew I hadn't got the laps I needed I still wanted to try and pass everything else.
The rest of the night went pretty well with things like falls, alternate crossovers, stops, transitions etc. The one I was most happiest with was the paceline work, I felt pretty comfortable with that and didn't hesitate going both forwards and backwards through the paceline. We got tested on everything except the scrimmage part because that was going to be assessed on Sunday.
Once it was over I was curious more than anything on whether I had passed everything else besides the endurance. Betty and I were informed that the assessors were letting us have one more crack at endurance because we had passed everyone else. This time it was only the two of us with Matron joining us to set the pace because she can do 25 in 5 in her sleep. I gave it another go and the same problems flared up and I flunked again. I just couldn't crack 22 laps once again. Once it was over and I started skating cool down laps I felt nothing but acceptance, no anger, no disappointment. I knew that I did everything I could have possibly done to prepare for the assessment and I gave it my all but it wasn't good enough to pass. That and the fact that I didn't want to let my team mates down in a bout because I couldn't keep up them and that they would have to slow down to allow me to catch up because of my poor endurance levels. Do I want to bout? More than anything, but I won't put my own selfish bout dreams ahead of the good of the team so that was another reason why I accepted it without sooking about it. It just meant I had six weeks to work on it before I tried again and it ruled out any chance of me bouting in our family and friend's bout next month.
Wedged between the testing weekend was NRDL's home season bout between the Smashleys and the Bogey Rollers. It was the first time the sides met in a bout. No surprise I was cheering on the Smashleys. Both sides were undefeated going into the bout. It was an absolute cracking bout where the result was never certain. If the Rollers called a timeout with seconds left on the clock who knows they may have come back and won it. People were going about Jilla's performance in the second half but she just as effective in the first half. She gave Danger an absolute torrid time when Danger was jamming, forcing her to commit quite a few majors and put her on her arse with some amazing backwards blocking. Her defending on Champain right at the end when the bout was still in the balance had people out on their feet because she thwarted Champain at every attempt and you could see the look of frustration and resignation on Champain's face. Once again her performance highlighted why I've been such a fangirl of Jilla's since October 2010.
Having been to so many of the NRDL home bouts I've gotten to see skaters start off their bouting careers and progress with each bout. One of the biggest improvers I've seen has to be Glitter N. Gore. Ever since she became co-captain of the Smashleys she's improved out of sight. She looks so comfortable on the track, it's been great to see. Other skaters to look out for are Multiple Orkazms, The Dutchess, Missy Tuff.It, and Hollie Funck who are progressing really well too. I finally got to have a proper catch up with Mon and Mick since they moved up to Newy which was nice. While we were having a long woggy good bye in the car park of the pub one patron who was intoxicated reversed his car straight into a parked car so that made the night even more interesting haha.
Looking back it probably looked funny at the time but the second I saw Jac who came back to training after having a few months off, I literally dropped all my gear, ran up to her and hugged the crap out her. I'm not really the hugging type but that's how much I've missed her. I've always loved blocking alongside her on the track during drills but we've never scrimmaged together. Matsacre ran our training session on Sunday and he did such an amazing job that I really hope he runs more of them. We learnt a lot of new drills which were great, especially for pack work. I was spewing that I missed out on doing the GodJilla drill because I was on the sidelines getting my leg taped up by Bede because that strained muscle in my leg reacted badly during the pyramid drill. I was so thankful to Bede because my leg stopped hurting once it was wrapped up with the strange looking tape he used.
When it was time to scrimmage, the three of us being assessed were split. They were on one team, I was on the other team. Considering we were being assessed we had to spend the most time on the track. You know how sometimes you just get a feeling that 'it's on' during training? That's how I felt on Sunday. I had a quick chat to Mat and got some tips from him before scrimmage started. The team I was on was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. We had a good mix of players and I thought we played really well together. At one stage I was sitting in the penalty box for a track cut while I was the jammer, my guys set up an impenetrable wall at the front of the pack that the elusive Foggy couldn't break through and I managed to get lead jammer when I came back on. Personally I felt quite comfortable during scrimmage. I tried to get involved, get my body in the way when necessary, called out when the opposing jammer was coming out and just tried to listen to my guys. I'm not a particularily strong blocker in terms of sending people flying, my strength tends to come from counterblocking. For some reason things clicked on Sunday and I sent a few people to the floor, I guess I was just in the zone. With only two jams left I got told that I needed to show that I could hip check/booty block so I was trying to pick targets when I could. Along came Ru who was skating along the outside line. I traditionally struggle against shorter skaters, it's a common sight to see me dominated by them. I lined her up and hip checked her off the track, right in front of the assessors hehe.
I'd like to take the opportunity to apologise to my team mates. My team mates probably think I'm pissed off with them when I scrimmage with them because this is the facial expression I tend to have for the entire scrimmage session
I promise I'm not pissed off with anyone, I'll tell you if I am :) My problem is I get so caught up concentrating on what's going on that I end up looking angry hehe.
Lastly, I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for their help and support with my Sergeant's assessment both on and off the track. It really has blown me away. Whether it was my team mates or people from other leagues or my trainer. I even had Danger come up to me at the end of her bout on Saturday offering to help me with my technique for endurance the next time I went up for the NRDL social skate. If she makes it this Saturday I'll get the chance to work with her. It's still a surprise that someone as shy as me had so many offers of help and encouragement so THANK YOU to each and every one of you :)