After the uncertainty about which level I would be going to in derby I got my answer on Friday. The relevant parties decided I could stay at Sergeant level but I wasn't allowed to scrimmage or bout until I had been cleared by the head ref and training committee. I was over the moon with that, instead of dropping back down to Corporal level I could concentrate on working my fitness and skill levels up and eventually tackle the Lieutenant's level when I was ready. It was a weight off my shoulders and it felt nice to have a win with derby.
What a first training session to come back to. While I was over the worst of the cold, my nose and chest were blocked so it made trying to breathe just that more fun...not. The first thing we did was a 5 minute endurance. My form was a little sloppy but there's nothing more training and regaining 'match fitness' won't fix. I got 21 laps which I was happy with because that was what I was averaging before I got that miracle 25 in 5 for my assessment, so I haven't lost too much.
Butters ran the training session and there was lots of two minute drills. I really struggled with the knee taps because I had to avoid squats and lunges during rehab on my knee injury so I got weak in that area. I'm mindful that I need to ease myself back into that because my knee is probably still a little weak. I always knew it was going to be tough coming back to proper training after a lengthy injury layoff but it served as a good reminder not to get too far ahead of myself with dreams of bouting. There's lots of work to do before I get to that stage.
The blocking drills were lots of fun. I loved being amongst the action again. There were a few hair raising moments but I think I went ok for my first session, I may have even nudged Butters off the track at one stage. What better way to test yourself out then coming up against Cherry. If she really wanted to block me hard I'd still be picking myself up off of the floor but it was a nice little confidence booster being able to stay on the track and on my feet when she blocked me for the most part. My body was aching from general soreness by the end of the session but there was no pain in my knee WIN!
Saturday was my usual trip up to Newy (I've come to the realisation it would probably be cheaper if I just moved up there). My Smasho's weren't playing but I was looking forward to watching a Newy bout where I could just sit back and enjoy the action and not worry about the scoreboard. For those who love the all action, ridiculously high scoring jams the first half wouldn't have been your cup of tea but I absolutely loved it. It was strategy heaven. There was bugger all power jams so it was all about quick jams. The Hellcats actually had more players than their opposition for the first time in a long time and they had a slim lead lead going into half time.
It was more of the same in the second but then the Hellcats started giving away some power jams and then it was the Bogey's opening up bit of a gap which proved more than enough to get them over the line. This season the Hellcats have reminded me of the Smashleys from season's passed. So close but power jams stuff them up in the end. I know I keep harping on about this but I am in love with Danger's blocking. She more than lives up to her derby name. She doesn't need to lay on a Hollywood hit (but she can easily put skaters on their arse if need be) but she just nullify's them to perfection. Dare I say it her blocking is about as effective as Jilla's backwards blocking. HUGE CALL I know but that's how much I rate Danger's blocking. I'd love to learn to block like that.
Sunday's training was more of a relaxed session since the majority of our advanced skaters were scrimmaging against CCRG. It was a good session to shake the cobwebs out and do some of the basics. For the last half an hour we got to work on whatever we liked so I decided to start tackling learning how to transition on the inside. I was pretty shite at that but I want to learn how to do them so I did what I did when I learnt how to transition on the outside, I kept going up and down a line and practising them. It started to get a bit better so I know if I keep at it I'll eventually be able to do them.
I know the running joke in derby is that derby will take over your life and I'll admit I'm guilty of that too, it's only recently that I've noticed it's starting to come at a personal cost for me. I doubt anyone can question my commitment to derby but I feel as though I've overcommitted in some areas of it. I don't need to prove I'm a superfan by going to bouts every weekend and I have actually cut back on the amount of bouts I've been to this year. My commitment to training won't drop at all, I just need to find a better life/derby balance because there's other thing's going on behind the scenes that also need my attention before it's too late.
Speaking of training, since my knee has started responding well to training again (I got positive feedback from the physio tonight!), I am actually looking forward to slowly increasing my non-derby and derby exercise levels. I'm not content with just passing my Lieutenant's level and getting a spot on the 'kazi's. I'm actually quite happy that there is going to be competition for spots on the team now due to number's. I feel that's where I'm at my best - healthy competition because it makes me work as hard as I can which leads me to my next point.
I think ERRD has probably come around too soon for me but I'm still hoping that we'll have a family and friend's bout or even launch our home team's by the end of the year because I really would love to be able to bout by the end of the year. The first half of the year pre-injury was the best I've had in derby to date, I was on the verge of bouting. I would like to finish the year just as strongly so at the end of the Newy bout on Saturday I asked Jilla if it was possible to get some one on one lessons with her during the Newy social skates on Saturday morning's. I offered to pay her for her time, unfortunately for me it came out wrong so I quickly tried correcting myself. Jilla said she was happy to help, payment free which was nice of her :) I got a lot out of the two NRDL training sessions I went to earlier this year that she ran so I've got no doubt I'd learn even more from her. Just to be able to learn from someone of Jilla's calibre is huge. There will be no fangirling I promise hehe. I'm waiting until I'm fully back in the swing of things derby wise before I line up any training sessions with her because I have no doubt she'll push me way passed my comfort zone.
As silly as this sounds I wouldn't have been crushed even if Jilla said no. One of the big things for me was that I actually asked her in the first place. I acknowledge I've got stunted social skills and that I'm quite shy and it's something I've hid behind for many year's as a way to excuse why I might not have asked for something and just kept my mouth shut. I have been working on this area recently because I don't want to use it as an a excuse when I might end up passing up on a amazing opportunity such as getting to train with Jilla.
Once again there was lots happening in the world of derby. Cherry summed it up best. While I was putting my gear in the car after training on Friday night, Cherry drove past and said to me 'Welcome back fucker!' that's when I knew - I was back! :D