Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Right where I want to be

Rightio I finally found out why I'm still having lingering pain in my knee, there's scar tissue in there. My physio has started breaking it up during my sessions with her so it's painful but my knee is starting to hurt a little less which is a good thing.

With my knee still giving me grief there's no skating to talk about but I've discovered that the saying absence makes the heart grow fonder to ring true. Before this last freak injury I admitted that I was battling the meh's with derby but staying involved with derby in some sort of capacity while I was injured helped me realise how much I missed and still wanted it.

Last Sunday we had a bout condition scrimmage against S2D2's B team the Bewoks. I still haven't scrimmaged with my own league yet since the first knee injury I had months ago so I was NSOing. I was penalty box tracker. It was such a close bout in terms of the scoreline, real edge of the seat stuff, so much so that I was caught up watching the bout and forgot to release Apple from the penalty box so she served a longer time than she was supposed. Yep I fucked up there so I paid a lot more attention to my job after that.

Some decisions by our guys on the track baffled me but as an NSO I had to keep my mouth shut. Mostly I was beaming from ear to ear. I noticed a change in our guys. We do have some recent additions in the way of transfers which have been great additions to the squad, not to mention those stepping up in rankings and making bouting debuts left, right and centre. From what I could see there was more communication on the track and they were working a lot tighter on the track and not leaving the sort of gaps that crucified us in 5x5 this year. The biggest difference was the feel good factor on the bench. There was lots of encouragement when someone did something well on the track and lots of talking. It feels like things are on the up ever since the bout against Inner West at 5x5 which is great to see, hopefully they can continue that at ERRD.

There was a period in the second half where our guys started picking up a few penalties but for the most part it felt as though the penalty rates were a lot lower than what they were for most of the 5x5. It was the best I'd ever seen Lola bout. I was fangirling Cherry as much as I do Jilla at the NRDL bouts, she was effective, destructive and just utterly amazing. The likes of Butters and Betty have made ridiculously high levels of improvement and prove what hard work and dedication achieve, they're amazing the both of them.

At the end of scrimmage Rex handed me a questionnaire to fill out about our home teams for next year. a) we're having home teams next year and b) I'll be involved like actually bouting :D One of the questions on the form was who do you think you work best with? Rex said I couldn't put Jilla as the answer, cheeky fucker! If Jac was still with us I would have put her name down every day of the week. Truth is with all my injuries I haven't been able to form another partnership on the track with anyone because of all the down time I've had.

I've never hidden the fact that I love NRDL but nothing would make me more prouder than lining up on the track for my league whether it's home teams or the kazi's. I'm itching to get back to training on Sunday and work my way up to put myself into contention for bouting.

My original plan this weekend was to fly up to Brisbane to watch the Dames bout against NBR but since I won both Brig and Jilla's jackets in the auction the money that was supposed to cover the costs of this weekend went into the jackets instead. There's still ERRD and their bout on the 12th. Instead I'll probably watching the WSR vs BMRDL bout instead. That's the beauty of derby there's usually no shortage of bouts to watch!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

That winning feeling.

Stop me if you've heard this I was back on skates after my latest knee injury ;) At the risk of sounding like a broken record it did happen last Friday night. My knee still wasn't 100% but I had my clearance letter from my physio. It was all off skates training initially. We worked up to doing hipchecks and can openers in pairs. When it comes to hipchecks I've been taught two different ways - the 'washing machine' way and stepping down and up. I've found the second way is more effective and allows me to keep my balance. I was partnered up with Toad which was a good test because he didn't hold back at all. I was getting the right target zones but the bloody annoying thing is that I can't replicate this form on skates.

I had to laugh when Matron (who has been off skates for a while) asked me how I handled being off skates from all the injuries I've had. I've just been driven to try and fulfil the derby goal I've held since October 2010, doesn't mean I haven't been pissed off or sworn when I was off injured :)

Even now I still haven't got full movement in my knee and I'm still having some pain when I move it a particular way, it's just frustrating that it's still impeding me. With two successive knee injuries and forced time off I've noticed the self doubt start to creep back in. I see everyone around me improve bucketloads and think I'm constantly slipping backwards, forever playing catch up. I know in the past that I've let this sort of thinking fester and get worse so I've tried to reign it in before it gets worse. I've gone back to what worked for me in the first part of the year before I had that first knee injury. It was in that time that I made my biggest improvement to date so I'm hoping it works out for me again if I take the same approach.

Roll on Saturday and it was onto the big issue that everyone was talking about: NRDL grand final day! I can't believe I'm saying this but as the day drew closer I was starting to get nervous, not too far off from how I feel whenever Liverpool plays. The night started off weird enough as I found myself cheering for the Hellcats. Yep you read that right, yeah I can't believe it either. Before you think I've completely lost my marbles it was only because they were bouting S2D2, a non-NRDL team. It was cool to be able to cheer on individual players like Kell, Tox, Missy and Beaver and not worry about the impact they were having on my team. First half saw the Hellcats in control and it reflected on the scoreline. There was one person who was missing big time, their regular commentator Mal. NRDL bouts and Mal go hand in hand. This other commentator tried but he's no Mal.

At half time they announced the winners of the Dockyard Dames jacket auction. It was one of the few times that I've wanted to hear my name said out, and it happened not once but twice as I won both Brig and Jilla's jackets. HAPPY DAYS! When I went to get the jackets I found out I was also getting smaller versions of the Brig and Jilla posters from the Line up auction. Given the fact that I won the massive Jilla poster in the last auction, I've basically got the Russian Dolls equivalent of Jilla posters to go with the signed Jilla postcard hehe. As a collector of player issue Liverpool memorabilia I love the fact that I can add derby related memorabilia to that collection, even moreso that it was from two of my favourite three skaters. Lastly the NRDL guys have helped me out a lot especially this year with skating and advice even though I'm not a member of their league so it was nice to be able to give something back to them by bidding on the jackets.  Jilla the smart arse asked if I had enough jackets. I should have asked her if she wanted her jacket back ;)

To be honest the second half of the Hellcats bout was a blur because I was still on a high from the auction wins. I know S2D2 came back brilliantly and even managed to hit the lead for the first time towards the end of the bout but the Hellcats clawed back and with a few power jams finished off S2D2 in the very last jam of the bout.

I was an absolute bundle of nerves before the Smashleys bout kicked off, heaven knows how the skaters felt. The Smashos were short on numbers with the likes of Glitter and Broken both injured but considering how tight they've played throughout the year, if they managed to stay out of the penalty box as much as possible and give away free points then they'd definately be in with a shout even with the firepower that the Bogeys held in their ranks. The Bogeys opened up a slight lead but once the Smashleys got the lead they never gave it up. The Smashleys had bit of a brain fart moment in the second half where their players were starting to spend more time in the penalty box than on the track that almost allowed the Bogeys back in. I was thinking 'calm the fuck down' but that might have been as much for my benefit as it was for them.

Bias aside despite giving away a numerical advantage to the Bogeys the Smashos played the game to perfection. Quick jams when they had lead to conserve energy, mostly staying out of the penalty box, lots of low risk BUT effective blocking and they just played as a team. I thought Tootsie had her best ever performance for the Smashos. The jammers Babycakes, Dutchess and especially Hollie who was well deserved MVP more than made up the gap left by Broken's absence, hell even Jilla jammed once which always gets a big cheer from the crowd. For me the Dutchess and Hollie have had a standout rookie season for my team, they fitted in seamlessly. What else can I possibly say about Jilla that I haven't already said a million times before? Yet another awesome display by her. I wonder if she's forgotten how to skate facing the direction that most skaters face due to all her backwards blocking. Regardless, given how effective her backwards blocking is and how she conducts her side on where to be due to her great view point was once again instrumental. It amazes me that just about everyone gets drawn to her standing up tall and playing right into her hands. It's probably easer said than done given her rugby background but I'd have thought you'd have more luck shifting her out of the way by doing a can opener while facing her direction. The only tactic that I've seen work to counteract her backwards blocking is when she gets double teamed. Even then I lost count of how many times she deliberately blocked a Bogeys blocker who then took out their own jammer from the impact of Jilla's hit, such a genius tactic.

One of things I've learnt after being a lifetime Liverpool supporter is patience. Just because the Smashleys lost all the previous seasons to the Hellcats it didn't mean I would jump ship. When I pick a team, they're my team for life regardless of how well or crap they go results wise. Given the near misses in the past and the amazing foundation they built this season I was absolutely made up that my smashos finally got rewarded for all their efforts by lifting the trophy this season. I was proud as punch for them!!

I may have been in fan mode on Saturday night but I tracked down the people who filmed both bouts so I've organised to have a copy sent to me so that I can bout write up's from the footage which will be a new experience for me. We'll see how they turn out.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I so didn't see that coming...

To say I was shitting bricks about my latest knee injury was a massive understatement. I was in more pain with this injury than my last one which kept me off skates for nearly 3 months. For the first few nights I was waking up during the night in pain. Although I looked stupid attempting to try to bend my knee in a proper walking motion, I was sort of walking albeit painfully by Wednesday arvo.

I headed into the physio expecting the worst outcome. It did hurt a bit when she worked on my knee but it wasn't excrutiating thankfully. I finally asked her the question I had been dreading since I injured it on Sunday 'Was this injury going to keep me out as long as my previous knee injury?' To my shock she said no. It was a different injury to the previous one. She said my MCL felt intact but that I had probably torn fibres in the surrounding tissue of the MCL from the fall. This sort of injury should only keep me off skates for a couple of weeks. I trust my physio but I was wondering if she had smoked crack when she told me that because I still couldn't walk properly. The solution was I had to work on bending my knee, so it was basically grit your teeth and walk through the pain barrier, as much as it has sucked it has helped because I'm moving more freely and in less pain.

If all goes well with my physio on Thursday I may be back on skates this week! If you told me that last Sunday I wouldn't have believed you but there you go maybe I'm finally having some good fortune with derby so there's still a chance I might get to fulfill those derby goals of mine by the end of the year! My biggest fear? By the time I eventually get to interleague level all my favourite skaters will have probably retired from the sport. I'm hoping I can have a good solid run and work my up to the final testing level and push on and fight for a spot on the kazis.

These last two knee injuries I had was when I was working on drills with Cherry. In no way was it her fault, it was just a shit coincidence. She offered that maybe in the future we don't partner up in drills. I know she's only looking out for me but I flat out told her that wasn't happening. I won't take the easy way out. If I can't hack it at training then I sure as shit won't hack it in a bout. I've lost count of how many times I heard my team mates say that it's bit of a shock when they first started bouting interleague because skaters in other leagues don't hold back so I don't want to be caught out when I finally start bouting for the 'kazis.

After having a chat with my physio it finally sunk in that I'm going to be limited to what I can do. I had some great non-derby sports and exercises that I wanted to start getting into but my knee isn't going to cope with both derby and all these other things I had lined up which was pretty crushing because I love challenging myself and pushing myself to my limits to see what I can and can't do. Now it's just a matter of finding alternatives and hoping I enjoy them as much as my original plans. 

It's twitchy bum time. It's the NRDL home season final this Saturday. My Smashos have managed to go undefeated in the regular season and they're one win away from finally lifting up the trophy. Not only that, they're also announcing the winners of the Dames jackets. I've been told that I'm facing stiff competition for Jilla's jacket so now I'm feeling nervy about my bid. Hurry up Saturday and put me out of my misery! I'm finally setting aside some time for derby write up's so I aim to have three NRDL bout write up's to be done and uploaded on RDAU this week. I'm unsure if I'll do one for the grand final, it deserves to have a write up especially after the season that's unfolded but at the same time I want to go ape shit on the sidelines cheering on my team. Decisions, decisions. I found out that the Hellcats will be bouting S2D2 in a mini bout before the final. This feels so wrong but I will actually be cheering on the Hellcats only because they're bouting a non-NRDL team. Excuse me while I wash my mouth out with soap :)