Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Block it out

I don't know if there is such a thing as fate or maybe things do happen for a reason. Take for example the fact that I could have very easily become a Sydney fangirl instead of an NRDL one. I saw an ad in the Drum media for an SRDL bout in August 2010 and had planned to go but for some reason didn't go. I tried finding other Sydney based leagues, ended up discovering Western Sydney Rollers and saw they had a bout in October against Newy and the rest is now history.

Looking back on my derby journey to date I can see some parallels. There's no denying my progress has been frustratingly slow since I first started in February 2011. Looking at the bigger picture maybe I was moving at the pace I was supposed to. I honestly think derby came into my life at just the right time. I know for a fact that I'm not the same person as I was when I first started derby, the one who completely lacked any confidence or self belief and would rip herself to shreds because I wasn't as good as everyone else. In all the injuries and setbacks I've discovered that I have a bit of fight in me to not give up which I never thought existed. In more recent times the one on one training session I had with Jilla had such an impact on me, more than she'll probably ever know. Beyond getting schooled by her on the track, it was the chat I had with her while we were skating endless laps on the track that had such a huge effect on me. What I got out of that I think has reflected in the way I've been training ever since with derby and that's with a bit of self belief. All I know is I'm actually in a happy state both on and off the track for the first time in a very long time and I think it shows on the track :) 

Last Sunday we had an extended training session as Lola ran a blocking bootcamp. It covered the basics and moved up to more advanced skills. Overall it was a great session. Initially I was partnered up a lot with Butters and it was great especially when we were doing the drill where we had to mirror each other because she provided such a great challenge which kept me on my toes the whole time. When we were doing hip checks on each other she was so composed just like she is when she bouts and all the feedback she gave me was great too.

Later on I was partnered up with Cherry for a few of the drills which was fun and educational. One of my biggest issues is still not getting my foot in front when it comes to carving. Once again I was struggling with that so Cherry showed me a couple of tricks to getting around that which were amazingly effective so I ended up learning a few new things! Cherry was also taking the time tto describe and teach me how to do the blocks more effectively which was really great of her because it helped me a lot. Not just that but working with the likes of Butters and Cherry is such a joy because they're strong blockers so it provides a real good challenge for me, and I don't need to hold back because I know they'll more than handle what I throw at them.

It's amazing what a bit of self belief can do. In no way have I become arrogant and think I can go out and bout right now but it's the little things I'm discovering along the way. Things like attempting tomahawks, they're real slow now but I'm working my way up and starting to finally trust my ankles in the process for the first time since I started derby. Taking opportunities when they present themselves on the track instead of hesitating and missing the opportunity like when I managed to box a few players during the session and actually used my body to force them off the track instead of letting them getting through the wall. I know one of my problems is that I'm very passive on the track but I started finding a bit more 'agression' especially when I had to jam I was trying to be a bit more forceful when I was stuck behind a wall, it was great fun. One of my favourite moments was when I was trying to help make space for my jammer to get through the pack so I went for the Betty and Cherry wall and tried forcing a gap but that distracted them enough that Dev was able to get around them untouched :)

We ended the session by working on the over affectionate kitty drill. I've never done it because it was always done while I was off injured this year. I partnered up with Lola. I don't know why but whenever we took turns getting in each others business I couldn't stop giggling. Lola must have wondered what the fuck was wrong with me and the truth is I don't know I just found that drill really funny :)

Personally that session was a huge one for me because although we didn't get to have a proper scrimmage because we didn't have enough personnel it was the first time since that first knee injury back in April that I was doing any sort of scrimmage related drills so that was pretty huge for me. After the high's I had earlier this year before the knee injury the low's were pretty crushing but I'm glad I stuck with it and fought to get myself back into this position. It may not be bouting but it's pretty damn awesome just to be able to do this scrimmage related work with my league after what's been another trying year :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Step by step

Another weekend, another awesome double header to look forward to. I could get used to this :) It was back to home turf. The opening bout was a co-ed bout which saw the Smash boys take on the Erradicators. The main bout saw my guys take on Melbourne Northside Rollers' B team the Rebel Alliance. I was sitting further back than usual because I was helping man the merch table with Scott which ended up being a lot of fun, we laughed a lot and actually sold some stuff. I may or may not have even jokingly guilt tripped Baby and Jilla into buying some HARD merch after telling them to think about how much money I've spent on NRDL merch over the years hehe.

The opening bout was the first time I've ever watched a co-ed and can I just say I was massively in love! Guys and girls have different playing styles, strengths and weaknesses, throw in tactics and I was in heaven watching it all unfold on the track. One thing I love about the boys is that they're a bit more fearless (or crazy!), they'll just throw themselves into doing something, yeah there's a high chance they'll probably fuck up or stack it but they'll still do it anyway and when it comes off it's just awesome to watch. AJ with his apex jumping was amazing to watch. It looks like he may have gotten a few backwards blocking lessons from Jilla ;) I thought the Erradicators were more controlled in their actions and how they executed their plays. On the scoreboard the Smash boys may have run away with it a little but it was one of those bouts where I genuinely didn't care about the final score because I really enjoyed the play from both sides. All I know is before the bout even finished I realised that I wanted to one day bout in a co-ed bout. Yet another ridiculously crazy derby dream to add to my list.

Before the main bout Cherry told me she had a present for me. I was thinking what it could possibly be when she hands me probably one of the things I'd least expect - her old toe guards haha. Being a sports memorabilia collector for a few years now it would be akin to a football player handing over their match worn shirt to you after a match, so that was a funny yet cool score. I'm hoping her awesome skills will somehow rub off on my shitty ones now ;)

Onto the main bout. If ever there was a perfect example of a bout of two halves this was it. The Rebels absolutely blitzed my guys in the first half. They ripped our wall to shreds, their jammers scored for fun and it felt as though our guys spent more time in the bin than on the track. Poor Scott probably went deaf from all my yelling and must have gotten sick and tired of me constantly telling him 'Fuck the scoreboard. They just need to focus on winning the next jam, go back to playing to their strengths and stay out of the box'. Reality is it's easy being an armchair critic. I don't imagine it's at all easy going out there and bouting. God knows I'll discover that when I keep fucking up when I first start bouting.

In the second half my guys played their own game, they were starting to win jams, were forcing majors on the Rebels and were playing the way we all know they can on their day. I was told that we outscored them in the second half but that gap from the first half was too massive to close down. Win or lose on the scoreboard they're still my league. I love them to bits and I'll cheer my heart out for them right until the very end. I was just happy that they came out fighting in the second half and didn't just bend over and take it. Man I really suck doing any sort of bout recap for my league. I think it's because I'm so emotionally invested that I never view the bouts rationally haha. I do remember fangirling Cherry's blocking as always, she was throwing a bit more backwards blocking in there. Posh was once again amazing with her jamming. My HARD MVP would have gone to Butters. She's absolutely excelled this year from making her bouting debut at 5x5 to being one of our most important jammers. On Saturday she even jammed and picked up power jams too. It's the sort of complete player I'd love to be able to become one day.

As expected the day after a bout there wasn't a huge turnout at training but I was super eager to train. Betty and Butters both backed up from the bout to run training. Due to the low numbers it meant it was a combined training session so it meant I got to train with people I usually wouldn't get to train with. The session was very agility focussed which I was secretly loving (more on why later in the post). By the end of the session it looked as though I had just jumped in a pool. It was a great session.

As the end of another derby season is slowly approaching, it's made me start evaluating where I am derby wise and where I was hoping to be. It looks as though it'll be another year of no bouting. It's easy to say that things could have been so very different if I didn't injure my knee back in April the night I passed my assessment. I would have already bouted by now but it didn't happen that way. Instead I fought my way back onto skates after nearly quitting in frustration and a lengthy knee injury and then another knee setback on top of that. One of the things I've realised in all this is the need to step it up a level and with that comes all sort of challenges. I managed to step it up earlier this year pre-knee injury number one and got myself to bouting level. I want to step it up another level and feel confident that I can finally handle bouting. A large stumbling block for me is still fear. After all the injuries I've had I don't trust my body to handle doing certain skills like fast turns that it's holding me back.

I love pushing myself to my limits, have done since I was a kid. One of the things I've started doing recently is crossfit. Hardcore as hell and more than pushes me to my limits and that was just in the beginner's classes which I've repeated because I didn't think my body was up to going into proper classes just yet. A few weeks ago I started listening to my typical negative thoughts of 'I suck at this, my body can't handle this, I'm the only fat kid in the class all the rest are skinny, healthy toothpicks' Instead of quitting like I usually do I stuck with it and for once stopped giving a shit what people thought of me. Crossfit is not easy but I found something I really love to do outside of derby and the beauty is it'll complement derby so well.

As I mentioned earlier there's no bouts for me this year but I've decided to end the year in this fashion. Train as well as I can, work out the niggling little injuries, have a proper pre-season by tackling the things that scare me the most and working on the things that I really struggle with because next year I aim to bout by getting there not on default but on merit because I hear we're having proper home teams next year.   

Monday, October 21, 2013

Making it rain...with awesomeness.

Last weekend I had an extremely memorable derby related weekend both on and off skates. There was so much winning and blushing along the way! It was my birthday last Friday but I still planned on going to training and sweat it out with my team mates but my mum planned a family dinner and despite the fact that I'm 31 there's just some battles you'll never win with your woggy mother. Love you mum :)

Ahh Saturday, that almost deserves its own post. If Friday was about celebrating my birthday with my family, Saturday was about using a bout as an excuse to celebrate my birthday with some of my derby friend's. Newy hosted a double header with their Harpies side opening the night with a bout against CCRG before the main event which saw the Dames take on Perth's West Coast Evils side in the battle of the East coast vs West coast. I headed over to Cass at the merch stand who was holding out a black Dames shirt for me. I told her I had one, don't know why I did because I was actually wearing it. I unfolded it to reveal the Dames shirt signed by the entire team who were bouting that night including AJ. HOLY SHIT! I basically bear hugged Cass for the awesome birthday present. It was such a lovely gesture by her and to all the Dames who signed it. I especially loved the extra touch by Kell to draw a gun at the end of her derby number, Licence to Kell 007, geddit? ;) Special thanks to Nav who took a pic of Cass and I with the shirt after the bout.

I confess I have a soft spot for the Central Coast guys. I've gotten to know them pretty well thanks to all the HARD and CCRG bouts and player fill in's over the past year. As much as I love them I was always going to be backing the Newy team. The likes of Drop Bear and Tox were having absolute blinders with their blocking work. My MVP went to Massive Package, it was the best I've seen her bout to date. Given the fact she comes up to my knees it's easy to see how she can get swallowed up in a pack. Gritting her teeth she took on opposing skaters and forced her way through, not even a shoulder to the face by a backwards blocking skater could stop her. Amazing performance.

CCRG came out firing in the second half as they fought to close the gap, they certainly had all the momentum. When KiKi wasn't being naughty and 'resting' in the penalty box she was just awesome to watch. Her positional blocking was holding back the Harpies jammers time and time again and her track awareness was impeccible as you could actually see her track a jammers progress through the pack and KiKi would make her way through the pack and strike at the front of the pack to stop the Harpies jammer's progress. CCRG called off the final jam too late as they JUST pulled up too short to allow the Harpies to pull off a nail biting win.

I had a few Newy people come up and wish me happy birthday when all of a sudden Tantrum comes up and starts giving me a lap dance while singing Happy Birthday to me haha. I've never been given a lap dance before so I did what I do best, I sat there blushing, thinking what the fuck am I supposed to do? :D I think I thanked her but I may have still been in a state of shock haha. I was still red in the face from blushing when Bermuda decided to give me a lap dance, ohh lordy all this attention haha. Bermuda and Tantrum must have been tag teaming because Tantrum decided to give me another lap dance. I swear it was really hot in the venue and it had absolutely nothing to do with all my blushing :P

I was chatting with Cass when all of a sudden people around me started cheering. I was looking around to see what happened only to be told by Valfreya that Mal gave me a birthday shoutout. Dammit I completely missed it :( The Dames had their skate out which had the whole making it rain theme to it then they completely topped it with a couple of them dishing out Dames dollars to the crowd Grand Theft Auto style. I still don't like skateouts but that was ace combining derby with Grand theft auto. Glitter saw to it that I didn't miss out on Dames dollars by waking up to me and shoving some down my shirt haha. I really felt like I was in a real life Grand theft auto situation minus the car chases and shootouts :)

I've discovered a while back that these end of year Dames bouts take year's off my life. I'm still recovering from that nail biting loss against Adelaide a couple of year's back. this bout was no different. I'd never seen Perth bout so I had no idea what to expect. Understandably both sides were testing the waters for the first few jams and for the most part the bout was fairly even. There was one particular player for Perth who stood out. I think it was Annie Thingoes, the number on the back of her shirt was one big blur because I swear I have never seen anyone skate that fast in my life. Not only was she agile as hell getting through the pack and fast but it was like there was jets on the bottom of her skates because when she put her foot down it was like someone pressed the fast forward button. AMAZING.

There was some great walls by both sides, quite a few penalties, lots of engaging plays but neither side could deliver the knock out blow to take a huge lead. It was great and nerve wracking to watch. Some other players that stood out for me: Dangerass, a player that more than lives up to her derby name. It's like her arse is a magnet for opposing players, once they get caught behind her they ain't getting past her unless she lets them. Her positional blocking is some of the best I've seen. Yes, as always I fangirled over Jilla's blocking. At first the Perth guys did nothing to nullify her backwards blocking so she had an absolute field day stopping their jammers time and time again. It wasn't until the second half when they started double and even triple teaming her to stop her from getting to their jammer. Reggie's blocking was once again crazy good. I know I haven't mentioned her much in my blog in the past but for a while now I've noticed how effective her blocking is especially at ERRD and in this bout. She sweeps up at the back really well. Kell, I wish I could get her to see what I see watching from the sidelines. She's unsure if she's had a good game or not and I have to assure her she has. She'd be one of the first names on my team. She keeps her wall of players in a tight wall, can put people on their arse if needed or positional block the hell out of them.

The end of the bout was certainly 'interesting'. With only a few jams left and the Dames in the lead, Jilla went to transition and backwards block a player when she fell and didn't get back up. It was easy to see she was in pain because I've never seen her stay down. It was at that moment that I stopped caring about the bout, I was worried about Jilla's condition, some things are more important than a bout result. I wasn't watching the bout but apparently there were some amazing jams I missed out on watching. When it looked as though she hadn't broken her ankle I managed to watch the last jam. It was another nail biter but a well deserved win for the Dames.

It was onto the after party and I decided to use that as an excuse to have birthday drinks with some of my newy friend's. Can you believe it I was actually being social and talking to people, I know right! It was nice to relax and have a few laughs or so I thought, Tantrum came back for round two (or was that three?). I think I was in danger of becoming permanently red faced from all my blushing haha. It's times like this that I wish my social skills were more advanced than what they currently are. Later on I was standing up and chatting with Cass and co when Tantrum started twerking me, I looked over to Jilla with a look on my face that clearly said WTF do I do? HELP ME!!!! Jilla helped me by sitting there and laughing at me. Thanks Jilla! :P I love these crazy guys, they're a great tonic for my shyness. Not only that but everything they did for me that night was such an honour considering I'm not actually an official member of their league. Some of them said I'm an honourary member which suits me just fine because I guess you can say I'm unofficially a member of my two favourite leagues :D

Sunday I was still 'high' from the previous night. Not only that the Erradicators were training on the court next to us in preperation for their bout. So much awesome talent but as much as it would have been great to just sit and watch them, I had my own training to worry about. The training committee had planned for those of us not scrimmaging against the Erradicators to have our own little scrimmage which would have been my first since my knee injury in April so I was super excited about that but alas not enough people turned up so no scrimmage for the rest of us :( I also managed to break a 'curse'. The last two times I picked up a knee injury I was working one on one with Cherry during a drill. I'm happy to report that Cherry and I worked together and I didn't pick up an injury YAY! I know we're friend's but I still have to pinch myself from time to time that I get to train with her on a regular basis. She also provides me with good tips on how to improve my form. Also working with someone as experienced as her constantly challenges me.

Our 'kazi's took on the erradicators in scrimmage. That was a shit load of fun to watch. It was also the first time I'd ever seen NRDL players take on my league. No surprise which team I went for (like that was ever in doubt) and it was fun to engage in some banter with Jilla who was benching for the Erradicators. I was happy with how my guys performed, they had some good little wins against the more experienced Erradicator skaters. Overall I'd call that a pretty awesome weekend both on and off skates!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Extremely Rad Roller Derby

Last weekend it was the annual ERRD tourney (or Eastern Region Roller Derby tournament for the non-derby folk) which was hosted up on the Central Coast for the first time. I love watching this tournament, it's two full on days of continual bouts, yeah your brain turns to mush from watching so much derby at once but I'm willing to pay that price because the payoff is so worth it. This year I went as a spectator instead of a bout writer so it was all about getting my cheer on for my leaague and step league.

Funnily enough the Newy guys ended up sitting next to us HARDies on track two. Not just that but the HARD and NRDL merch tables were positioned next to each other. I'll take that as a sign that we're meant to bout each other ;) It worked out well for me because Newy's second bout was directly after ours so I just had to take one step across to join in with their cheer squad!

The Dames opening bout was against Canberra's A team. Most of my league are Short stop and Bambi fangirls especially after the bootcamp they had with us earlier this year. No surprise which team I was going for but it's impossible not to sit back and marvel at the magic CRDL perform on the track. Short stop defies physics and manages to get belted with blocks and still get through gaps in the pack that should be humanly impossible. We all KNOW how awesome her jamming is but her blocking is equally as impressive. Betty recorded when Jilla backwards blocked Bambi off the track and onto her arse and quickly told me about it haha.

Our bout against SRDL C was amazing and heartbreaking all rolled into one. We were playing so fucking awesome, playing to our strengths, staying out of the penalty box. It was still neck and neck but we were more than holding our own. A group of us were cheering our league on as if that could somehow give them an extra 5% on the track. With minutes left, there was belief and then it came down to those few minutes where the power jams gave all the momentum to SRDL and they nabbed it off us right at the death.That happens in derby but it felt oh so shite at the time, I couldn't have been more proud of my guys and the effort they put in.

The Dames next bout saw them take on SRDL's B team and the result was never in bout for the Dames. Most of my guys were watching the bout as our bout was straight after the Dames bout. A lot of my guys have never seen the Dames bout, it was funny how many of them came up to me and said that they finally realised why I was such a Jilla fangirl as she put in another awesome display. Temper said she became a Jilla fangirl haha. It was a great performance all round for the Dames which meant they lived to fight another day in the tournament and would face the Assassins the next day. It was so much easier cheering on the likes of Danger and Kell because they were the Dames uniform and not their home team colours ;)

Our bout against WSR ended up being a bruising encounter. What worked for us in the first half, the strong walls in the pack went to pieces as WSR outmuscled our walls to allow their jammer through while jamming up our jammers. Our guys fought hard but struggled against more physical opponents. Two loses meant we finished third in our group so we had to play a consolation final i the last bout of the night against Port Macquarie who finished third in their group.

Our guys were knackered after a long day and you couldn't blame them but they picked themselves up and got back onto the track for their final bout of the tournament. As tired as I was and still having to drive back to Sydney that night I wasn't going to skip the final bout. Our little HARD cheer squad cheered our hearts out, Bede had his sign hoping for diving intervention but it wasn't needed as our guys controlled the bout from beginning to end with a strong, confident performance. Three PMRDL players got ejected from the bout but our guys didn't take their foot off the pedal. Sir Gestive joined us to watch the bout. Man it's been a long time since I've snorted so much with laughter, he's the male version of Patsy from Ab Fab :) Our tournament was over but I couldn't have been more prouder of my guys. They're definately bonding a lot better on the track, the only way is up if they keep at it.

On Sunday I didn't rock until just before the Dames bout against the Assassins after catching up on some much needed sleep. I was hoping that the Dames would win even though it would have meant I'd miss the final because I had to go back to Sydney to go to a gig later that night. the Dames started the better of both halves but when the Assassins turned the screw the Dames couldn't keep up. There was a few times where the Assassins blockers stopped the Dames jammer from making their initial pass. Regardless of the score, I cheered them on right until the end even though I was surrounded by SRDL supporters.

Canberra B were bouting at the same time against Canberra A and ended up losing their bout which meant that both the Dames and CRDL B had to back up and play again in that shitty heat. Forget the skate outs, fish nets and all that superficial stuff this here was what derby was all about. Despite being a Dames fan I had to applaud CRDL for backing up the way they did, that couldn't have been easy.

The Dames opened up a lead and never looked back. Jilla got ejected for picking up 7 majors, naughty Jilla ;) I was wearing my Smashleys shirt and cheering on the Dames so I suppose it's an easy mistake for the Canberra photographer to make to assume I was a member of NRDL. I had to explain to him I was actually a HARDie who had a not so secret love affair with NRDL hehe. As soon as their bout finished I had head off to the gig back in Sydney but it was well worth the travel. On a side note whoever came up with the Making it rain... saying is a genius, catch as fuck that is.

Most of my team mates have never heard me being that vocal or seen me that animated before but for most of my life sport has been the one area of life where I let my guard down and don't give a shit if people think I'm being a dickhead. You know what I fangirled like crazy when Jilla and Cherry were bouting , how could you not they put in AMAZING performances over the weekend. My team mates took the piss out of me, the bastards :P but it was all in good fun. Another year of ERRD over and it was great to watch but hopefully next year I'll be lining up on the track for my league instead of sitting on the sidelines watching. That's the plan anyway!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Right place, right time.

Something pretty amazing happened to me last weekend that I fear I really won't be able to capture the impact it has had on me not just for derby but life in general. It proved to be a game changer for me that couldn't have come at a better time. It all started...

back earlier in the week. I finally ordered the latest copy of Hit and miss which has the awesome ChamPain Showers on the front cover. Flick through the magazine and you'll come across an article called 'Did you just call me fat?' written by Jilla. I thought I was going to get RSI in my neck from the constant nodding in agreement with what I was reading. It was such an eye opener too because from the first bout I've ever watched her in she has always exuded confidence on the track but in the article I was completely relating to the fears, body issues and mental games. To me it just made her more awesome because despite all that she doesn't let it get the better of her as she constantly produces magic on the track. I took a lot out of her article.

Roll on Saturday morning and I found myself driving up to Newy for a one on one training session that I had lined up with Jilla a while back. I must admit I was bricking it because I only had two training sessions in the past four weeks due to my knee injury and we all know what she can do to fit and injury-free skaters in a bout. It started off with me attempting to block her and then she would offer me useful feedback. I was learning that it was the little things that could make a huge improvement in the way I played derby. For one Jilla's blocking was so much faster, it was like bang, you're off the track, I'm still on, get back behind me and repeat whereas my blocking still involves a lot of winding up that even a blind person could see what I was attempting to do and prepare for my blocking attempt. I concede ground if someone gets their foot in front of me instead of fighting to reclaim it again. I lost count of how many times she told me that I would have had her if I kept pushing on. I need to learn to use what I've got, I'm not exactly small in height or weight but if I learnt how to use them more effectively I'd be able to hold skaters back and also drive through more with my blocks.

Jilla's article in HAM got brought up and it was here that things took a surprising turn. The blocking may have stopped but we just kept skating laps and it was here where I learnt things that don't get taught in a derby training session. I learnt what makes her tick and what drives her in derby. By the end of it it felt as though I had experienced something like this just derby related:

 The biggest thing was I always had the impression that she was just naturally talented at derby but discovered how much work she puts into improving her skills. She watches the game like I do when it comes to picking up habits of players and working out how to get around that. It's no fluke that she's as awesome as she is.

I think it also broke down that final barrier for me. Having had such stunted social skills most of my life, any favourite player or someone I thought was amazing I ended up putting on a pedestal. With Jilla the first time I met her I barely said a word because I was in complete awe of her, sounds stupid now but it's true. For a long while I actively avoided the likes of her and Cherry because I had them on such a pedestal that I thought I was beneath them and that they only tolerated me because they were being polite. Fast forward to more recent times and all the work I've done to improve my social skills and things are a lot different. Recently I asked Jilla if she'd be a mentor for me, something I never would have had the guts to do up until a few months ago. As silly as it sounds it was nice for once to be able to skate alongside someone I hold in such high regard and just be myself and not think 'she must think I'm such a loser' etc etc. Our skating levels may be worlds apart but she's a mere mortal like the rest of us :)   

It was back to getting schooled by Jilla. If you're going to get pushed out of your comfort zone, why not go the full hog and ask to do backwards blocking against one of the best in the business when it comes to backwards blocking! I asked her the best way to combat someone who is boss at backwards blocking as her and she started showing me the best way to combat that so I ended up learning lots of new things. On one attempt she was trying to force me off the track with her backwards block while I was trying to get around her that I was literally millimeters away from face planting into her arse AWKWARD haha. Fuck me she's a brick wall on skates, it's damn near impossible to shift her, damn her and her rugby union background! You know what though I managed to move her backwards a bit unlike 99% of the people who just stand there and allow her to dominate her so I'll take that little win. I was feeling good until she said I had to backwards block her! I have no poker face so the look of pure fear came on my face which made her laugh. I wasn't shitting myself because I was fangirling, I was shitting myself because I know what she's capable of doing on the track and my backwards skating isn't that great yet. She said she wouldn't block me that hard but that didn't alleviate the fear one bit. I can look back and laugh now but at the time I thought I was going to die from a heart attack because I had never skated backwards that fast in my life. I didn't trust myself not to stack it on my arse and break something so I was clutching onto Jilla for dear life and to top it all off I was screaming like a little girl on every attempt :D I survived and the last attempt I felt more comfortable doing it.

We did some more blocking until I was on the receiving end of a Jilla special. She came in on her 'weaker' side and absolutely nailed me smack bang in my chest with a hit that I've seen many skaters left as roadkill on the track when they've copped it from her. I swear I've never been hit that hard in my life, it absolutely stunned me, more so that I couldn't quite comprehend how I was still on my skates after being on the receving end of that. It was a good reminder of what to expect when I started bouting.

I missed out on the Canberra and Victoria bootcamps that my league organised earlier this year due to that long knee injury but I never forgot how excited my team mates were by the experience and how much they got out of it. That's exactly how I felt on Saturday. This is precisely why I've stuck with derby despite all the setbacks, for moments like this. It makes all the pain and setbacks worth it by getting the chance to constantly push myself outside my comfort zone to try and learn new things and still enjoy it just like when I first fell in love with derby.