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 :)