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.