Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When you fall the only way back is up.

It has been a little while between posts. A couple of weeks ago my grandmother lost her third and final battle with cancer. Despite her poor health it came out of the blue. She was well enough that she was two days away from being discharged from hospital when she suddenly developed internal bleeding and from there she never recovered. In those last four days it broke my heart seeing her struggle to breathe and unable to talk from all the medication. The one thing I’ll never forget though is still seeing her fight to live right up until the final time we saw her alive. That’s the biggest lesson I can take out of this huge loss. Hopefully I can show some of that fighting spirit in derby and life in general too. 

It was back to derby training last week. My league is in the 5x5 tournament again this year so the training is tailored towards preparing the kazi's for their first bout on the 29th March. It was good getting back into the swing of things again. We had a new team mate join us Myna Bingle transfered from WSR and it didn't take long to get stuck into training. She's certainly a welcome addition and I'm looking forward to training with her more in the future. 

One thing that stood out for me was my lack of speed especially when we were doing pack work. I'd slowly drift to the back and then struggle to catch up when the pack sped up. It's something I'm going to need to work on. Continuing on with my hopes of finally making this my bouting year I made the decision that this year I really needed to step outside my comfort zone so whenever we have to pair up with someone I'll pick one of the more harder team mates to come up against for that particular drill like lining up with Foggy for the fast feet shuffle which left me feeling knackered but extremely challenged by the end of it!

At the end of training on Friday night I found out the next assessments are on the 7th and 9th March which means NEXT WEEK! I need to pass one final assessment before I can try and fight for a place on the kazi's. I don't know if I'll pass this time but the worst that'll happen is that I attempt the assessment and flunk. It'll just mean that I have to keep working hard and try again in May. It's also hit me that if I pass this assessment I may just be bouting next month in 5x5 and then it all felt so sudden. That's probably the last thing anyone would expect me to say after getting up to three years and still not bouting. With the chance to bout maybe not that far away it's made me question myself whether I really am up for it physically and mentally to start bouting. The one thing that sticks in my head is what Glitter once told me 'bouting is just scrimmaging with people watching'. When you put it that way that's a pretty accurate definition, that and you're bouting against people you don't train with so there's the element of surprise too. Even though I'm not bouting yet it's a good thing to remember.

One of the things I loved about training on Sunday was training with Toad. I'm loving the fact that we get to train with a guy because they play the game differently in some ways. The beauty with Toad is that he gives as good as he gets so I'm absolutely loving the physical aspect of it because I fully expect to be hit as hard as he does. One thing most of my team mates have said once they started bouting interleague was being shocked by how hard they were being hit by opposing teams. It was a lot harder than what they were used to at training so it's something I have kept in mind to try and prepare myself as much as I could so it wouldn't be as much of a shock to the system when I do eventually start bouting. Besides coming up against the likes of Toad and some of the harder hitters in our league I've also started doing boxing with my brother in law by getting my body used to copping impact.

The training committee announced they had formed two set scrimmage teams. We'll be in the same teams each week so that it'll hopefully allow partnerships to form and give the training committee a chance to see how works well with who or not. The aim is for it to hopefully to lead into home teams for proper bouts in the second half of the year EXCITEMENT! I'm relishing the challenge of being in the opposite team to the likes of Cherry, Lola and Posh. That's going to a massive challenge for us to stop to those three on a weekly basis. I can't wait :D

During scrimmage on Sunday I discovered my best position on the track - covering the inside line. Bugger all agility - check, not that easy to be forced off the track - check. I found that this position plays to my strengths. I can postional block and hold my ground while protecting that inside line to stop any opposing skaters from getting past. It may not sound glamorous but if doing that role means that my team mates can trust me enough to do it so that it free's them up to do their jobs on the track then I know I've done my job. It gives me a foundation to build on and help improve my skills so that I can hopefully become more versatile on the track and be of more use for my team in the future.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

And we're back! (now with added bursitis)

The feeling was building up all day from the moment I woke up and only intensified as I left the house to go to the first derby training session for the year. However terribly cliqued it may sound I was genuinely excited to be going back to derby this year. The first year I was shitting myself, the second year I was a little jaded due to injuries and setbacks. The interesting thing is between my previous post and this one things went horribly wrong for me that my preseason plans were derailed and things still aren't 100% but despite it all the experience has given me a new attitude to take into this derby year.

The first sign of trouble was over a month ago. The further along my preseason went the more I exercised. At the same time I was getting a sharp pain in my right hip with any sort of movement. The pain was getting worse so I hit up my physio and she identified it as bursitis. I was suddenly restricted to just pool work, weights and rest which sucked because I was starting to some positive results with my fitness. The physio part not only physically hurts but I also have to expose more of my arse than I care to because she needs to work on all the tendons connected to the bursa so I close my eyes and wish for it to be over. The things you have to do to try and get yourself fighting fit again!

While I was dealing with the injury in the off season I also had to deal with my grandmother ending up in hospital. To cut a long story short she has cancer again for the third time but this time they can't operate on her because her heart wouldn't last the surgery so it's spreading. Her immune system is wrecked from all the medications she has consumed for all sorts of medical issues over of the years that her organs are starting to give out. She ended up in hospital because she got pneumonia. Her condition is stabilising but ultimately it's a losing battle as her health deteriorates. I'm close with my family so it has hit me hard especially as I see her condition get worse and I can't do anything to help her. Despite the really shitty situation my grandmother has taught me a massive lesson. She's had health problems for over 25 years and in that time she's pulled through situations that no one should have the right to because she refuses to quit. She has more heart and fight in her than Rocky Balboa. Although I'm struggling with her situation I decided to take a leaf out of her book. She accepts what's ultimately going to happen and she isn't fearing it but she sure as hell will be going out fighting. This year for derby I will be turning cannot into can regardless of how many falls I have in the process I will keep getting back up. There will be no quitting on my part. I am my grandmother's granddaughter.

Butters ran our first training session for the year on Sunday. It was really great to see my team mates again and train with them. I am one of those 'lucky' people that if my exercise levels drop even just a few days my fitness levels all but disappear. I felt a little off with my skating for a while and by the time we were doing paceline work my quads were protesting very loudly but my new sassfit compression shorts were trying to tell them to shut up. My blocking was a little off and rusty but if I keep working at it it'll come back. My agility shortcomings were hugely apparent and I made a mental note to work on that in my own time.

It was blocking week so we were working on a lot of blocking drills which I really enjoyed. Butters tested out a new drill which was quite fun and educational. When I was in the same line with Cherry she pointed out that I needed to try and slow down the jammer more instead of gaining speed. I also discovered that it has become so natural for me to resist when someone pushes me on the track that I'm even doing it to my team mates if they're trying to push me onto an opposing skater. I'm not exactly small so if someone like Butters struggles to shift me then someone like Rex has no chance! It's something I need to be mindful of. When I had to jam I liked the fact that I started thinking about how I was going to try and split the wall and get through that way.

I was like a kid on Christmas morning when they said we were going to have scrimmage. I didn't care that we were short of players which meant we would have to play multiple jams WE WERE SCRIMMAGING! Both sides were evenly split in experience with some team mates scrimmaging for the first time which was awesome. Cherry might not talk much on the track but in between the jams she was a wealth of knowledge pointing out things she picked up or different tactics to try. I really enjoyed scrimmage, personally it felt like one of the best ones I had had up to now. I was working on offensive blocking trying to break up the opposing teams walls to help my jammer get through which is something I hardly attempted last year, I was very focussed on defensive blocking. I even attempted wriggling my arse to break up the wall behind me without doing direction of gameplay. It was such a good learning experience especially when Butters caught me winding her up for a block and sidestepped me which highlighted the need to do quick, sharp blocks. Butters and I jammed against each other in one jam, she got lead but I chased her down and we had a bit of jammer on jammer action going :)

I got a massive compliment for Butters. She annihilates opposing players for fun on the track and in one jam she came up on my inside and tried to take out our wall to help her jammer get through. She hit me but I hardly moved. She then said that I was hard to move, coming from her that's a massive compliment and I couldn't help but smile :D That scrimmage finally cemented in my head that I finally found something I was good at in derby - counterblocking. I'll fight my ground so if you're going to get me out of the way it better be a good one. Although the likes of Cherry still gets me off the track I think it takes her a bit more effort to do so :) Throughout the scrimmage I had opposing skaters lining me up to try and take me out and more often than not they bounced off me and fell. I was just standing my ground. I feel as though I've finally laid my base in derby now I can really start to push on from being so one dimensional and become a better all round skater like working on things like my lack of agility.

There are so many amazing bouting opportunities coming up this year starting with 5x5 kicking off next month. I'm still one level away from being able to participate in things like that. It's so hard not to be excited about this year even about bouts that haven't been confirmed like us against the Harbour Harpies (yep I'm not giving up on that one!). This year has the potential to be my breakthrough year for derby. I'll certainly put the effort in to make it happen, anything is possible!