Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Getting out what you put in.

I must have the worst timing in roller derby. It's approaching that time of year that leagues are starting to wind down for the year but I of course have appeared to gotten over my injury problems for the year and am now ready to kick on, typical! This past month I've been riding a wave of momentum and you know what I'm actually enjoying this feeling for once. In the past whenever things have started going ok I've told myself that it's only a matter of time before things go back to being crap again. Negativity and I went hand in hand. It's taken me a long time to get to this point but I've finally got to the stage where I'm a bit more relaxed, fearless and just happy at training and I think it's reflected in the way I've been at training recently. I've fought to get to this place so I may as well appreciate it :)

Thunda ran our training session on Sunday and it involved tackling some more advanced skills like backwards skating/blocking EEEK! If you're going to be thrown out of your comfort zone you may as well go all out so I partnered up with Cherry and boy she didn't disappoint! I think now that I've been able to come up against the likes of Cherry and Jilla a few times now and also backing myself a little I don't automatically think they're going to put me on my arse. Cherry made me work so hard when she backwards blocked me, it was taking all my strength to try and force her backwards but it was a lot of fun and I was feeling more confident doing it.

When it came to me backwards blocking her it was a different story. Since I haven't done much work dishing out the backwards block I still shit myself when I attempt it mainly due to the fear that I'll be sent flying on my arse when I get charged at. There were a few times where I thought my heart was going to come flying out of my chest but Cherry was bloody awesome with her help. She was showing me the best way to counteract the skater depending on which way they came in and that helped a lot. I still need to work on putting just enough pressure on my toe stops to slow the skater down because I put too much pressure on them and end up stopping which is all sorts of wrong.  After watching Jilla doing her best moonwalk impersonation when she alternates on her toe stops while she's backwards blocking I often practise just rolling backwards and getting used to using alternate toe stops. It's these little things that will help get me backwards blocking properly one day.

We were working on backwards skating  and Cherry was giving me a lot of help on how to navigate the track with correct form. My right leg doesn't move as freely as my left one but it got to the stage where I wasn't 'freaking out' in my mind that I was skating backwards I was just doing it, that's the first time that's ever happened to me. I'm happy that I'll get to work with Cherry on a regular basis on the weekends at Skatel because I know that'll help me even more. Exciting times ahead!

If all that wasn't amazing enough I ended up having my first scrimmage since I first injured my knee back in April. EXCITEMENT!!! Both sides didn't have enough players so we were all playing a lot of back to back jams. Welcome back to scrimmage haha Even putting on my scrimmage shirt and arm bands was ridiculously exciting, it's funny how even the smallest things can mean so much after so much time away. Considering how long I was out from scrimmaging my only focus was to listen to my team mates and just do the basics right, no need to try and be a hero. I picked up a couple of majors that night which left me feeling like I let my team mates down.

It's funny there was a lot of close pack work but I wasn't in near constant fear of wheel clips and massive stacks which usually plagues my mind when I scrimmage. At one stage I even balanced on one foot to avoid flying over the top of a skater who had fallen. I was lucky enough to have some awesome team mates on my team it calmed me down and things went pretty smooth. After such a long time out I ended up being surprised by some of my team mates on the opposition, guys like Kate and Betty have improved so much with their positional blocking, they gave me a torrid time stopping me from getting through the pack.

I put my hand up to jam in one of the last jams. I lined up against Sharni. I must admit I love jamming because it provides a whole set of new challenges than what blocking does. I'm not good at it but it's something I'd love to keep working on so that I can become a better all round player. My guys were fucking awesome they kept repelling back Sharni which left me to worry about making my own way past the opposing blockers. If anything I could do with being a little more agressive on the track, not to the point that I'm reckless but I might find some more opportunities appear on the track. I bided my time trying to find the gaps to get through and somehow I did enough to get lead jammer!!!! I had a quick celebration and kept pushing on. It was more the same, perfect blocking from my guys and biding my time and somehow getting through. By this stage I was knackered, I've got so much respect for jammers blocking feels a lot easier haha. When I came back around again I played smart. I'm not an agile skater but one thing I have gained from all the time I've been off injured is all the bouts I've gotten to watch which has allowed me to pick up certain traits skaters have. I saw Apple on the inside line, I know she can be caught out on the inside line by leaving a gap plus she stands pretty tall so I made my way for the gap she left on the inside line, got lower just before she went to block me and counteracted her block which sent her tumbling and allowed me to pick up another 5 points for my side!!! The jam went for the full 2 minutes, my guys stopped Sharni on her initial pass and I picked up 10 points for my side. That's the most I've ever scored in a jam. That whole scrimmage and not just that jam felt like I was finally having a win with derby. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face :D

It's not just me that's currently having good fortune with derby. My mate Cass has finally done it. She's been selected to be in her first ever derby bout!! I was over the fucking moon for her when she messaged me about it. It's funny that the same week I wrote this article for Roller Derby AU Cass got the news she'd been waiting for. Both of us have taken the path of most resistance to get to bouting level and no one deserved this more than her. We bonded and became good friend's as we've both struggled to get to bouting level so it's no surprise that I'd do everything in my power to get to her first bout and be her biggest fan on the sidelines. Unfortunately the bout this Saturday against Port Macquarie is a closed door bout so no spectators so I got my thinking cap on to see how I could get around this when it hit me. I messaged Port Macquarie and asked them if they wanted Roller Derby AU to do a bout write up. Guess who is going to Port Macquarie to do the bout write up :D Derby can be an absolute gobshite sometimes but sometimes awesome things like this happen that it gives you that extra boost to keep trying and push on with your own goals. Derby sometimes you go alright :)


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.

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 :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Battling the meh's

I've completed derby blasphemy the last few weeks and from what I hear from others it's quite common in derby. Real life issues have mentally drained me the last few weeks that I haven't felt anything for derby. I know I should stop swearing but it's true. I lost all motivation for derby and my attendance became erratic. I was feeling flat in general and it spread to derby which took me by surprise because there was so much to look forward to derby wise in the coming months. I got told on Saturday night that I had been cleared by the relevant committee folk to resume scrimmage so I thought that it might help snap me out of the funk I was in.

I had a chat with Cherry before training to explain my recent poor attendance and she was a great help. I felt better and more focussed after the chat. Stunt Muffin, now merby extraordinaire came back to have a training session with us which was awesome because I miss training with him. Not only that I was going to get to scrimmage again!

First drill for the night we had to partner up. The purpose of the drill was one would get blocked and fall even if they weren't hit hard enough to fall because it was all about jammer recovery rate and then we'd swap, the jammer would become the blocker and repeat. Simple enough. I partnered up with Cherry which was cool because I know she'd challenge me (ie: kick my arse) and I wouldn't have to hold back on her. It was going alright, it was her turn to block me again and honestly it wasn't even a hard block, she smashed me harder with a few of her earlier attempts but I found myself heading straight for a goal post from the indoor soccer goal that I had visions of having this happen to me

so I ended up getting caught in two minds as I was going down so instead of going into a double knee fall I landed on the inside of my knees almost frog like. I was doubling over not just in pain but I just *knew* the second the pain ripped through my right knee that I just re-damaged it all over again. Janine and Kaley were the first aid officers and they did their best to help me which was nice of them. I eventually got up off the floor and hobbled to the bench to elevate and ice my knee.

I was sitting on the sidelines with my hoodie on absolutely shattered with what just happened especially since I worked so bloody hard to get back on skates and back to scrimmaging after the last knee injury kept me sidelined for months. I had a few team mates come up and ask me how I was doing and I remember telling them I couldn't do this anymore and that I felt like quitting, I was feeling completely dejected. I couldn't take sitting there anymore so I started hobbling to the car. I was looking at my helmet while I was leaving the venue and questioned myself whether I'd ever bout for HARD and if I'd ever bout against the Dames and Smashleys.

About half way home I had that light bulb moment when I realised I was looking at this situation the wrong way. Yeah I was understandably disappointed that I was looking at another lengthy injury lay off but the truth is that I've lived through something that no one should have to go through and I've started coming through the other side with that, derby and its setbacks pale in comparison. If my other situation has taught me anything it's that I'm a survivor and fighter, it's probably played a huge part in why I haven't quit derby in the past. There was to be no quitting, I already shown that I could come back from a lengthy knee injury and get back to up to scrimmaging so I could do it again with the right rehab work and mentality.

I can't control what happened but I control how I go forward from here. I've booked in a session with my physio on Thursday to see how bad the damage is. I don't think I've broken anything but I'm pretty certain my MCL is screwed again. I couldn't bend my knee at all this morning but as I hobbled to my car this afternoon I was starting bending it ever so slightly before the pain stopped me from bending it any further. No idea if my derby season is over for the year, watch this space.

Danger said it best when she told me a while back 'Stupid knees can go eat a dick!' Never were truer words spoken!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Nothing like a bit of good news to start off this post. I went to the physio post city to surf last week to work out the knots in my calves and at the end of the session she said I didn't need to book anymore appointments for my knee because I haven't had any setbacks since I went back to training WOO HOO! It was definately a confidence booster.

As I turned up to training yesterday Rex told me that I was going to be assessed by the head ref to see if I was safe to go back to scrimmaging. I was going to be watched while I was participating in the blocking and jamming drills. How exciting! I gave it my best shot, whether it was enough or not remains to be seen. If I flunked it just means I need more time to adjust back to full training again.

I had a lot of fun when we had to do a paceline and hip check everyone on our way through. I haven't done a hip check since before my injury so I was a little rusty, some attempts were better than others. Once again I struggled against Cherry when I had to hip check her. It has fuck all to do with the fact she's one of my fav skaters. I know her skills are superior to mine but there has been on the rare occassion skaters getting past her on the track. The million dollar question is HOW? The highlight of my night? Lola attempting to hip check me off the track, instead she basically bounced off me with a priceless look on her face thinking what just happened. Lola is known for hard blocking. My counteracting blocking strength is slowly coming back folks :D 

We worked in three's with one of us blocking a jammer off the track and then being blocked off the track by an opposing blocker so that the jammer could get back on the track in front of the person who initally forced them off. This drill was a lot of fun especially when I ended up in Butter's group. After a while it started becoming a little mechanical so Butters started changing it up a bit that a lot of us (me mostly) kept getting pulled up for track cuts when I was jammer because I wasn't paying attention to her track position so it made me think more which was a good thing.

I attempted Russian circles for the first time which was really cool. A lot of work required to improve it but I'm going to enjoy practising this one in my own time. I've actually noticed a difference in attitude in myself lately. Whenever I've struggled with a particular skill I'd get the shit's with myself but now it doesn't matter if I have to practise a skill a thousand times until I learn it, I'll do it because I want to continue to improve and learn.

It's also why I'm seeing the benefits of doing things like city to surf brings to derby for me. It's the physical and mental challenge to keep going right until the end and not to defeat myself. I may not be the most skillful skater but I would literally have to be broken for me to quit before the final whistle and even then I'd be trying to see if it was somehow possible to get back on the track :) With an endless supply of races/ fun runs throughout the year I have no shortage of off skates training and strengthening.

Derby wise things are getting better each week that it's nice to be working towards all the little and big goals I've got in place for myself for the rest of the year. Even away from derby things are going well. I've finally tackled issues that I've avoided for years and ended up lifting a huge weight off my shoulders in the process  so that the positive aspects are spreading to all areas of my life, including derby. So there's lots of reasons to smile about and keep working my arse off for :D Still hoping we get to scrimmage against NRDL by the end of the year...dammit I almost lasted a full post without mentioning it :P

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Word of advice

Last Tuesday night saw my first ever advanced training session. I'd been to quite a few throughout the year but that was off skates when Poz and I would work out benching stuff when we used to bench for the kazi's. When I walked into the school hall on Tuesday night I did have that thought 'is this really happening?' running in my head. The venue we train at on Tuesday's is different to the one we usually train at. I've heard that some of my team mates have mentioned in the past that they're not huge fans of the floor because it's a lot more slippery than our usual training venue. I personally loved it because it was different. I know once I start bouting at other venues they'll have different floors so I'll have to adjust to that quick smart. A more slippery floor means giving your agility skills a good workout so it's a good thing.

Punkie ran us through all sorts of drills, some I did for the first time like backwards weaving through cones. Although my backwards skating has improved and I'm getting a bit faster at them everyone else kicked my arse in the relays we did. I know that the more I practise, the closer I'll get to keeping up with the rest of them eventually. It hit me during training that I didn't care how stupid I looked or how many times I stacked it I was being pushed outside my comfort zone and it was all helping me get closer to my goals. Through all that my body decided it was too much awesomeness for one night that both of my calves cramped during the training session so I had to take it a bit easier towards the end but I survived my first Tuesday training session! I was on such a post training high that I only got four hours sleep that night which made work the next day that bit more challenging!

During the week Danger messaged me out of the blue and offered me some advice on tackling skills that I was having trouble. It was a different way to how I usually approach things but I thought I'd give it a crack the next chance I had to see if it worked.

If Tuesday was jumping out of my skin about training, Friday was the complete opposite. I know I'm not the first person to experience this but it had been a shit week away from derby that I really wasn't arsed about going to training, blasphemy I know. All day right up until I got home from work I kept changing my mind about whether to go to training or not. I knew that once I got ready and left the house that I'd go to training so that's what I did. Once I was there I was all good and got stuck in. I'm sure this happens to a lot of people from time to time. I'm glad I stuck it out and went to training because I'm sure it got me a step closer to going back to scrimmage.

The session was all about walls, building, maintaining and trying to get through them. I've known for a long time that I'm really shite with offensive blocking, I just don't have the ability to break through walls yet and I don't really know why. Is it lack of confidence, not picking the right moment, not using my body to its maximum effect or something else?

Saturday morning I headed up to Newy for my first social skate since my knee injury. I loved having a skate with Cass again. She was awesome enough to tell me about the training session they had the previous night with a speed skater and passed on some tips that she got from the training session. this is why I don't mind the 2 hour drive up there because there's always someone there to offer me help or advice that it becomes another training session for me.

I decided to try out Danger's advice and started tackling transitions on the inside. It took a while but once I stopped overthinking and started following Danger's advice it worked I started transitioning on the inside!!! I couldn't believe how quickly it worked. Thank you Danger!

I headed back to Sydney to get ready and make my way to the 5x5 double header final. I ended up missing the first 15 minutes of Blue Mountains vs Inner West. I predicted a Blue Mountains win but I was surprised by the score. Blue Mountains were playing like they were in first gear and they weren't using Mis Behave as jammer which was strange. Inner West as always were giving it their all but it wasn't enough as BM did enough to win it. I was a bit puzzled why the ref's weren't calling out of play especially by one Inner West player in particular. I was sitting in the grandstand but even I could see when the Inner West jammer gave herself a whip off a BM blocker to get around her. How that wasn't called as a penalty I'll never know.

The second bout took most of us by surprise. I thought Central Coast were going to win but South Side blew them away right from the beginning and kept applying the blow torch for the rest of the bout. My favourite moment had to have been when Kiki Chaos came back onto the track after being in the penalty box she absolutely nailed an S2D2 blocker who was in a sausage line on the track then on the next bend she poleaxed the S2D2 jammer. It's why I can't wait to bout her one day because it'll be so bloody tough but just as much fun. Kiki's ace :)

I was chatting to Ivy at the bout and she mentioned she wanted to link this blog onto the RDAU website because she likes the personal approach and she thinks other people out there can relate to it. I told her most of my posts go something like this One week - I got injured AGAIN, screw you derby you're not going to get the better of me. I'm such a fangirl of Brig, Cherry and Jilla. Man I would love to bout NRDL one day. I went up to Newy on the weekend for a bout and/or social skate. Next week - Yay back on skates, I got the better of this latest injury. I headed up to Newy again for a skate and/or bout. Jilla's freaking awesome, did I mention I want to bout against NRDL one day...and repeat :P Sound familiar haha. Do people really relate to that?

I may have some ridiculously high derby goals I'd love to achieve by the end of the year but there's some amazing opportunities coming up that'll hopefully help me get there. Apart from my normal training I've lined up a day to have some one on one training with Jilla, she won't tell me what she has in mind so I have no idea what she plans on teaching me, there's a few intraleague scrimmages HARD have with other leagues that I'll be able to participate in if i get my clearance to scrimmage, Candy said I can come up and scrimmage with her guys at CKO and Danger's in the process of trying to organise a bootcamp between us, Newy and WIRD which may involve scrimmage at the end of it. Read that I might get the chance to scrimmage with my guys against NRDL. I started the year training with NRDL, imagine ending the year scrimmaging against them? Mind blown just thinking about it :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Welcome back fucker!

After the uncertainty about which level I would be going to in derby I got my answer on Friday. The relevant parties decided I could stay at Sergeant level but I wasn't allowed to scrimmage or bout until I had been cleared by the head ref and training committee. I was over the moon with that, instead of dropping back down to Corporal level I could concentrate on working my fitness and skill levels up and eventually tackle the Lieutenant's level when I was ready. It was a weight off my shoulders and it felt nice to have a win with derby.

What a first training session to come back to. While I was over the worst of the cold, my nose and chest were blocked so it made trying to breathe just that more fun...not. The first thing we did was a 5 minute endurance. My form was a little sloppy but there's nothing more training and regaining 'match fitness' won't fix. I got 21 laps which I was happy with because that was what I was averaging before I got that miracle 25 in 5 for my assessment, so I haven't lost too much.

Butters ran the training session and there was lots of two minute drills. I really struggled with the knee taps because I had to avoid squats and lunges during rehab on my knee injury so I got weak in that area. I'm mindful that I need to ease myself back into that because my knee is probably still a little weak. I always knew it was going to be tough coming back to proper training after a lengthy injury layoff but it served as a good reminder not to get too far ahead of myself with dreams of bouting. There's lots of work to do before I get to that stage.

The blocking drills were lots of fun. I loved being amongst the action again. There were a few hair raising moments but I think I went ok for my first session, I may have even nudged Butters off the track at one stage. What better way to test yourself out then coming up against Cherry. If she really wanted to block me hard I'd still be picking myself up off of the floor but it was a nice little confidence booster being able to stay on the track and on my feet when she blocked me for the most part. My body was aching from general soreness by the end of the session but there was no pain in my knee WIN!

Saturday was my usual trip up to Newy (I've come to the realisation it would probably be cheaper if I just moved up there). My Smasho's weren't playing but I was looking forward to watching a Newy bout where I could just sit back and enjoy the action and not worry about the scoreboard. For those who love the all action, ridiculously high scoring jams the first half wouldn't have been your cup of tea but I absolutely loved it. It was strategy heaven. There was bugger all power jams so it was all about quick jams. The Hellcats actually had more players than their opposition for the first time in a long time and they had a slim lead lead going into half time.

It was more of the same in the second but then the Hellcats started giving away some power jams and then it was the Bogey's opening up bit of a gap which proved more than enough to get them over the line. This season the Hellcats have reminded me of the Smashleys from season's passed. So close but power jams stuff them up in the end. I know I keep harping on about this but I am in love with Danger's blocking. She more than lives up to her derby name. She doesn't need to lay on a Hollywood hit (but she can easily put skaters on their arse if need be) but she just nullify's them to perfection. Dare I say it her blocking is about as effective as Jilla's backwards blocking. HUGE CALL I know but that's how much I rate Danger's blocking. I'd love to learn to block like that.

Sunday's training was more of a relaxed session since the majority of our advanced skaters were scrimmaging against CCRG. It was a good session to shake the cobwebs out and do some of the basics. For the last half an hour we got to work on whatever we liked so I decided to start tackling learning how to transition on the inside. I was pretty shite at that but I want to learn how to do them so I did what I did when I learnt how to transition on the outside, I kept going up and down a line and practising them. It started to get a bit better so I know if I keep at it I'll eventually be able to do them.

I know the running joke in derby is that derby will take over your life and I'll admit I'm guilty of that too, it's only recently that I've noticed it's starting to come at a personal cost for me. I doubt anyone can question my commitment to derby but I feel as though I've overcommitted in some areas of it. I don't need to prove I'm a superfan by going to bouts every weekend and I have actually cut back on the amount of bouts I've been to this year. My commitment to training won't drop at all, I just need to find a better life/derby balance because there's other thing's going on behind the scenes that also need my attention before it's too late.

Speaking of training, since my knee has started responding well to training again (I got positive feedback from the physio tonight!), I am actually looking forward to slowly increasing my non-derby and derby exercise levels. I'm not content with just passing my Lieutenant's level and getting a spot on the 'kazi's. I'm actually quite happy that there is going to be competition for spots on the team now due to number's. I feel that's where I'm at my best - healthy competition because it makes me work as hard as I can which leads me to my next point.

I think ERRD has probably come around too soon for me but I'm still hoping that we'll have a family and friend's bout or even launch our home team's by the end of the year because I really would love to be able to bout by the end of the year. The first half of the year pre-injury was the best I've had in derby to date, I was on the verge of bouting. I would like to finish the year just as strongly so at the end of the Newy bout on Saturday I asked Jilla if it was possible to get some one on one lessons with her during the Newy social skates on Saturday morning's. I offered to pay her for her time, unfortunately for me it came out wrong so I quickly tried correcting myself. Jilla said she was happy to help, payment free which was nice of her :) I got a lot out of the two NRDL training sessions I went to earlier this year that she ran so I've got no doubt I'd learn even more from her. Just to be able to learn from someone of Jilla's calibre is huge. There will be no fangirling I promise hehe. I'm waiting until I'm fully back in the swing of things derby wise before I line up any training sessions with her because I have no doubt she'll push me way passed my comfort zone.

As silly as this sounds I wouldn't have been crushed even if Jilla said no. One of the big things for me was that I actually asked her in the first place. I acknowledge I've got stunted social skills and that I'm quite shy and it's something I've hid behind for many year's as a way to excuse why I might not have asked for something and just kept my mouth shut. I have been working on this area recently because I don't want to use it as an a excuse when I might end up passing up on a amazing opportunity such as getting to train with Jilla.

Once again there was lots happening in the world of derby. Cherry summed it up best. While I was putting my gear in the car after training on Friday night, Cherry drove past and said to me 'Welcome back fucker!' that's when I knew - I was back! :D

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Normal service has resumed.

Last Saturday night was tops. I headed up to Newy to celebrate Cass' birthday with some of her Newy team mates. It was great to hang out with some awesome derby folk away from derby. There was lots of laughs and drinks. Tantrum really is something special. She just exudes confidence, the more I hang around the likes of Tantrum the more I start to come out my shell. I love the fact that derby has helped me out in more than just skating skills.

On Monday I entered the physio's office hoping that I'd finally get my clearance to go back to full training. My knee was responding well with the increased training and exercise and my physio was pretty confident that I was reaching the stage where I could go back to full training, her only issue was the impact on my knee when I'd fall on it during training. She worked on my knee and was happy with how it responded so she said she was going to write a full clearance letter for me!! You'd have thought I would have jumped off the physio table in happiness but it was mostly relief that I was feeling at this stage because it meant I could finally move onto the next stage.

I'm in limbo right now about which level I'll be at when I go back to training. Our league has a policy that if you're off skates for more than 3 months you drop down a level. I got back on skates before 3 months BUT it's been over 3 months since I did full derby training. I'm waiting to hear back from the relevant parties on what my fate is. If I do drop back down to Corporal level 2, it'll mean I passed Sergeant level but never got to train at that level because I got injured the same night I passed the assessment. It would be typical of my derby journey to date so at this stage I wouldn't be surprised if that happens.

Throughout all this it has made me realise that I don't fear coming across anyone on the derby track anymore because I don't think anything could be tougher than all the crap I've had to go through just to get to bouting level. If I was going to have a problem with anyone or any team it would have been Jilla and Newy. Having had the chance to do some blocking with Jilla earlier this year I got to have my 'eek I'm fangirling about blocking with Jilla' moment that it's now out of my system. Now it's about not giving her the satisfaction of putting me on my arse and getting added to her trophy cabinet :) Same goes for scrimmaging with NRDL earlier this year, having experienced that it has made me prepared on what to expect so that I don't get all the caught up in the moment for when we finally do bout them.

There's some amazing scrimmage/bouting opportunities coming up for our league. If I get to remain at Sergeant level I'll be putting my hand up for that because it'll be an amazing learning experience coming up against other league's. Regardless of which level I end up at on Friday night one thing I am looking forward to now that I've got my full clearance is going back to the Newy social skates. I've always treated those as extra training sessions and they helped improve me a lot. There's also the CKO social skates that I want to try and get to because I would be able to skate and block with my friend Candy again which I'm really looking forward to.

It's onwards and upwards from here!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Like a kid on Christmas morning

I'll be the first to admit that I have a real love/hate relationship with derby. It may do its best to piss me off and frustrate me beyond measure but it has also produced moments of pure, unadulterated joy. This knee injury hit me hard physically and mentally but when I finally decided that it wasn't going to get the better of me I started making a recovery with the injury. With each bit of improvement it's hard not to get excited and start thinking I'm ready to go back to full training but my physio brings me back down to earth. I'm still restricted to an hour each session but I'm now allowed to do more advanced stuff like carves, stops, transitions. The last few times I've gone to the physio and not been given the full clearance there has been that initial disappointment but then I think back that it wasn't that long ago that I wasn't even able to skate. I've done everything the physio has told me to do so far and I've not had any setbacks so I'll keep doing what she tells me to do.

Each session back on skates is another little confident booster which in turn makes me appreciate being back on skates that little bit more. After almost each training session I'm on such a high because I've done something different even if it was a stop or something most would consider mundane that I can't help but post about it in happiness on Facebook. It's funny how you begin to appreciate being able to do all the little things again when you get forced off skates for a few months :) Apologies Facebook friend's I'll try and quiet it down on Facebook for now with the over excited posts!

Last Saturday was a whole lot of fun. Cass came down to Sydney for the weekend so I organised a skate at Skatel. Some of my team mates Betty, Cherry and Roadtrain also came along. It was a fun morning being able to skate with them all. I must admit I broke the physio's rule of no contact work. I was caught between feeling I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing and feeling like a kid on Christmas morning about the thought of doing some blocking work for the first time in months. Cass and Cherry finally met each other and had a good chat. It didn't take long for Cherry and I to settle into our cat and mouse game we play at Skatel. I was just so happy, doing what I love with some amazing friend's. Life was great. I was attempting to carve Cherry on her outside but ended up clipping her wheels and I ended up dropping to floor like a bag of shite. I didn't land on my knee so I was all good and ready to go again.

By the end of the session I still hadn't solved one of life's greatest mysteries - how to get around Cherry on the track. The problem isn't that I get all fanigirly and go all 'OH MY GOD IT'S CHERRY', it's nothing like that, it's just that she's too quick for me that it doesn't matter if I go to the left or right of her I can't get around her. It was great to be able to go social skating again, I'm hoping to go to a Newy one in a few weeks time when I'm not working on a Saturday. I'm also hoping to bring up a few of my team mates at a Newy social skate if they fancy waking up early on Saturday morning. I probably shouldn't have done blocking work before I got cleared by the physio but my knee pulled up well. It was a good confidence booster, what better way to test yourself out than against someone of Cherry's calibre. I definately felt the hunger to pick up where I left off pre-injury (when my body is ready for that) which was a good sign and I'm satisfied with that until I get my full clearance.

As most derby folk know by now the 'mercy' rule was looking to be introduced at the next derby world cup. I was horrified when I read that. That goes against everything I believe in. It only takes a few power jams to turn a bout on its head. It punishes the team that has worked their arses off to get to a level where they can potentially dominate other sides because they're forced to call off a bout. Where's the incentive to continually improve if a bout will be called off? What does that teach to the team getting flogged, it's ok to quit if it all gets too hard? Fuck that. If I was on a team that was getting hammered on the scoreboard I would want us to fight for every point and make the opposition fight for it too right until the final whistle. You might not win on the scoreboard but at least you know you gave it your all.

I've been reading one of Bruce Lee's books from his series. I was a fan of his from a young age when I first started watching his movies. Over the year's I really appreciated his determination and constant search for improvement which led to his awesomeness. It wasn't luck, it was his hard work and near constant practise  that got him to where he was. While reading his book this one particular quote stood out for me, it's basically what I try to strive for with derby.

You must be fierce, but have patience at the same time. Most important of all, you must have complete determination. The worst opponent you can come across is one whose aim has become an obsession. For instance, if a man has decided that he is going to bite off your nose no matter what happens to him in the process, the chances are he will succeed in doing it. He may be severely beaten up too, but that will not stop him from carrying out his objective. That is the real fighter.

 I'll be bouting one day with my team mates and one of those bouts will be against Jilla and co at Newy. Mark my words :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's the little things.

WARNING: This post contains ridiculous amounts of over excitement. You have been warned.

One thing I've learnt these last two months is to be careful what you wish for. When I had that disasterous scrimmage with NRDL I told myself that even if I passed my Sergeant level the following week that I wouldn't put my hand up for the family and friend's bout the month after. I certainly got my 'wish' and then some. Not only did I not bout but I missed out on two months of training and the amazing CRDL and VRDL bootcamps that my league hosted. So I've decided to have a more positive wish out there in the hopes it happens - I really want to scrimmage and bout with HARD against NRDL, I really want to scrimmage and bout with HARD against NRDL, I really want to scrimmage and bout with HARD against NRDL. We'll see if that works!

Last Thursday I walked into the physio's office mentally crossing everything I could possibly cross in the hope that all the rehab work had paid off and that my knee was strong enough to get back on skates. My physio didn't waste any time, she asked me if I was ready to go back on skates. You know when you're trying so hard to supress a smile that you have a ridiculous looking expression? That was me. It's funny I'm really not the hugging type but I could have given her a massive bear hug in that moment. She put me through various tests and my knee pulled up sweet with no side effects, so far, so amazingly good! While Shirley was working on my knee she laid out the ground rules for my return to skating, I didn't argue with any of it. It takes a while for me to trust people, over time I've gotten to trust my physio to the point I wouldn't go to anyone else, and of course I trust her advice. The deal was I was allowed to go to training on Friday and Sunday night and skate by myself for an hour each session. No falls, no contact, just skating.

Armed with this important piece of paper I celebrated all the way to my car the second I stepped out of the physio's office, by that stage I really didn't care if anyone saw me I HAD MY CLEARANCE LETTER!!!! :D

Friday night really could not come fast enough, regardless of how busy it was at work time went so SLOW. I was clearly rusty with going to training as a skater because half way to training I realised in my excitement that while I had packed everything in my skate bag I forgot to bring my helmet with me IDIOT! so I had to return home to collect it. By the time I eventually made it to training I had lost complete control of my face, I had a permanent grin on my face that I could not get rid of haha. My team mates were pretty ace as I walked past them while they were doing off skates training. I quickly sorted through the insurance paper work and then seriously I could not get my derby gear on quick enough. In the past I've mentally struggled getting back on skates after an injury layoff sometimes to the point that I would sit out a session after almost making myself sick from fear of injuring myself again. This time though after the battle of almost losing derby I was prepared both physically AND mentally that the second my wheels hit the ground I got up skated with confidence instead of crapping myself that I hadn't skated in over two months.

I took it easy getting some slow laps in and getting used to being on skates again. It didn't take long to realise that my form and technique have deserted me these past two months but you know what I didn't care in the slightest for once because I was back on skates and that's all that mattered :D While my team mates were doing paceline drills I was skating alongside with them on the outside of the track. I know I wasn't actually training with them but it felt like I was back with them again and that made me even more happy. I had team mates ask me throughout the night how happy I was being back on skates again, truth be told there wasn't enough words to describe how happy I was so all I could do was give them a big grin hehe. Some of them asked me how my knee was feeling too. It felt pretty good, there were a couple of times when I'd push off my right foot I'd get a quick, sharp pain straight down my knee that my knee started to give out on me but I'd stop, stretch and go slowly and it was fine. It was most probably because it was the first proper work out my knee had in months. I really didn't want the hour to end or take off my skates. Up until this last injury I really couldn't tell you the last time I just enjoyed skating. It was always filled with feelings of frustration that I was so shite or pushing myself to try and improve. For that one hour although all I did was 'just' skate around in circles, I was the happiest I'd been in a while and I really appreciated the fact that I was on skates especially when it could have been so very different just a few weeks ago. I realise this post has already exceeded acceptable cheesiness levels but it was such a great feeling being able to tick my name off for training attendance again :)

I've got great, supportive team mates. Halfway during training Butters grabbed her phone to take a pic of me back on skates so that 'I could put it in my blog' haha so here it is :) WOOHOO!

While there was no skating for me on Saturday it didn't mean the derby awesomeness stopped at all. I took the all too familiar route up the F3 to watch the latest NRDL home bout. I went up a few hours earlier to catch up with the likes of Mon, Mick and Candy for some lunch and a proper catch up away from derby. It was great fun and I'd love to catch up with them on a more regular basis.

We rolled onto the main event as we made our way to the bout. One of the first people I ran into was Marilyn Tantrum who was scoregirl for the night. One of the first things she told me was to feel her boobs haha. I've gotten to know Tantrum from the Newy social skates, she's one of the funniest people I've ever met. At one of the social skates earlier this year I was bending over to get something from my skate bag when someone started touching my arse. I froze in shock before turning around ready to deck the person responsible only to realise it was Tantrum mucking around! It's basically become a running joke between us, in fact it's probably helped get used to having my personal space invaded during scrimmage and pack drills and not get freaked out by it. I was catching up with Cass when Jilla came out of nowhere to give me a high 5 for getting back on skates haha.

The Smashleys were having their best season to date result-wise as they were the only home team still undefeated. Their last bout against the Rollers was a close one so I was expecting another close one. Despite having the brighter start it was all Rollers after that. The Smashleys jammers could not break through the strong Rollers walls, not even the Smashleys blockers favoured tactic of taking the pivot line when Babycakes jammed was helping. I may bleed blue for the Smashleys but it was hard not to be once again impressed by Danger's performance for the Rollers even though it was having a negative effect on the scoreboard for the Smashleys. She picked up where she left off from the Dames bout. It has been interesting watching her play in Quirky's absence. Quirky pretty much plays at the front of the pack as the last line of defence and pulls off a lot of blocks when she bascially launches herself at the blocker to get one last hit in if the blocker manages to somehow try and evade her. Danger was also playing the last line of defence role but she was sticking to the Smashleys jammers like glue that she never had to try and launch herself at a jammer. If the jammer managed to get aroud Danger they were usually fucked by the end of it because of all the energy they used trying to get arounf her. The Smashleys picked up a lot of penalties in the first half which allowed the Rollers to have a huge 50+ point lead.

It was really a game of two halves. In the second jam Jilla forced a track cut on the Rollers jammer which allowed Babycakes to score a 30-0 point jam. From there the Smashleys kept chipping away at the Rollers lead, picking up quick points and then calling off the jam. Despite being sick and on cold and flu tablets Jilla was once again bossing it with her backwards blocking. Watch her skates when she backwards blocks, she alternates feet on her toe stops so it looks as though she's doing the moon walk hehe. I didn't think it was possible but I became an even bigger fangirl of Jilla's that night. There was times when she was playing 2-3 consecutive jams despite being sick. It doesn't matter if she's sick or well she manages to churn out consistantly high level performances. The final jam of the bout saw the Smashleys hold onto an ever so slender lead but the Rollers had a power jam with who else but Danger lining up to jam. I could barely watch but was it any surprise that Jilla targeted Danger with her backwards blocking and eventually knocked her down forcing Danger to call off the jam but 6 points short as the Smashleys held on for a 132-126 win. I nearly had a fecking heart attack watching that bout! I may be a Smashleys supporter but if there was ever a case for a drawn bout this would have been it because neither side deserved to lose considering the performances they put on.

On Sunday I snuck in to watch a part of the VRDL boot camp that HARD hosted with Mad Mel and Ruby. Fecking hell that was amazing to watch and I'm sure it was even more amazing to participate in. Mad Mel us 100 miles an hour the WHOLE time! I absolutely loved the discipline and professionalism they brought, it was how a training session should be. Mel even provided some great tips to Poz and I for benching. I found myself agreeing to everything she said. It was just such an amazig bootcamp. I took as many notes as I possibly could.

I stuck around to get another hour of skating in. While warming up on the track it took all my self control not to engage in little blocks on some of my team mates. I wanted to so badly but I made myself remember that I still wasn't cleared to go back to full training so I really didn't want to fall and stuff up all the progress I made with my knee rehabilitation so I just did what the physio told me to do - just skate. I joined in with my team mates to play the rules game that Rex came up with. It was actually a lot of fun. Being so competitive I raced to the next rule and did one foot snowploughs on my right foot and got no pain in my knee which was a great bonus. Getting through another hour on skates pain free was more than I could have hoped for :D

I was over the moon with how the weekend went and the return to skates had no side effects. Here's hoping it continues to improve over the next few weeks!