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