Thursday, 14 June 2012

Skill Vs Skates (and other ramblings)

It's been awhile.. A long while.. With four months of being stuck on a plateau, drama and skate malfunctions (where everything that could go wrong has). There is finally some improvement and a break through.

Plateaus suck. Period. I was learning quite quickly and suddenly. I couldn't pick up the easiest drills. I watched girls that were once my equal in skill soar/skate past. I was left in the dust. The harder I worked. The more I would get mad at myself for not being able to do what I was trying to do. I am my own worst puppy kicker. (not kicking real puppies btw.. Look up Bonnie D'Stroir's audio file called Puppy Talk to know what I'm talking about further)

Drama sucks. Nothing really more to say here other than to say.. Drama sucks the life and heart out of people. Normally I can just watch it and treat it like watching a soap opera but after awhile. It just makes it hard to want to keep going. No matter where you go there will always be drama. Thankfully tho. It's mostly passed or maybe I'm just on the outside enough I don't have to see it. (Like that spider you just "know" is hiding in your bathroom but if you can't see it. All is well)

Skate malfunction sucks. The guru of skates himself looked over my plates. Thinking that perhaps I'm not just falling all over on the ground because of lack of skill but maybe it's my skates. If you can't be "one" with the skates.. You can't really be expected to excel. Turns out.. My king pin was moving back and forth, in and out, and in every other direction you can think of. They were busted.. Really I can't be surprised. Those damn things were my first real pair and they survived a damn fire!
So new plates were ordered. Then the new boots were ordered (love love my reidell boots!) Sadly, if I didn't have bad luck. I'd have no luck at all. The boots were in within a couple weeks. The plates finally arrived. Now I wait for the trucks. (they were apparently forgotten when the plates were shipped.. Sigh) So I have lovely new skates just begging to be whole. Begging to be used. Hopefully soon. I'm tired of waiting. 

A light at the end of a dark tunnel. The guru cast me a line and I appreciate it more than anything. I borrowed  a set of plates until the new ones come in.. They were for all intents and purposes the same ones I'd been using. Just one little difference. Mine were a 6. The borrowed ones. A 5. Which means where my back wheels used to be. They aren't anymore. They are further in towards the front of the boot. Suddenly, I'm learning how to skate again. I tried to plow, fell on my butt. Tried to power slide, fell on my butt. I had to relearn my balance all over again but once that happened. I felt faster. Better. More confident.

Fast forward a couple weeks later. Still trying to remind myself not to put so much weight on the back of my feet. We had our league benchmarks. Where the entire league re tests their min skill requirements to make sure we are all safe and sound skaters. Tests no matter what kind. Make me nervous. Period. First the basics. Falling, stride, stance, cross overs. Easy stuff. Next.. The dreaded 25 in 5. These always make me nervous. So we start. I keep pace with my wife on our team and just go. We chat. We laugh. We skate. 7 laps go by and I'm wondering how much time in we are. Turns out. Only one minute. We keep skating. First 25. Then 27 (my previous record for the past two years) then 28 (whoo hoo I got a bit better) and with ten seconds left.. I fit in one more lap for a total of 29!. An all new record and improvement..

So the question is.. Was it the gruelling Bella practises and their 50 in 10, pain trains and Tazbot dryland? The improvement in the skates/wheels/floor? or was it the slightly better confidence in said skates that worked out as a placebo effect? I have no idea.. but what ever it was.. it works and that's all that matters.. Take that plateau!! Now to wait and see how the new skates work.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Where it all started.. (the first year)

My derby journey started in Medicine Hat with the girls of Gas City. Derby started as a 6am facebook post. I posted about how much fun it was to go skating at 6am in Kin Coulee park. Mr Fister posted asking if it was roller blades or quad skates. I told him roller blades and that I couldn't even stand on quad skates.. He sent me the link to their fresh meat page. A week later I was at my first FM practice.

There was a total of three people there that day. Sunday afternoon, middle of summer heat and a warehouse type place with no ac. First lesson. Don't wear tripp pants when it's hot out and you are going to be doing a lot of skating. The entire practice was nothing but knee drops. Not so bad.

Fast forward about a month later when I started skating with some of the other skaters. One of the first new people I had met was Strawberry Shortskate. (I say "new" as there were a few others in the league that I had known prior to derby. Mr Fister, Kid Kickurass and Hooten Annie)

That girl could Skate! She was one of their top jammers and I remember watching her do her crossovers and think. Wow, how do you make it look so easy? She would get bashed around and get back up. When on the track she was determined and never gave up. When off the track she was the cutest giggling girl next door I had ever met.

She quickly became one of the many people I wanted to be just like. My first couple months of derby were filled with learning the basics of skating and lots of NSOing. I was lucky enough to go to Regina's summer smackdown and got my first taste of being an official before I had even learned how to stand up right. (Also note.. when still in bambi on ice stage. Not wearing knee pads is not recommended. )

Myself and Shortskate at Regina's Free skate

Still very new to derby and met a lot of awesome people while out there. I got to see the great Tye Die in action for the very first time and was even more amazed at all these fantastic skaters.

My very first rookie game. I got to skate with some of the people I know now.

Myself and Hell's Jezebel Jamming

Managed to get a whole 7 points and lead status my very first time jamming. (I still say however that a jammer is only as good as their blockers and I had some pretty damn good blockers)

Such as......
Razor! (& the guidance of Mortu Mary on our bench)
I was also lucky enough to have Fiver (from rdrda) on my team. However, the red team had Stitch and that girl clobbered me the second time jamming. (and the first now that I think about it. :p)

A whole month later was my first game as a Gas City Roller where we went up against the B52 Bellas from Calgary.

Roxy and Dev making sweet music together. :p

Through the b52 girls I saw once again amazing skaters. Fast forward a couple years later and I'm soon to be able to skate along side Roxy (on the same team even!) and I can't wait.. :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Humble beginings.

While cleaning up my house tonight.. I found something. It was my first pair of roller skates.
They weren't always that pretty black colour.. There were tan with bright orange laces. Traditional roller dome skates. I spent a couple hours taking the sheen off them and dying the leather such a pretty black. I was convinced and insistent that those were going to be the skates that I benchmarked in.

(First attempt at my derby persona.. Notice the pretty tan skates in the background.. )

Turns out. Not so much.. Which brought me to my new skates.
They were called the Jive monkey on roller girl.. Sounded fun.. and after moving to those things. such an amazing difference. They were so smooth and would glide like nothing. Then.. Tragedy struck. About 6 months into my derby career (and about 2 months after purchasing my new skates) there was a fire. And my skates and all my gear were in the middle of it. The fire fighters were able to quell the fire enough to get my skates and gear out of it. Water and smoke damage but no actual significant fire damage. I was lucky.. To make things even more lucky.. One of my fellow derby girls in the league worked for a fire restoration company. They were able to save everything except my inhaler and my mouth guard.

Approx two years later, I still use those same skates.. Sure the tape and laces and wheels and bearings have been changed many times but the main core plates and boot remain the same. How many people can say that one of their more precious items survived such a thing and that person was able to carry on to greatness with them.. Well.. Maybe not greatness yet.. I'm not quite there but I'm working towards greatness and that counts. I just don't know where that path will take me yet. Will I be great as a player? great as a ref? both? Will I continue as a core Nightshade or move up to someday take a core Belladonna spot? Only time will tell either way but it's the start of the path that matters. The destination will show itself when it wants to and when it's time.

Which brings me to tonight (A team try outs.. Eep! haha) and the reason I started this blog.. Does this world really "need" another derby blog? sure.. why the hell not? and this is my story from freshmeat to pylon, to speed bump, to player ref.