Derby Recap: Week 9

There wasn’t much incentive to write this week’s recap. Sometimes I feel like I write the same things over and over again: it was hard, I’m learning there’s so much to learn, tryouts are coming up, I need to work on _____, blah blah blah. But then last week I went back and re-read my blog from last September to now, and not to sound narcissistic, it was pretty amazing. Not because I’m a Nobel-winning author, but because there was a lovely reminder of a time when skills that are so basic and fundamental now were difficult and felt impossible. It was an encouragement to consider that the things I have difficulty with now will one day be a fond memory. And it was kind of beautiful to read the entries just a few weeks before I found derby–I was bored and trying to find a way to fill my time, trying to feed my soul. And then, voila! Into my life skated this amazing opportunity, and it was everything I’d been hoping for. I really enjoyed reliving the excitement of starting a new journey, of being nervous about T-stops & plows, of being so in awe of all rollergirls I couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor. It’s just so great to see how things unfold in their own timing, how what you want doesn’t really come until it’s needed. I’m trying to keep that in mind as I search for my home. Perhaps in six months I’ll look back at THIS post and smile at how I couldn’t see what wonderful thing was headed my way.

And in the interest of finishing SOMETHING, my plan is to recap this week and then next week’s, and of COURSE you know I’m going to recap the tryouts. Where I go from there is pretty much up to the evaluators. I’ll try my best at tryouts, and then either progress to New Girl training or back for another round of Level 2 with the ever-amazing Lacy & Polly. But, I would like to really work on blogging about some of the other things in my life, and hopefully, once I find a house, I’d really like to document some of my decorating tips/journeys, as i plan on stamping my mark quite emphatically wherever I land. I’d like to discuss gardening, my newest attempt to learn basic sewing/quilting, and of course, eating Primally.

But let’s begin, eh?

This last week began with a snake drill warm-up that lasted 45 minutes. Yes. FORTY. FIVE. MINUTES. of continual skating. Thankfully it wasn’t tough–no sprinting–it was just 100 or so laps of pace line while each girl weaved from the back to the front, back to the back, and back to the front AGAIN. You can see how this would take a long time with 17 girls. It wasn’t hard: the difficulty with snake drills can be when you’re part of the line and you need to maintain consistency to provide a learning experience for the weaving skater. (i.e., don’t adjust your skating to fit hers–the whole point is that she will have to adjust to you). When it was my turn to zipper, moving forward wasn’t the problem, but moving backwards through the line was a little more difficult than I anticipated. And we weren’t supposed to “coast” between skaters, but pick up our feet. Admittedly, this is something I’ve been trying to work on, but the physics of stepping UP the banked track require more energy than simply pushing off and gliding to the rail. However, when you step up, you’ve got more potential energy and more power, so it’s a useful tool to have in your toolbox. I’ve been trying to become more comfortable by doing “fast feet” exercises and being deliberate about it during personal time, but in practice it isn’t a default mode yet. So, something to work towards.

Next we worked on more advanced blocking–hip checks. Oh friends, if you know me at all you know I am A) proud of my hips and B) NOT afraid to use them. I didn’t have much difficulty with this, excepting that I wanted to use my shoulders as well, and this is an exclusive hip maneuver. I don’t think I mentioned this in the last post, but we’ve also learned a block that involves stepping in front of you opponent and basically controlling her movements with your hips and butt ALL UP IN HER BUSINESS. I have a little difficulty in keeping my back straight and not bent over in this position (“tits up”), to give me more strength and maneuverability, and this hip check sort of uses the same ideas–keep your back up but let your hips swivel freely. I like to pretend my hips are well-oiled swinging machines!

There wasn’t too much time in this training session because of the insanely long warm-up, so we ended by doing a few of my favorite things–one being the whip drill. It’s so much fun, and basically you get to go as fast as you can and there’s only two or three other girls on the track with you–the best setup imaginable. But if you think THAT sounds like fun, you should try playing Duck Duck Goose….in skates…on the track. Because that is the absolute best way to end a hardcore training session: with a children’s game. We all squealed and played like we were still little girls. Amazing.

I’m sure I missed something, because here it is Wednesday and Saturday was five days ago and I have done quite a bit (ish) since then. But basically, we’re coming to the end of our Level 2 course, and we’re all counting down the days until tryouts. At this point, we’re all figuring out if we think we’re good enough to get through tryouts. I’m trying to work on my “mental game” here–psyching myself up for the day itself, mumbling reassuring mantras to myself as I practice falls, box turns, and backwards skating. I know that I’m going to do all I can, and that’s going to be enough no matter the outcome. Remember that Ashley, when you read back over this in a few months (weeks?).

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