Personally, I've had a three week break from skating and I've had a damn cold since Christmas Day so I haven't even been working out. This meant that my first week back at Derby was going to be a tough one! It actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting!
It might have been the adrenaline. I was so excited for practice. I'd NSOd at a derby game the day before which always gets me psyched up for practice as I just want to be on skates! Furthermore, me and the Wife had been watching Estro Jen videos for about an hour or so before practice and we were uncontrollably excited. Seriously, this video never fails to get me in the mood for skating:
This woman is absolutely amazing and is definitely one of my Derby idols!
By the time I got to derby practice, I was all "Yeah! Lets do this!" There was just one flaw in my go-get-em attitude: I hadn't been on skates for three weeks. I was a little shaky to begin with and I didn't dare pick my feet up for crossovers. But I soon got back into the swing of it. Maybe it's just like riding a bike? I must say, no matter how long I've been off skates for, I've never forgotten how to skate. I sometimes find it hard to believe that once I couldn't even move on skates! I'm hoping that now I've learnt it, the basic skill will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life.
This week's practice was Week 1 in the rotation so it was back to the basics - skating stride, track movement, derby stance, and falls/taps. There was an awful lot of us on the track this week so it was a bit crowded but this kind of made it fun. Track movement was especially fun and we had to start on either the outside or inside line and then, on the whistle, move to the opposite side. With so many, it meant for some very close calls and it was great to have to weave round people which I imagine is how it is like in a bout. We even played a game! We had the "Jammer, Pivot, Block, Referee" game, where each fall/tap is associated with word and when that word is shouted, we have to perform the corresponding fall. Left knee taps are my nemesis and still don't seem to click properly in my brain, which caused me to land on my bum instead of my knee at one point! I definitely pushed myself though, I tried to recover as quick as I could and I had this massive urge to learn toe stop runs (which I fear) in order to help me pick up speed when coming out of a tap. This is a big deal to me as I was terrified of toe stop runs to the point that I was convinced I would have to make do without them! I am now planning on getting fully padded up and swanning about on the living room carpet, practising them!
We even had some new learning methods to try. One of them was one footed sticky feet, in order to get used to what each foot does. Right footed sticky feet isn't so bad! I could quite happily leave my left foot alone while the right foot did all the work. This is usually how I go around corners if I'm not doing crossovers. However, left footed sticky feet is very weird! My left leg really didn't like that fact that it had to do all the work for once and it was very alien for the first few laps, corners completely baffling me!
The other skill we learnt was weaving through a pace line! Now, you're all well aware that I really do hate weaving and I was really not looking forward to my turn! Surely weaving through moving targets has got to be harder, right? Plus the fact that if you catch a cone with your wheel it just moves, if you catch your wheel on another person's wheel that could be disastrous! Funnily enough, though, it was a lot easier! I may have missed a couple of people but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and found it a lot easier than weaving through cones! Who would've thunk it?!
2014 is definitely going to be my year! On average, it apparently takes people 18 months to be completely signed off. That means that by the end of 2014 I should be signed off, or almost there! (Although, I'd be happy if I could just stop by the end of the year!)
If you're still considering taking up Roller Derby, I fully encourage you to! If you look back to my first week, I couldn't move on skates, was absolutely terrified, and was toying with the idea of completely giving up. However, I stuck it out and now Derby is a huge part of my life.
You shouldn't even need to worry about buying kit as most leagues tend to have kit you can borrow and, if they practice at a skating rink like us, then they should have skates for you to hire.
If your New Years resolution was to try something new, then why not try Derby?