Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Week 41: Level 1 Sign Offs - Take 5 Pt. 2

This post is actually quite hard for me to write and I'm still trying to work out how to go about it, but I decided I'd be better just writing it and seeing what happens. Essentially, this weeks session was a hard one for me. This post is not meant to be bitchy, I'm not trying to cause any drama, it's just how the day panned out and the emotions I went through. I would rather tell it truthfully than sugar coat it and make it sound better than it was.

My bad derby day started around lunch time when I found out that we were being assessed on every skill, whether we had passed it or not. This concerned me and I asked that if we failed a skill we had already passed, would this mean we had actually failed it and we then have to re-take it again. Simply put, I was afraid of passing the only block I had left to pass, but messing up another one, meaning I still had to stay at Level 1. Unfortunately, my question was answered in a very vague, irrelevant way, which began to concern and infuriate me at the same time. I spent the rest of the day mulling it over and getting more concerned and more angry.

I'd perked up by the time I'd got to the wives to get ready. I was still annoyed but after some derby videos and some dancing, I was psyched up and ready for whatever the evening would throw at me. This optimism did not last long. I'm pretty sure, in the back of my mind, I was ready to hate everything about tonight, so I may have had quite a short fuse. Again, our venue had reduced our session again, meaning we had to get kitted up before we left home, and meaning we were short for time. I put my skates on and got on track only to notice some cones had been set up in the middle of the track and a mysterious line of tape was going along one side of the track. The tape was more intriguing, but the cones were starting to bother me. There were so many of us on track and a fair few times I almost went over a cone and saw some very close calls of people going round them. Our warm up also involved one foot glides and stops, along with squats and some sprint laps, which also annoyed me as there were the skills I had to pass, yet with so many people on the track, it was hard to pick up enough speed, and I seemed to fail miserably.
 I stretched and we were then spilt up into groups and a kind of rotation was introduced. I was in group 2, so we were put on the area of the track with the mystery tape, group 1 were on the other side with the cones, and group 3 were in the middle. Our group was told we were going to assessed on lateral hops and that is what the tape was for. It measured 18 inches from the inside line so we had to skate along the inside of the track (which seemed wrong in itself!) and then hop over to the other bit of tape. As you may have expected, I hated it. The usual way of being assessed on lateral hops was to skate round the track and hop on the whistle. That was good as when you picked up speed you had time to slow it down or you could just keep going. The tape version meant you had to go much slower, which made it harder for me, and my first attempt was more stepping than hopping. After a few more attempts, I managed to do a few good ones but could only fit in about 2 over the distance due to my speed. We were then sent back into the track to wait for our next skill.

Next was weaving, which I don't particularly like that much. I gave it my best though and managed to get through the cones and a pretty good speed (I'm sure faster than I originally got signed off on), and I was very happy with myself. That was soon extinguished when I was told I had to go faster. So I went back round and tried again. Half way through "faster!" was shouted at me, which threw me off and I missed a cone. Returning to the back of the queue, I was almost in tears. One of the coaches came up to me and told me not to worry. "This is bullshit" I sobbed "I've done this! Why do I need to do it again?"...."Just try your best, you can do it". So, with a lot of sniffling, I took to it once more, I missed a cone, missed three more. Fuck This, I thought and did a knee slide into the centre of the track and hastily took off my skates. My wife came over looking concerned "I've had it" I said, "I'm not doing this shit anymore" and stormed off the track. After removing my wrist guards, I then proceeded to storm off to the ladies, grab some tissue, and sit on the side in tears. My wife later appeared (I'm so lucky) and gave me a sweaty hug. I proceeded to rant about how this wasn't fair. How I was promised that I just had to pass each block, and once I had I could move on to Level 2. I had one block left, so why the hell was I being assessed on everything again?! I would actually be stuck in Level 1 forever and, I'm not kidding, it was the first time I had ever felt like I wanted to quit derby. If the sessions were now going to be like this. This regimental, this strict, this horrible, then I didn't want to be a part of it. Later, another coach appeared and told me how it is difficult getting used to change and how she would talk to the other coaches to see what actually was going on and if I could just be assessed on the block I had to do.

I came out of the loos and went to put my skates back on. Lots of my lovely skater friends came over to comfort me, cheer me up, and to give me support. One even told me that she had arrived late and didn't know what was happening but that the atmosphere was horrible. After a wonderful bit of advice, I decided I wasn't going to care anymore. I wanted to skate, I wanted to have fun, if I didn't pass, so what? I wasn't really thinking in terms of my derby future, mainly just that evening and how I wasn't going to let it break me. I returned to the track to find my wife almost in tears. What was going on?! After having a talk and hugs with her, and trying to convince her to have the "Fuck it" attitude I had adopted, I was told I could join another group to do my stops. Yes!

I tried not to think about it and just got on with it, and they went pretty well. It wasn't until the coach started counting to three that threw me off again. We have to stop in three seconds? For level 1? Since when? I was quite pleased that I managed to do a couple of t-stops in that 3 seconds, but the plough stops not so much. But I didn't care, remember?
Next was one foot glides, the one skill I had to pass. My left ones went quite well and I was determined to get my right ones. After a whole weekend of ankle strengthening exercises, they were a lot better than normal, but I still didn't think they were up to scratch. Ah well.
After the other groups had taken part, we were then given an announcement; just our passes were being collected, not our fails, so the fails didn't count towards anything (unless you were dangerous) - why didn't they tell us that in the beginning?! That would have saved a lot of stress, a lot of tears, and a lot of upset and confusion. We were then given an apology for the atmosphere. They just wanted to fit in as much as they could as they want us all to pass. By that point, it was too little too late and I wasn't having any of it.

I stretched, came off the track, de-kitted and decided I wasn't going to see if I'd passed. I didn't care. Many a rant was had in the car on the way back and then when I got home a stuffed my face with fairy cakes (that a fellow skater had made for me!), ranted to the boyfriend, had a glittery bath, watched Pokemon, and went to bed.

The next day, I received a message saying I had passed, I was now able to train on a Saturday and join Level 2. I was happy, sure, and later in the day I was excited and over the moon, but a little part of me was sad. My derby heart had been broken and it just didn't seem fair or right. I wanted to pass, obviously, but not like this. I wanted to feel awesome and to jump and shout and cheer and dance and cry happy tears. I have worked so long for this and wanted it for so long, yet Level 1ended so badly for me. Ah well, I guess I should stop complaining. I passed, didn't I?!
I'm now incredibly excited about Saturday, if a little terrified. It's time to put that bad experience behind me and focus on my training. I need to get stronger, fitter, more determined, and you're all still coming along with me in my derby journey!

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