Freshie 2: Electric Boogaloo

Just wait:  I’m not even ready to get into Roller Boogie jokes yet.

I may have dug deep to get the title of today’s post, but freshie practice on last Tuesday was anything but stale.  We got into a whole lot of different things and I’m going to show them off for you below.  Because that’s the sort of person I am.

First off, you get a couple of intros.  The first one is just me doing a date and time stamp and you get to see me remove my pink mouth guard, which should be exciting.  Or not.  Probably more along the lines of not.  You’ll notice when I skate away that my right bra strap is twisted and likely stayed that way the entire night.  I hadn’t realized that was the case until I actually watched this video.

 

And here’s the second half:

 

Now we get into the skating fundamentals.  We do eleven minutes of Sprint and Skate, which is skate as quickly as you can for one minute, then sort of coast along for another minute.  It allows you to work on your form as well as figure out how to get around the track as quickly as possible.

On this recording and others you’ll notice four little yellow markers on the track–and I should point out, most of the time when we skated we stayed inside what would be the regulation derby track.  At the beginning of this tape Ida shows us how to “skate the diamond”, which is the fastest way around the derby track.  As Ida points out, if you skate the diamond correctly, you’ll do crossovers around the track the whole way.  So throughout this video you’ll see everyone trying to get as close to each one of those markers as possible.

I’m easy to pick out: I set up on the left side of the video and I’m wearing gray workout leggings and a blue sports bra.

 

Now we play fetch the ball, which is designed to help us learn how to squat and pick up things while moving.  You may not think this is important, but during our last match in Youngstown our jammer lost her pantie–  Okay, let me explain that:

There are three positions in derby: jammer, blocker, and pivot.  Blockers are pretty easy to figure out so no need to go into a detailed explanation there other than there are three of them. The the jammer is the person who scores points for your team.  They set up behind the blockers and the pivot and when the whistle blows it’s their job to get through the pack.  The first time allows refs to determine who is the lead jammer–the person who actually controls the jam. That means they can allow it to go on as long as they like or they can and it whenever they feel it’s necessary.  Once they get to the pack the first time, anyone they pass from the opposing team after that scores a point for their team–and that includes any opposing team members sitting in the penalty box.  The pivot (and this is my understanding) can control the actions of the other three blockers and can actually become the jammer so that a team can take control of the lead.

The jammer and the pivot wear what is known as a pantie: an elastic cover that goes over there helmet.  The jammer pantie has a big star on each side, while the pivot pantie has a stripe down the middle.  When the pivot takes over as the jammer, the jammer hands over her pantie and the pivot puts it on.  See how simple that is?

So getting back to what was said the first time: during one jam our jammer lost her pantie, which you wouldn’t think is a big deal except a jammer can only score points when she’s wearing her pantie.  So she had to come around the track and, while still skating, squat down and retrieve the pantie.  Needless to say, it’s not a good idea to come to a complete stop and bend over to pick this thing up–not if you don’t want to get hip checked right off the track.

So that’s what we’re learning here: how to squat and pick up while still moving.  Kinda.  You can see a lot of falling down, me included.  You will also notice I’ve got the bending over part down pat, but I cannot squat for shit.  I know; I gotta work on that.

 

Now comes the real fun…

After we finished with their first two things Ida said she was going to have us do our 27/5s so she could get an idea of where we were as far as the starting benchmark.  What is the 27/5?  This is something needed for certification and it’s something every skater hates.

It’s simple: you skate 27 laps in 5 minutes.  If you need to work that out, it’s 11 seconds per lap, or 5.4 laps per minute.  It may not sound like a big deal, but it is, and it can actually be a bit torturous for some people. Actually, it can be a bit torturous for everyone.

We went in three groups of two.  Below is the first group.  Steff sets up on the left side of the track and does the best out of all of us, nearly breaking the five minute mark.  She also has the best form and does crossovers constantly through her skate.  You’ll clearly hear Ida give her time at the end of this video.  Ashley, the woman who set up on right side of the track, did 21 1/2 laps.

 

So we come to mine… I skated with Erica who gave me one good piece of advice: whatever you do, don’t stop, just keep going.  I had heard from reading that stopping during a 27/5 is really frowned upon, so this is one of those instances where you fall back on the Two Rules of Roller Derby, particularly paying attention to Rule #2.

I set up on the right side of the track.  On my first lap I bobble badly twice and you’ll see them clearly.  My form is really kinda crap, which at this point is to be expected.  But I make it all the way through and you hear my exclamations several times leading up to the end of this video, where I come up to the camera and tell you how I did.  Erica did 18 1/2 laps.

 

And right here we have the last set.  I’m over on the right side of the track timing, which is a lot easier to do than skating these things.  Both Jackie and Tara ended up with 21 1/2 laps, if I remember correctly. If not, I’ll be corrected and I’ll fix this.

 

And for the last event of the evening, we do toe stops.  These are simple to do: you skate forward, do a 180 transition, and go up on either one or both toes to bring yourself to a stop.  After bringing yourself to a stop we’re supposed to skate backwards, but you will notice I have a problem with that–as in I couldn’t.  But I am getting that.

You’ll notice I manage a one foot toe stop pretty well and towards the end I even managed to do both feet.  It’s not easy doing these on rentals, but if I stick to my schedule I won’t need to do them on rentals much longer.

 

After all the skating we went off to the side and did about twenty minutes of stretching. Yes, we do a lot of stretching: we had some at the beginning and we do a lot at the end.  As I’ve said before–and even joked about it during practice–it’s like were training for sport. And we are.  There’s so many things you have to know how to do before you ever allowed to get out of the course with the ladies and, in some instances, put on that jammer pantie.  And this is why we have practices every other Tuesday for the fresh meat (which is what we’re actually called), because it gives us an opportunity to work on her fundamentals without taking away track time from the vets.

Which means I’m not only looking forward to our next freshie practice on 11 July, but I’m also wondering what I’m going to use for the title of that post…

Walk This Way

I awoke today with a head full of cement and a body that felt as if it had been through the wringer.  That last wasn’t too far from the truth as I had a hell of a practice last night that involved starting to get a feel for backwards skating and going faster on skates than I’ve ever gone before.

Oh, and yeah:  I didn’t get to bed until 00:30, so I managed about four and a half hours of sleep after all of the evening’s hijinks.

This means I hobbled around this morning much like I’m hobbling around work today.  But in order to get from Point A (my apartment) to Point B (work), it was necessary to traverse a few locations between.

This is what my normal morning looks like.

First it’s out the back of the apartment complex and a short walk over to 3rd Street.  From there I walk two blocks to Strawberry Square because I get my coffee there.  Little Amps has a kiosk near the ATM machines and the hot bean juice they give me contains just enough caffeine to wake me up.

Coffee. #LittleAmps #WalkThisWay

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After a short chat it’s time for a little breakfast, because come those days after derby practice I’m craving food.  I head a half-block to the east to grab something at Grilled Cheese Plus, which makes the best breakfast sandwiches in the city.  They can literally make you just about any kind of grilled cheese concoction, and I’m half tempted to order a plan grilled cheese just to see how it measures up.

Breakfast #GrilledCheesePlus #WalkThisWay

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Then comes the walking part of the trip to work.  Each of the above two stops happened about three blocks from where I live:  now I have to hoof about three-quarters of a mile over to the other side of the Capitol Complex to arrive at my job.  Along the way I pass this edifice which takes up about the same amount of space as a Las Vegas hotel casino.

Capitol. #WalkThisWay

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By this point I’m about half way to work.  After I’d walked a while I didn’t feel as stiff as I had when I woke, but I wasn’t as springy as I have been in the past.  Then again, I’m using muscles I haven’t used in about, oh, thirty years, so getting the body back into shape isn’t the easiest thing in the world and one should expect some pain along the way.  The reality is I’m feeling better every day and a lot of the soreness I wrote about last week is starting to vanish.  Maybe it won’t be that bad after another month.

Finally, after another ten or fifteen minutes, I arrive at the location where I collect a pay check:

Work. #WalkThisWay

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Yep:  that’s it.  Then it’s inside and up to the first floor where I spend my day in an office.  Then it’s home and maybe a nap and then–

Why, I have a lot of things to do tonight.

And you can bet writing is one…

News and Views: Setting it Straight

Before I get to the novel I have to pass along news from last nights practice.  On my ninth practice session I was asked to do a 27/5, which is one of the test we do for certification.  You skate 27 laps in 5 minutes, which works out to about 5.4 laps per minute, or one lap every 11.1 seconds.  You get out and you don’t stop, you just keep going.

So, my first time out, I skated 18.5 lap in 5 minutes, which means I did one lap every 16.2 seconds.  Now I have to work on shaving off that five seconds a lap so I can get up to qualification speed.  Oh, and there’s video of it happening.  You’ll see that soon.

Now, about this excerpt–

Sure looks like Kerry shit the bed, huh?

You know, if you go back to the first novel, Kerry has come across at times like he’s a bit tone-deaf to social norms.  After all, he didn’t get named Captain Clueless because he’s always the sharpest knife in the drawer.  So, yes:  a thirteen year old Kerry did a dumb thing.  And he severely upset someone whom he does love a great deal.  That’s on him.

Does he have a reason for being this way?  He’ll try to explain:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

She looked up with her eyes shadowed by emotions. “What did you mean, then?”

“I mean you should take that time to be with your family, not to make sure I’m okay.” He rocked her as he sighed. “Besides, it’s gonna feel awkward staying with you. All the while I’m there you’re parents are gonna be watching me—”

“No, they won’t.” Annie twisted her head to one side. “I admit we might not have the ability to be alone as much as we might like, but they aren’t going to watch your every move.”

“Maybe not, but—” He searched for the right words. “They don’t know me, so I’m not sure this is the best time for them to get to know me.” He looked down and away. “Particularly your father.”

Annie touched his chin. “Don’t be intimidated by Papa. It’s just the way he is—especially where I’m concerned.”

“Yeah, well, my concern is that he’s gonna be too concerned about me, and he’ll spend all his time hovering over us.”

Before Annie could reply Coraline threw back the privacy curtain and stepped into the bay. “Well, you are obviously in better shape than I anticipated.”

 

It appears that Kerry’s biggest worry is that he’s going to spoil Annie’s time with her family by being there, as well as feeling like her mother and father–particularly her father–are going to have him in their cross-hairs most of the time.  These are all legitimate reasons–it’s just unfortunate that he didn’t do it in a better fashion.

Which is all irreverent now as the School’s Doctor has appeared–

 

“I have a great doctor.” Kerry held on to Annie as he smiled at Coraline. “She makes everything better.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, young man.” She cocked an eyebrow in Annie’s direction. “And I wouldn’t tell you if it did, not in front of Annie.”

For the first time in five minutes Annie managed to crack a genuine smile. She glanced at Kerry. “See? She knows better.”

“I certainly do.” Coraline slipped her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “I’ve sent messages to Vicky and Holoč telling them I’ve released you for racing. And with that—” She motioned towards the ward corridor. “You’re free to go.”

“Thank you.” Kerry slipped around Coraline and out of the bay, still holding Annie’s hand. “See you at the races.”

“Have a good time today.”

They made their way slowly into the waiting room. There were several things Kerry wanted to say, but he seemed unable to bring them out of his mind. The best he could do was make small talk. “So, what time are your parents supposed to get here?”

Just then Sabrina’s voice echoed through the Great Hall. “Attention. Will Annie Kirilova please report to the Atrium? Your parents have arrived.”

A huge smile formed as she glanced to her right. “I believe you know the answer to that question…”

 

“Annie, your parents are here!”  And so it begins.  I guess this is as good a time for them to get to know Kerry as any…

I’ll just leave you with one more thought which is really more of a question.  Has Kerry been acting a bit irrational of late?  Like, you know, being emotional and losing his shit on other people?  I know it’s a stretch, but maybe that’s got him being Snappy McSnapperson when he normally isn’t?

Asking for a friend…

News and Views: How This Works

A return to practice last night and…  man, I am sore today.  I wasn’t feeling that bad when I got home, but it all snuck up on me while I was sleeping and this morning I was moving around like I was 100 years old.  I’m better now, but damn:  that soreness is a killer.  Maybe I’ll grab some Epsom salts tonight and try that after practice.

Yesterday we saw Kerry figure out that Moma Malibey had a reason for calling him early in the morning.  Now he gets around to telling Annie why:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Knowing Mom, she decided to contact me first thing this morning and tell me this BS ‘cause she knew I’d obsess over it most of the day. Knowing the way she thinks, she probably figured I’d call them back before they went to bed tonight begging to come back for the holidays.”

Based on what Kerry had told her in the past, Annie knew Louise Malibey to be an emotional manipulator and Kerry’s explanation of what she was likely thinking fit her profile—which did nothing to improve Annie’s opinion of the woman. “And if you were to beg to come back for the holidays, it would be on her terms.”

Kerry nodded. “Exactly.”

Now that she likely knew the reason for Kerry’s mom to call when she did, Annie wanted to know more on another but similar issue. “What are you going to do for the holidays now that you can’t go to your grandparents?”

He shrugged. “I sent an email to Professor Semplen letting him know I needed a place to stay. I figure he’ll throw my name in the pot and see who wants me.” Annie knew just as Kerry that no one was allowed to stay at the school during Yule holiday, so the administration worked to find families to take in those few individuals who had nowhere to go. Requesting a place to stay was known as “putting you name in the pot,” after which it was pulled and matched with someone willing to have a student for a couple of weeks.

Annie slid to the floor but remained leaning against the bed. “Did you ask Erywin if you could stay with Helena and her?”

“I did. She told me that Helena and she are going to New Zealand to spend time with Helena’s parents. She said they’re leaving the day after school lets out.”

 

Unlike another famous magical school that is also fictional to my students, Salem doesn’t believe in leaving kids there for the Yule holiday.  If you can’t go home, they’d find a home for you to go.  Kerry’s already asked Erywin if he could stay with Helena and her, but they have other plans, unfortunately.  That means Kerry will likely get placed with another family–

Unless there’s another solution and Annie thinks of immediately:

 

“I see.” Given that there weren’t many options, Annie had one of her own. “You could stay with me.”

Kerry shook his head. “No.”

“What?” She was shocked to hear him respond this way. “No? What do you mean?”

“I mean I don’t want to come and stay with you.”

“Why not?”

“Because Yule is for you to spend time with your family, not take care of me.”

Annie looked down at the floor and responded in a soft voice. “You are my family as well.”

It took a moment for Kerry to realize that he’d hurt Annie’s feeling with his comment. He slid off his bed and moved closer so he could take her in his arms. “I’m sorry, Sweetie. I didn’t mean it that way.”

 

Well, what way did you mean it, Kerry?  Because after all this time Captain Clueless still strikes once in a while and this time he did something really dumb.  The question becomes, however, can he recover from this faux pas.  Or will this become something that Annie reminds him of for like the next, oh, 50 years or so.

We may find out tomorrow…