Sorry if you came here expecting to see how Kerry was going to handle the approaching Lisa on the last lap of the last race of Samhain, but you’re gonna have to wait until tomorrow to see that, ’cause I’m goin’ roller derby on your butts. That’s because I’ve been sitting on this footage for just over a week and I need to talk about what went down because–well, that’s how I am, yeah?
This was my third freshie practice, 11 July, 2017, and right off the bat you’ll notice something different in this intro:
The foot is bothering me a little still: Monday I would manage about five to ten laps before I had to skate to the side and shake off the pain, and after taking a good fall and feeling some stabbing pain shoot up my leg, I sat out the last twenty minutes of practice. But I’ll be back tonight.
Panzer–she of the broken wrist–was coaching as our usual freshie coach, Ida, was off celebrating an anniversary. Present were Rachel, Laura, Ashley, Erica, and Gwen, and while I didn’t do a lot besides stand on the side of the track and film, I did manage to help out at the end. You’ll see.
First up is something I wanted to do for a while. With the GoPro camera in hand I set it atop Laura’s helmet and let her film what it’s like to skate in a pack and do things like weave in and out while doing pull throughs and bumps. At times it gets a little shaky because it’s hard to keep one’s head still, particularly when you’re going around and ’round in circles. So, if you were curious about what it’s like for us to do this, now you get an idea.
Because I had my camera on the side of the rink filming as well, here’s how that all looked from the outside. Because this was a long video, it was necessary to cut it in two:
After removing the GoPro from Laura’s helmet I strapped it to my own head and filmed as the freshie went around the track practicing bumping each other. We can’t use our hands to push people away, which means we use our shoulders and hips for that. I tried to follow the pack as they did this:
And the camera on the side of the rink caught the same action:
While everyone began working on their own things, I decided to talk a little about skating the diamond, which is something you learn to do whenever you’re on the track, particularly if you’re doing your 27/5.
Now comes blocking and jamming. This is pretty much the game right here: three blockers–and a pivot–working to keep a single jammer–the person who scores points–from getting through. The three blockers here are going into a tripod, because it’s like three legs, right? The idea for the jammer is to get a hip and/or shoulder in between a couple of blockers and break up the tripod, while the blocker’s job is to prevent that and keep that jammer from getting past the jam. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work, and the blockers require communications with each other at all times, ’cause the moment that jammer moves to their left or right, you want everyone in the tripod to know.
I should point out that I’ve missed three of these blocker/jammer practices. I won’t miss a fourth.
And lastly… it was time to practice plowing and a great way to do that is to be pushed and pulled and let the plowing person set up resistance for the person doing the pulling/pushing. Since there were an odd number of freshies in the rink, I offered to work with Gwen, since I didn’t need to be on skates to push or plow. I took it slow as I didn’t want to cause her to put up too much resistance, but by the end she said her thighs were burning, which is something that has happened to all of us.
We are learning more and more with every practice, and of late we’ve done more practice with the vets our on Monday/Wednesday night practices so we can do more advanced things. We are approaching some interesting times–
I do hope I can keep up.