This has been an interesting week at the rink as my team, HARD, aka The Girls in Green, get ready for a home bout this Sunday on the 6th of August. Though I’ve attended two bouts, this will be my first at home and freshie attendance is expected. Needless to say I’m a bit excited because, well, home is where the team’s at, right?
It also means the team has been practicing extra hard this week. Part of the reason is we are playing at home, another is that we want to win. We’re also working with members from the York City Derby Dames, the team in York, PA, that has become a sister team, allowing their people to play with us and us to play with them. (One reason for this is to allow for a deeper roster, which comes in handy when you’re playing against teams that have like 15 active players.)
And our teams are working out hard ’cause during Monday night’s practice we lost our resident mermaid, Ariel Wildfire, to a broken ankle that happened when she went down wrong after a hit. Yes, kids: you can get seriously hurt even during practice. She was back using a kneeling scooter on Wednesday night and will be at the game as an observer.
As for my injury… after sitting out through nearly all of last week my foot is better. Maybe not one hundred percent, but close enough that I’m back to skating and walking to work. Now I know that if I’m hurt like that, don’t try to come back on it right away: take a week off and let it heal.
Since I could practice I managed to get plenty of video with my Go Pro, so you can see some of this stuff happening up close. Let’s me start off with Monday night…
Scalloping is when you use one foot to alter your trajectory quick, usually to the right or left while you’re going forward. Normally it’s used to get in front of someone fast, which is what we were working on in this first video. Needless to say I didn’t do it right, so Ida shows me what I did wrong so I can do it right.
I’m getting much better at weaving now that I’m fairly used to my skates. I’m not quite whipping down the markers, but I’m a lot better than I was when I was back on rentals.
A 180 Transition Block is a simple thing: when someone comes up from behind, you spin around one hundred and eighty degrees and put a shoulder into them to slow them up. Jackie and I worked together, trading blocker and jammer positions in the next two videos:
And lastly–I Finally got the chance to do some pyramid blocking. You have two people shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, forming a wall, and a third person holding on to you both, letting you know which way to move because the jammer is trying to get around you. As you can see we’re both doing well:
And just like that it’s Wednesday night! Ida was working that night so Gracehopper, the latest freshie to move up to the “adult’s table”, as I call scrimmaging with the vets and playing in bouts, was asked to work with us. She had us doing a little weaving and plowing and stuff like that, but we really worked hard on blocking. And first up was single jammer block, which is a bit like scallop blocking, only we didn’t have to get in front, we only had to make contact with the jammer and push her out of bounds–which is why we’re working on a short stretch of made-up track. Grace was moving fast when I was working with her, which meant I had to keep up with her. And I did.
Now back to the pyramid blocking. It was a little different than when we did it on Monday night because rather than just block and be done if the jammer was either forced off the track or managed to get around you, Grace made the rule that once we engaged, it was up to the jammer to push the blockers to the end of the track. You got that right: one person had to push three people about thirty feet down a laid out straightaway and not stop until we were at the end. And if the jammer went out of bounds? They came back on where they went out and got back to pushing.
So these first two are with me being in the wall:
And here I’m the jammer coming up on the blockers, which means it’s pushing time!
And lastly I’m the brace in the pyramid, so I’m calling the directions for which way the jammer is going.
Here I am doing something I haven’t done before: I’m skating backwards. It’s only taken about forty years, and I’m only going about twenty feet, but I’m getting there. It’s all about putting the moves together.
Lastly we were working on crossovers and while I don’t have that move down pat, I decided to see if I could turn on a bit of speed and see how it felt. While I didn’t go as fast as the vets, I was skating outside the track and close to the wall at a good clip, doing a lap maybe every twenty-five seconds. When I realized I hadn’t filmed this, I went back out for a couple of laps, only stopping after a couple of laps due to a cramp in my back. But while I was out there doing this I finally felt as if I was getting into some kind of grove. Now to work on the form and build up the endurance and see how this looks when I’m inside the track.
Eighteen practices in, but the reality is I was not doing much in two due to injury and I’ve missed three others for the same reason, as well as missing three others when I saw my daughter graduate. Still, in sixteen practices, thirty-two hours of work, I’ve gotten this far, and in the next thirty-two hours of practice I expect to be much better than this. Which means when I get to the end of September I had better look back at this video and think, “Yeah, I was really starting to get better then–”
Let’s hope I exceed my expectations.