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The Riot Act

I’ve been off-line for a while on the writing: even getting a new post out on the blog has taken a bit more time than I’ve spent in the past.  Part of the reason is due to commitments at work, and the few I have within my personal life.  One of those commitments involves my participation in roller derby. and as of last Monday, 27 November, that participation took a new turn.  No, I didn’t do anything spectacular: on the contrary, we made a huge shift in the way things are handled at practice…

Our last main coach, Anita Blade, retired as of the end of the last bout back on 12 November and after that we began looking for a new coach, a search in which I had a bit of a say.  After a week we had the people who were going to lead us into 2018 and they agreed to take up the challenge.

And who are these crazy people who decided to take up the challenge?

The first was someone I knew from my time doing practices in York.  Madhouse Mexi agreed to step in and help Ida with training the fresh meat and getting them certified as quickly as possible.  Mexi’s a good person and I like her, as she’s also ready to step in and show you where you’re doing something wrong before suggesting how to go about fixing the problem.  She let me know that even though I still need to do my 27/5 to certify, there are a few area where I’m “deficient” and I’m likely gonna have to improve those areas before the certification goes in and my derby name goes on.  I have no problem with this: she’s the coach, she’s seen me in practice, and she probably knows me better than me.

But our new head coach is Roxie Riot, who has a long history with HARD: in fact, she helped get our league started way back in the early days.  Yes, she knows a lot of the “old school” stuff, but she’s also interested in bringing us into the current way things are being played, and we’re starting to see that in the way we’re drilling.

About those drills…

There’s a lot more urgency in our drills these days.  We get out on the floor and we work.  We’ll spend a lot of time working on something, then rush over to the wall and get a drink before getting back on the track.  And I do mean rush: these days we have 30 seconds to get over, grab a drink, and get back to work.  No more fooling around and bullshitting.  Even though it’s the off-season, it’s still time to drill.

So in last week’s practices, numbers 65 and 66, a lot of time was spent on skills and learning how to defend in a lane.  (Lanes are a concept that have become important in derby, with one imagining four lanes, 1 through 4 from the inside to the out, going all around the WFDTA track.)  The first Monday it was the skills sessions, with everyone showing what they could do.  This is the area where I need work, particularly in plows and in endurance.  It was tiring, but I made it through, and in a way parts of it were a lot of fun–while other parts were a complete pain in the ass and frustrating as hell.  Wednesday was more about footwork and learning to cover the track–

It was also where I got hurt.

It’s been a while since I’ve been hurt at practice, but last Wednesday, the 29th of November, just one day shy of six months I’ve been in derby, it happened.  I was up trying to guard the track and Mexi was skating as a jammer.  When she came at me I tried my best to get in front of her, or at least to her side, and block her, and at the last moment I sort of lunged at her and lost my balance for my troubles.  I went down on my foot, but as I hit the floor my body went backwards while my leg seemed to move forward–

My right thigh muscle pulled and I felt it do so from my hip to just below my knee.

It hurt.  A lot.  I knew I made a sound but I wasn’t aware that I screamed as I hit the floor, something that was confirmed by several teammates.  Roxie was standing next to one of them and she told me she heard Roxie say something like, “I hope that’s not a broken leg,” which, when I think about it, might very well had happened.

But it wasn’t.  I’d pulled one of my thigh muscles enough that he hurt like hell, but it was still in one piece.  As we walked off the floor Roxie asked if I could still feel the muscle as we walked and I told her I could.  She said that was good, ’cause if I couldn’t feel it that mean I’d ripped something and I needed to go to the hospital.

No hospital for me, however: just a lot of rest.

We made it through last week and this week–Practices 67 and 68, which I’ll write about later–and we’re starting to pick up a lot of things.  I’m also starting to get even more comfortable on my skates, and just the other day I was side surfing for a bit, which surprised the hell out of me.

Before you know it, I may just be out there doing something nutty–

Like playing.


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