Yeah, I’m coming to this late. And yeah, I haven’t written anything–
It’s been a long last 24 hours. Part of that is due to getting my ass kicked hard last night at practice, because I was working on timing and hitting drills with the vets–yay, insurance!–and I did a lot of that work against a couple of our faster players. That meant I had to push hard just to try and keep up and while I did my best, it wasn’t always that good. Still, I kept at it and my thighs and butt are still screaming at me today.
Also, I did a 27/5 where I fell on the second lap. I did finish with a time of 5:52, however, ’cause I got up and kept going. Even though I knew I’d have a shit time, the thing to do it finish it out. These days if I get on the line, I’ll get the time.
I should point out that it was almost a year ago last night that I had one of my first real practices–which I happened to photograph. There’s the before:
And the after:
If I remember correctly I may have managed 20 laps during cardio. Back in those days I was pretty shit because I was so out of shape, but I was getting better–though I doubt I did anything like a 40/10 at that point. That might not have happened until sometimes in July.
What’s up next is what happened to Annie at her Recruitment Night. A lot of what happens to her is a lot of what I’ve seen at various Recruitment Nights over the last year, though I’m sure a 14 year old girl might not get it as hard as I got.
Let’s see how she did.
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
An hour after getting fully geared, Annie didn’t need to wonder what she and the other girls had gotten into.
Angry and Holly and Princess—as they were told, during practice it was derby names only—showed them simple moves and encouraged them to perform them as well. They did knee drops—left, right, and both—where they’d drop to the ground and get back up after a few seconds without using their hands. A couple of girls, Annie among them, figured out quickly how to touch the ground with one knee and slid back up to a skating position quickly, earning some praise from the coaches in the process. They also learned to do something called “falling small”, which seemed to consist of getting down on both knees as quickly as possible, pulling your arms in as you sat back on your heels, and leaning over so as to make a small ball on the floor.
Falling Small is important because if you fall and then “starfish” on the floor–which is to say, your legs and arms are out wide from your body–and someone trips over a body part, you’ll get called for a low block on the player. It doesn’t matter that they tripped over you, it’s your fault you’re spread out on the floor. Ergo, learn to fall small.
And knee drops–all the kinds–are part of our Minimum Required Skills needed for certification. You’re expect to get down and back up in 3 seconds without the use of hands.
Now my favorite part:
Then they learned about stops. First a plow, which Annie figured out quickly as it was much like plowing on skis. Then a t-stop, which involved putting one foot at right angles behind the other and using it like a break: that one she didn’t figure out right away. Then there was a transition stop, which they were shown but, as explained, they didn’t figure many would get it as few of them had ever been on skates, so they weren’t expected to try—
Unless they wanted.
About a dozen girls tried, each in groups of three with the coaches hovering over them since most had never been on skates, including Annie. She watched Holly go through the motions of the transition three times before trying it herself and her first attempt found her falling on her side. Holly helped her back on her wheels and to the coach’s—and Annie’s—surprise, Annie wanted to try again. This time she spun around one hundred and eighty degrees, but it was a sloppy mess and Annie thought about halfway through the transition she was going down again.
Though I’m getting better, I suck at plows. Part of it is mental: I just can’t seem to sit back and push out my heels enough to get a fast stop. Since I now “trust my skates” enough to do a good crossover during a 27/5, I need to trust them to plow.
As for t-stops and 180 transition stops–yeah, got it. Though I tend to let my leg swing out on a 180 and I need to stop that, too. There’s always work for you, no matter how good you get.
Now on to something I love–
Then, because there were so many skaters, the girls were broken into two groups, and put into what Angry called a pace line. What they did was simple: they skated around the track, keeping a certain amount of space between each person in line. Annie was in the second group and watched the first group skate slowly around the track for a couple of laps before they were stopped by Angry, who said now that they could do that much, it was time to learn how to weave through the line—
The way it was presented it seemed simple: the person in the front skated to the front, weaving between the skaters until they took the lead, after which the newest person at the back of the line did the same, until everyone went through. The moment Princess started out at the back as a way of showing the skaters—Annie reminded herself they were called Freshies—three girls asked to drop out of the pack, fearing they couldn’t keep up or make it through the pack. Angry allowed it and, after starting, everyone in the line managed one trip through the line with Holly’s and Princess’ help.
Annie’s pack got their turn next.
They started with twenty-one girls, but two immediately asked if they could sit out. Angry didn’t hold it against them and told Holly and Princess to begin. The assistant coach skated to the front, weaving pass Annie so close that she wondered if there really was enough room between them. Four more skaters took their turns—
Then it was Annie’s time to go.
When she heard her name called she took a deep breath and hesitated for a moment: it was the first time she felt doubt in doing something since her Levitation lab that first night in Advanced Spells just over two years ago. A moment later she skated out of line before moving to her right, cutting in front of Farah Charobim, who was directly in front of her. She then slipped to her left and passed in front of the next skater, and the next, and the next after that. While she wasn’t fast or particularly agile, Annie found a rhythm that allowed her to get through with little problem, though like the other skaters she found having to skate up to the pack when they were outside of them in a turn to be difficult.
When then last freshie made it to the front and they were asked to plow, Annie felt as if she’d accomplished something great.
This is the first time we’ve seen Annie show any kind of hesitation when it comes to school things since one night over two years before, probably because she’s out of her element. We know she does have doubt, but she’s gotten really good at hiding it away from other. And yet, she made it through.
I love weaving and I’m pretty good at it. When you get better you get to hit people, which we were doing a little last night. From 8/8 of 2017, here’s a bit of line weaving with some hitting.
So Annie made it through all that stuff–which means she’s doing what? Right now, she’s getting ready to leave…
After they finished Angry released everyone and reminded the girls that if they wanted to start practice next Monday, they should be in the Dining Hall at 09:30 so they could try on, and be fitted for, they own skates. She was half way to one of the benches when Princess skated up next to her. “Annie.”
Annie quickly plowed and slowly turned to face the woman. “Yes—” She reached up so she could remove her mouth piece—
“No, don’t do that.” Princess waved her hand and Annie stopped. “Start learning how to talk with it in.”
“You did well tonight.” The coach ran her gaze from the floor up. “I hope you’re coming back on Saturday.”
Annie knew the answer without needing time to think. “I should be here first thing.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” Princess smiled. “I have a good feeling about you. I hope you stay with us.” She turned and skated off.
Annie continued towards the bench, found an open spot, and sat. She removed her helmet first then she skates, as she remembered that they weren’t allowed to stand on their skates if they weren’t wearing a helmet. She wanted to start making good habits now.
When she was finished Annie took her gear and returned it to the same small table where it had been placed originally. As she turned to leave Kerry approached. He gave her a big smile and a quick kiss before speaking. “Did you have fun?”
A smile broke out on Annie’s face. “I did. Were you watching me?”
He turned to walk with her. “Only a little. They said I’m not needed right away, but they thought I may make a good penalty timer.” He chuckled. “Whatever they do.” He glanced at Annie. “But I did see you in the pack.”
“How did I look?”
“Good. A little shaky but not as bad as some of the girls.” He leaned in close and spoke in a softer voice. “You coming back?”
Annie took his hand and kissed it. “What do you think?”
Kerry smiled. “I think you’ve found something you’re gonna like.”
This is really the first time we’ve heard Annie ask Kerry about how she looked and if he saw her for anything. She didn’t care how she looked when she was fighting, she doesn’t seem to care about how she looks when she’s crafting–but tonight, she wanted to know if Kerry saw her.
It’s almost like she wanted him to appreciate she was doing something different…