A Mental Saturday

Did someone say video?  I think I did.  And here it is!

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On the Holiday Hours

Believe it or not I’ve got some free time.

Last Sunday was my team’s last bout of the 2017 season.  I started off the day getting over a sudden illness from the night before–as you know–and progressively grew better as the day wore on.  By bout time I was well enough that I changed my hair and hauled my equipment off to the rink so I could film.  And I had everything just right–including my hair:

It's almost time for the final bout of the season. #HARD

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Alas, the mood of the day couldn’t keep up with our opponents and we lost.  Actually, it was pretty much a blow-out: 41 to 501.  Yeah, a 460 point different.  But we half the off-season in place now, which means I pretty much have two weeks off save for a couple of practices I can attend in York this week and next.  And that means I can get some writing in, writing on a regular basis.

In the mean time I have some of the clothes that I bought last Friday night to show off.  Like this sweater dress yesterday–

One of my new sweater dresses.

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And this slacks and blouse combo–

Another new outfit and breaking out the heels for the first time in a while.

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So, down time mean rest time.  I won’t be down the whole time, but I’m kinda off skates for two weeks.  That means I can get in some writing.

Let’s see what happens.

That Championship Practice

Last night was the practice that I was dreading for a couple of weeks while, at the same time, looking forward to it with tremendous exhilaration.  That’s ’cause I was about to get coached by a world champion–

Over this past weekend–3, 4, and 5 November–the WFTDA Division 1 Championships were held in Philadelphia and the best roller derby leagues from around the world when there to compete for the title and trophy, which is known as the Hydra, named after the first WFTDA President and excellent derby skater in her own right.  (Just so you know the name of our current president is Master Blaster.  Yeah, we’re cool–)  One of the past champions, Gotham Girls Roller Derby of, where else, New York City, came in third and got the bronze.  That left former champions Rose City Rollers of Portland, OR, to square off against Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia, for the big title.  And while Rose City put up a gallant effort and manged to be the only team to score over 100 points against VRDL, they lost 101 to 180.

That means for the first time a roller derby league from outside the US became the champions and prepared to take the Hydra back to their home country–

All save for one person.

Lorrae Evans, a blocker with VRDL, was asked by one of my teammates, Pixie Panzer, if she’d be interesting in staying over a couple of days and coming to Harrisburg to do a special coaching session.  She wouldn’t only coach us, but we’d invite players from other leagues to join us.  Surprisingly, Lorrae said yes, and the day after their championship win she’d take the train from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and join us for a night at the rink.

Besides my team, HARD, and members of our sister team the York City Derby Dames, showing up, we had players from the Dutchland Rollers of Lancaster and the Black Rose Rollers of Hanover in attendance as well.  All together there were 28 of us on the floor, with me and one of my teammates being the only uncertified players in attendance.  Also, with the exception of one other person–one of my teammates–I had the least amount of time skating, only four months, whereas so many more players had 1 to 8 years of experience.

Like I said, I was dreading this for a couple of weeks.  However, yesterday I decided that I was going to show up and do my best, so rather than get into a negative head space over this, I’d see what I was capable of doing.

What I learned right away is that I have a lot to work on.

We started out simple:  stake forward and backward, then weave back and forth, the skate and plow then skate backward and plow, then do airplanes–go from one track side to the other, moving your arms like the wings of a plane and trying to touch the line–also skating forwards and back.  We finished off with trying to skate around on one foot also going forward and backwards.

Easy, yeah?  That was a line we’d heard from Lorrae off and on during the night.  As a coach she was easy going, but she was also in charge:  she let us know when she did a double whistle it mean we were to come to the center of the track right away and form up so she could speak with us.  No dallying: get in and listen up.  It was also like that with drills: we’d do one, then come in and find out what we were doing next, usually get shown an example of what we’d do, then it was out to do it.  Not a lot of rest in between, not a lot of banter and chatting between players.  Just listen and do it.

And it went on and on.

Like I said went with the attitude to do my best, but I knew I wasn’t going to be as good as the others there.  I knew instantly that we were working at a far higher skill level than I’d seen before and I felt it through all the sweat pouring from me.  But I felt something else as well: every so often a chill would pass through me and that was an indication that I was starting to get overheated and my body wasn’t responding well.  After 45 minutes I went through 40 ounces of water and at one point I hurried off to the bathroom ’cause I thought I was about to vomit, but after a couple of minutes there I felt better.  I refilled one of my water bottles and headed back out.

It wasn’t going to get any better for me, however.

During the middle of a three-person drill where we were pushing each other laterally from one side of the track to another I was pushed to the inside and thought for a moment I had a slight groin pull.  I didn’t and one of the women with me laughed and said to shake it off.  What happened after that was me going “Wait a minute–”

And then things got fuzzy.

I know I was told I should go sit down.  I was told that more than once, in fact.  I made my way off the floor to a bench and, I was told, a coach from Dutchland asked if I wanted to lay down, where then I would ask, “You want to lay down?”  That went on for a bit before my coach and one of the refs who is also a registered nurse came over and sorta helped me lay down before getting some ice for my neck to cool me down–I was told that my head was pretty hot at this time–and remove my gear, which is a sign that you’re done for the night.

I lasted 90 minutes, which is pretty good considering that’s pretty close the amount of time we actually spend doing drills in a two hour practice.  But this was nothing like our practices; this was way beyond anything I’d done up to that point.  Some of the York women who made it through the whole three hour practice and who are in fantastic shape said they were exhausted at the end of the night, so you know it was ass busting.

After I cooled down my coach wanted to make certain I was okay and I told her that I was and I wasn’t upset that I didn’t make it all the way through: I did my best and there was no shame in not being able to keep up with women with far more experience and in better shape.  She said she’d kept an eye on me and saw I was pushing myself, which made her proud.  The ref who helped me check to make sure I was okay and was glad I wasn’t upset with myself over not being able to make it all the way through:  like she said, “You didn’t have to do it, but you’d have been kicking yourself in the ass if you hadn’t gotten out there.”  And there’s a lot of truth there.

I not only learned a lot on the floor while I was there–and one of the things I learned was I have to improve my footwork–but I watched the rest of the practice from the sideline and saw things I so want to do when I get the chance.  I told my coach that I know now that I need to work on being a blocker and pivot, as that’s likely where I’ll help the team the best, as I’m not as crazy fast and quick as a real jammer, but I can do great defense as a blocker and run offence in the pack for the jammer as a pivot.  Hey, Lorrae is a blocker and she helped her team win a championship.  Not too shabby.

After practice we gathered around for a team photo that I also joined as I was out on the floor when this started so why not?

 

We also got to pass her gold medal around–which she just happened to bring–and take a few selfies with her.  Like this one, which was taken for me by another person:

 

After practice was over I spoke with Lorrae for a few minutes.  I told her I got heat exhausted about half way in and she was sorry to hear that and said that she saw me and said I’d done well.  I did ask her if she meant that and she said yes, she did.  I told her I’d only been practicing for four months and that did elicit a moment of surprise from her, as I suspect she didn’t think someone with that little experience would be on the floor.  She also let me know that the practice we did last night was pretty much the regular practice her team does–

Which means I was actually doing a practice meant for world champions.

It was a good night.  I learned from the experience and while a bit humbled by what happened, I also know I can push myself when necessary.  I’m not as good as the other out there, but then, I’m not supposed to be–at least not yet.  I have months of experience as compared to women with years behind them.

What does that mean?

I means that by working hard, I’ll one day I can be as good as most of the women with whom I shared the floor last night.

Which is the most important thing you can take away from any practice.

Love Among the Witches: A Clean Start

Today is all gray and rainy here in The Burg.  It wasn’t like that yesterday, but come night fall and the rain stared.  Also, it’s a little strange having to deal with the time change, but I’m making the best of it.  After all, I’ve gone through this 119 times, yeah?

I did get that writing in.  And I’ll get in some more Tuesday night, as I don’t have practice.  Tomorrow night, however:  three hours with a member of a team that will either be #1 or #2 in the world.  I’m both excited and scared at the same time: excited that I’ve got the chance to participate in this clinic, and scared that I won’t be able to keep up with the certified players.  I’m going to do my best, you can bet on that.

Speaking of scared, I know of a couple of kids who were just a little while taking a bath.  And that’s what I wrote about today–

 

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

 

“And then I started to bathe him.”

Coraline’s head turned a little to the right as she cast a disbelieving glance in Annie’s direction. “You bathed him?”

“Yes.” Annie gave a quick, affirming nod. “I started washing his back, lathering it with soap and then wiping it off with a cloth. I took my time because I not only wanted him to relax, but—” She sighed. “It felt so romantic.”

“It is romantic.” Coraline sighed as well. “Go on.”

“After I finished his back I turned him around so he was facing me and I started on his front. I washed his face, his chest, his tummy and legs…” A slight blush came to Annie’s face. “And his genitals as well, as I believed he should be clean all over.”

“Which is true. What happened when you finished?”

“I made him turn around, handed the soap and cloth to him, and asked him to wash me. He slid his legs under mine and pushed in closer, then started rubbing soap on my body.” Annie smiled at Kerry. “I remember how brightly you blushed at first.”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah, ‘cause I has to touch you, um—”

“You can say breasts. After all—” She gave her a knowing smile. “You have them yourself now.”

“Yeah.” Kerry glanced downward and chuckled. “I do.”

Coraline chuckled. “But that was a first time for you, that time in the tube?” She added a second question. “Touching a girl there?”

 

There was bathing.  And cleaning.  All over.  No real hanky panky, but when you think about it, Annie was going for something totally romantic.  I mean, you can’t do what they are doing and not see it as romantic.

However, Kerry sees it a bit differently…

 

“That was the first time I touched a naked girl period.” Kerry released a long sigh. “Really, it was so—” She searched for the proper word. “Sensual.”

“Oh, yes.” Coraline nodded slowly. “That’s exactly what I’d say as well. Did you clean Annie well?”

“Yeah. I got her clean.” Kerry turned to her soul mate, smiling. “I washed her in all the same places on the front, then she turned and I got her back. We decided to wash our hair in the morning, so after finishing with her we got out of the tub—”

“Did you dry each other?”

Kerry chuckled. “What do you think?”

Annie answered for Coraline. “Of course we did: we made sure we were both nice and dry before returning to the bedroom. Which we did with a few towels and cloths as well—I didn’t want to get the sheets and comforter stained.”

Coraline saw no need to ask about what Annie thought might cause staining: she knew the girl had considered this while they were likely at dinner that night. “And that’s where you…”

Kerry raised an eyebrow. “Experimented?”

“I was looking for another word.” She thought for a moment. “Everything I’m coming up with sounds so clinical.”

“It’s all right if you say we had sex.” Annie smiled as she shrugged. “Because that’s what we did. I can’t say we ‘made love’ because we never progressed that far, but as far as most people are concerned, we were having sex.”

Kerry pointed to the tablet sitting on the end table next to Coraline. “Those things you asked me about where I said yes, we did those.”

 

There you have it: they first bath together.  And far more interesting and romantic that one night imagine.

But we’re not finished…

The Days of the Missed

Hey, is this really me?  Yes, yes it is.

What have I been up to this week?  Well, when I’m not relaxing–which isn’t much of the time–I’m either working or–here it comes–at practice.  And while work has been the same day in and out, a lot has happened at practice.  Monday was all cardio, all the time.  Tuesday was just Ida, Shannon, and me, and I had a bit of a meltdown due to having a shitty night, but I managed to do one lap from a standing start in 12.53 seconds, which means I checked off my 1/13, leaving only my 27/5 standing between me and a derby name.

Wednesday night was a lot of blocking drills with two and three people in a group, and for a large part of the evening there were four of us–Ashly, Sam, Unchanged Merrily, and me–doing tripod drills with a jammer, which meant a lot of circling around and shoving people at the jammer.

Oh, and getting kissed, too:

Wednesday night kisses. Here just in time for the weekend. #HARD #DerbyGirl #DerbyKisses

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Yeah, those bruises…

And last night I finished up my fourth consecutive night of practice with a trip to York.  I ended up bailing on a 40/10 drill because I was having issues with my left knee which left me frustrated and feeling down on myself, but I ended the night getting into the other drills and doing my share of pace lines, blocking, and hitting.

Which is leading up to an interesting weekend as Philly is hosting the WFTDA Division 1 Championships, with bouts happening all weekend and the final bout for the championship starting about 6 PM Sunday night–which, I should point out, will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 for the first time.  I should point out that if you watch you’ll hear the woman who announces our bouts announcing that bout, because yeah.

That brings me to Monday night.  One of the team competing in CHAMPS–the name of the series–this weekend is Victoria Roller Derby League, a team from Melbourne, Australia, that is currently ranked #1 in the world and favored to win it all.  One of the members of that team, Lorrae Evans, is coming to Harrisburg to guest coach a three-hour clinic, and my coach told me that since I’m nearly certified I would be among those in attendance geared up and skating.  For which I feel lucky.  Now, to be able to live up to what my coach thinks I can do and get through the evening withing issues.

Because of all this “Tryin’ to Certify” work going on, I only have about two or three days a week to write, and this was the first year I’ve missed commenting on Samhain and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, both of which are important events around my special school out on Cape Ann.  With all happening in my life at the moment it’s hard to find time to write and I do miss it–but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that it tends to get in the way.  Once I have this certifying thing out of the way I can begin easing up a little–I’ll be able to drop one day of practice, for example–and get back into the writing thing.

For the tales are still there and my kids have plenty to say.  They just realize the one person telling their tales is a little busy–

And being too busy for others is something they do understand.

The Plans For the Day

Hi there again.  I’m guessing you’re expecting something witty and intelligent and all the stuff today–

Sorry, but I gotta disappoint you.

You probably noticed I didn’t do a video yesterday.  That’s because I was out of the apartment about seven in the morning and didn’t return until nearly two in the afternoon.  I had things to do and stuff for which I needed things. Put those two together and it means I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot, edit, and upload a video.

And today is Bout Day, which means while I’ve actually written some today, I still have a lot to do before 4:30, which is when I need to be at the rink, though about three in the afternoon I’m gonna start working on my makeup for my sort of cheap and easy costume I’m wearing to the bout and after party.

So, you’ll get your excerpt tomorrow as I’m about to post this, shut down, and make another run to pick up a few things I need for today and the week.  This is what happens when I have a busy weekend due to a home bout, and if there’s any consolation, this all ends in two weeks and I head into the off-season.

Here’s hoping you like my costume when I post it–