And that’s what we’re talking about today…
And that’s what we’re talking about today…
Yeah, had to get that Beatles reference in that for the title, doncha know?
Last Tuesday was my freshie practice and something of a special day. Why is it a special day? I tell you in the intro:
Now, you’ve seen push drills before, but this one I liked because I was really moving along well the whole time. I started getting a little back soreness at the end but it’s not that bad that I can’t finish what I do. While I’m not quite able to keep up with the OG, I like getting the speed on here.
The 27/5 keeps coming up from me a lot and there’s reasons for that: it’s like the Golden Fleece of the Derby World: once you do it you never have to worry about it again. Ida wanted Sam and me to skate our and while I was feeling a bit tired from the previous night’s practice, when the coach tells you to do something, you make it happen.
It was not, however, my finest hour. I start out okay and even managed to do half-ass crossovers around the track as I skate the diamond–and I was hitting it almost perfectly. It’s just that on Lap 3, as I go into Turn 3, I lose it big time. From what the video shows it looks like my leg buckled because I wasn’t maintaining a good form, and I just did a baseball slide into Turn 4. From the time I started to fall to the time I’m back on my skates is ten seconds and I figure the fall screwed by time by thirty to forty seconds. However, my time of 6:18 was good enough for almost 22 laps, which is what I’ve skated before, so I figure without the fall I’d have made 24 laps. Closer and closer every time.
Sam was up after me and as you can see, she has great form. She also skated a 5:25, so when she builds up her speed a bit and gets her form right, she’s gonna beat a 27/5 like it was committing a crime. It’s all each of us want to do.
After that skating to a back seat to rules. Registered Curse, a ref who lives nearby and comes over to help now and then, stopped by to go over some of the rules of derby. We first start out leaning about the pack: what makes one, what doesn’t, and how you can find your zone of engagement. This is important because it lets you know when and where you can score and hit people. It also lets you know why, when you go to a bout, refs are yelling, “No Pack” and “Pack is Here”. This is why.
You’ll need to listen closely: I didn’t mic Curse and we have to deal with open spaces and background sounds. But you can hear her.
Part Two of Registered Curse’s Rules of Derby involved going over where you can hit another place and what parts of your body you can use to hit. She also goes over what constitutes a cut track and how to get a misconduct call made again you, which I help out with from off-camera. We had to deal with a lot of background sounds here as the men’s roller hockey was on the track and they were being supper loud with their slap shots.
Lastly we go off-skates and Curse shows us the ins and outs of block, starting off with something I’m bad at doing–as she points out–the clockwise block. She also shows a stop block and tells out the quickest ways of getting kicked the hell off the track, which does happen from time to time.
There you go: nine freshie practices, nine different things going on each time. The next one, next Tuesday, is my tenth, which means I’ll have twenty weeks of freshie practice under my belt.
It won’t be long before six months done is here–
It’s been a week, which means it’s time to talk about the last freshie practice, which was Tuesday, 19 September, 2017. And as you’re gonna see, we had a whole lot happening.
First off, it’s not video time without me having something to say at the start:
Now, this skate around. About the only reason I include this here is because we had a lot of people show up last Tuesday night. This is due to old and new freshies being together for the first time since recruitment night. So suddenly your practice goes from sparse to looking like you’re working out in the middle of a bout.
Then comes the pyramid sprints. My partner, Sarah, and I just happened to set up where you can clearly see us while we work together. Sarah is one of the freshest of freshies, and I’m helping keep track of laps and stuff. I’m getting better getting up speed and keeping it, so give me a few more weeks and I should start burning up the track.
At this point we start doing backwards skating. Let me remind everyone that four months ago I had never skated backward, so I consider it an accomplishment to be able to do this now, if only for a short time. I’m also getting to where I can skate backwards and talk to someone to give them instruction, which is a great thing.
Ida decided to run a few 27/5s that night, and Ashly was one of those picked–maybe it has something to do with Blade saying the night before she’d tell Ida to put Ashly on the track. Jackie was picked to fill out the other side of the track, so while Ida timed Ashly, I set up behind her and timed Jackie.
Both women actually did pretty well. I’m not sure about Ashly’s exact numbers, but Jackie managed 24 laps in just a fraction of a second over five minutes and did 27 laps in 5:38. Take away the few stumbles they both had and 27/5s are in their sights.
The other two 27/5s were performed by the freshest of freshies, so I’m not certain of their names. Let’s just say that the woman I’m timing on the right side of the screen did one of the ugliest skates I’ve ever witnessed, and yet she did 24 laps in 5 minutes as well. As Ida and I told her–and you can hear it near the end of this video–when she gets her form down she’s gonna kill her 27/5.
After that we did some side-to-side work, along with people coming up and talking into the camera, because that’s what we do from time to time.
And lastly we have the Scary Monster. I’ll just let Ida explain:
There we are: more freshies, more fun. And more work. We’re always working.
Sure, it’s been a week since I did this practice and shot this video, but hey: life gets in the way, right? That life included more practice and a lot of depression, but I got through both for the most part.
Anyway, with this being my seventh freshie practice the movie The Magnificent Seven comes to mind, which means the movie The Seven Samurai also comes to mind as that’s the movie The Magnificent Seven was based upon. While there were seven of us–at least–I would say we weren’t quite as magnificent as the characters in those movies, but we did our best.
And while there were seven of us, only five were skating: Tara was down with a concussion and Laura had a bad tummy, which kept her off skates but didn’t keep her away from mischief, as you’ll see. That left Kiley, Erica, Mary, and myself to do practice with Ida. Like I said, seven of us.
First up is my intro, which doesn’t say much, but it’s me yacking to the camera. So gotta do it, right?
That leads into push drills, 2 to 5 to 2, with Kiley and Erica as one group and Mary and me as the other. As you’ll see Group 1 sorta crashed and burned at one point, while I had to bail from Group 2 for a few laps because my back was locking up. While this was going on Ida decided that she wanted to attempt a 27/5, ’cause when she certified she only needed to do a 25/5 and she wanted to get it done. Needless to say she did her 27/5 with seconds to go, so I guess this means she can stay a coach. 🙂
Then we skated around the track and every time the whistle blew we had to transition 180 degrees and do a toe stop, then head off in the direction we were facing. You’re going to hear a lot of Whooing going on in this video: that’s Mary doing a tornado every so often (spinning around 360 degrees) before coming to a stop. I’ve already suggested her derby name be Tornado Whooie.
You’ll also notice I fall down a few times. Yeah, get used to seeing that.
Now we get into some pain–and I do mean that. The idea here was to sprint to a couple of sets of cones and plow to a stop. Since I can’t plow for shit right now, most of the time I just blow through the cones. Then when we get to the far wall we were to plow or use our toe stops to, you know, stop, and sprint all the way back. If you watch this you’ll see me not only fall down (I think the fourth time), but the first time, maybe the second, it looks like I kind of shake all over. That’s because I started thinking about which way I should turn to stop and by the time I did manage an “Oh, shit!” stop, I slammed into the wall with my back and shoulders. Not a lot of fun.
Now, you can’t see it, but around the 5:30 point you’ll hear shout of pain from me. That’s because Laura, who needed something to do, decided to throw a hand full of floor cones at me and they made a bee line right for my crotch. While things don’t work down there the way they used to, getting hit in my lady parts can sting like a bitch and did. Not only that, but I had to get up and skate to the end and back. Yeah, not fun.
Last but not least we did T stops and drunken sailors, which involves slowing brings one leg over the other as you balance on one foot. You’ll see me fall down a couple of times and by now I was getting a bit frustrated not being able to pull this off as well as I would have liked. In fact we did these again the next night and I found it necessary to have a two minute cry-out because of said frustration.
There you have it: seven practices down and another five weeks to go before freshie practice 10 rolls up.
I hope I’m not slamming into walls by then.
I know: most people checking in thought they were gonna find out what happened to Annie and Kerry as soon as Coraline arrived at the ICU. And I had fully planed on presenting that excerpt, except… well, I’ve been sitting on this video for a week and yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to get off my ass and edit it for proper consumption between watching episodes of The Defenders. By the way, while I know Jessica Jones is a fictional character, I want to kanoodle with Krysten Ritter in the worse way. And she knits and crochets as well, so she’s got that going for her.
So you’re gonna get that excerpt tomorrow. Today you get my look at my last freshie practice, where I have dipped into the Disney for the title, though unfortunately I don’t come off at all looking like Go Go: I’m more like Honey Lemon ’cause I have a big purse and science is my thing. But I need to get this out because after a week I cannot sit on it any longer.
As always it’s have video, will travel, and I was set up. This came the night after a totally ass busting cardio session and everyone was feeling it–something I allude to in the intro below–
We did a quick thirty laps of cardio, though mine weren’t fast. I was last off the track and suffering from a lot of back pain. I mentioned in my last derby post that Shux said my posture was bad and I was “tits over skates” a bit, and that can lead to a bit of back pain, so tonight I’ll do what I can to get that posture right. That and work on my core, which is gonna help.
So… for a while I’ve been anticipating we’d do another 27/5 (skate twenty-seven lap in five or fewer minutes) and sure enough, that was the first hour of the night. With six of us ready to do one, it was time to get two skaters on the track at the same time and let us have at it. Panzer timed one skater and I timed the other, and unlike the first time everyone did five laps and got their final time after it was over.
First up were Laura and Jackie. Both have done this before so it wasn’t unknown territory to either. And having done this before you know what sort of hell awaits, so you just suck it up and go at it. For reference, Laura is on the left side of the screen being timed by me and Jackie is being timed by Panzer.
27/5 One: Laura and Jackie.
Next up were Ashly (or is it Sarah?) and Mary. This was Mary’s first time at only her second freshie practice, much like what happened with me, but Mary is in a hell of a lot better shape than I was when I did my first 27/5. For reference I timed Ashly on the left side, and Panzer timed Mary on the right.
27/5 Two: Ashly and Mary.
A long last it was my turn and, like the first time, I did mine with Erica on the other side of the track. The first time I did this I wore rentals so I anticipated I’d do better on my own skates: in fact, it was my goal to break at least 20 laps in five minutes. And I knew I could do it. I just knew it.
Annnnnnd… well, watch for yourselves. Erica’s starting on the left, I’m on the right.
27/5 Three: Erica and me.
My final time was 7:18 for 27 laps, and it was all I could do to keep from melting down. I didn’t improve at all: I managed only 18 laps in that time, which was the same thing I did on rental eight weeks earlier. For a bit there I felt like a certain incestuous drunk queen stripped naked and forced to march through a angry screaming crowd. With my teammates around me I felt like I was on my own Skate of Shame and all I needed was a nun with a bell…
I did meltdown later: it was Crying Time all the way on the drive from the rink to the apartment, and I don’t hide that fact. This was probably one of the most ego-shattering moments I’ve ever experienced and it almost got me to the point where I wanted to quit.
See, there are two rules in Derby. Let me show you:
Yeah, you just don’t walk away because you had a bad night. You think about what you did wrong and work on making it right. I heard from a number of my teammates in the aftermath of this 27/5 and they had their own horror stories about their own struggles to certify, so as I said on my Facebook wall, I’m not the last derby woman to cry over a bad practice and I certainly won’t be the last.
It’s all about getting up and doing it all again. And doing it better next time.
In relation to this–I did some checking on my skate due to something I was told early Wednesday morning, and after some research I’m taking a different track on my hardware. Let me just say, setting up your skates for optimal performance is not all that different from setting up a race car for a track. Good thing I know how to do that…
Enough of this sobby bullshit. Onward.
We did a lot of 180 transitions and toe stops. Sort of working at our own speed. I’ve had to cut this into two parts because the video was too big unedited to upload to YouTube–and I had four of my teammates–Erica, Ashly, Mary, and Jackie–decide to leave a message. It’s the last minute of this first one if you just wanna jump to the end.
Start of transitions/toe stops:
And here we have the end of the Great Transition/Toe Stop practice, one where I spent a good deal of it on the far side of the rink talking to Panzer about stuff… and things.
One thing I learned from these two videos is that I’m far too timid on those transitions. I need to get a little more speed behind me before I turn and stop, because you may not be inching along on the track in the middle of a jam, right? Right. You know it.
You might say, however, well, what if you are zipping along and you fall? Isn’t it gonna hurt? Answer: yeah, it likely will. But guess what? It’s not about falling–
It’s about how fast you get back up.
My last practice was Wednesday night and while it wasn’t freshie practice–I’m still editing that video–we still got things done. A lot of things. Like things that made us sweat a lot.
Because of injuries and work related stuff going on Wednesday was mostly a Freshie event. And we had four guest come up from York to get a bit of a work out as well: Awe Shux, Not Amanda, Grimm Scarytales, and Rock N Rose. You gotta love the names, am I right? One day I’m gonna start calling myself by one of these names and you’re gonna go, who? That’s for a ways down the line, however.
What did we do? Pace line and pack work, tripod/jammer practice, and a jammer practice where everyone played blocker and everyone got a chance to be the jammer. For this last I do not have video, however, as I hit the mode button at one point and switched my GoPro over to time exposure mode, so I ended up with like 140 pictures which were unusable. But I did get video of everything else.
Tripod practice you’ve seen before, but in our little group everyone had to play jammer at least once. No need to get out the big girl’s panties–the star pantie for our helmets–because with four of us in a group it was pretty easy to tell who was blocking and who wasn’t. Maybe the next time when we get a little crazier we’ll be geared correctly, but this night–nope, not necessary.
You’re gonna notice I talk in these videos. I talk a lot. When you’re bracing it’s your job to know where the jammer is and tell your other two blockers her location so they can react. A tripod that doesn’t communicate is one that’s gonna let the jammer by every time.
But I’m yacking a lot. I’m getting good with knowing what I’m doing wrong due to rules and a couple of times I’ll stop and say what I did wrong and we’ll reset and go at it again. The more you understand what you’re doing wrong, the more you can fix those things and not do them.
Tripod Practice 01:
And after some yacking we finish up:
Tripod Practice 02:
This was something new to try. It’s a pack weave, only you’re close to a person on your left or right. And I mean close: we reach over and touch each other’s thighs to keep it tight. The idea was as you move through the pack you get used to being right on top of someone else, which may happen when you’re blocking. For this I was with Ah Shux and we talk back a forth a little. You’ll hear her say that she was about to correct by posture because I was leaning over. As we sometimes say–and I do in the video–proper position is “butt back, tits up”, which is to say you bend your knees and put your butt back like you’re going to see, but you keep your torso upright and your head looking straight ahead. As Shux told me later, I was getting “tits over skates”, which is leaning forward, and that’s not something you want to do because it’s easier to fall that way if you take a hit.
Us Derby Women: we have the best language.
Hip to Hip Weaving:
This was something else we’ve never done before and it’s also a little different. We stayed in a pack and as our name was called we were given a place in the pack to go, after which we were expected to go there. The idea again was to get us used to moving quickly in a pack while said pack is going down the track. The best you can do this, the better you can play the game.
There you go. And maybe tomorrow I’ll have the last freshie video ready to go–
And expose my shame.
Remember how I may have mentioned that I was sore Tuesday? Yeah, that was due to Monday night practice that worked out butts off. At the time I thought I couldn’t feel any worse–
That’s because I hadn’t went through Wednesday night’s practice.
Of late the practice work has stepped up. We were told Monday night that we’re going to start working a little harder so us fresh meat can get better at what we’re doing. And by getting better, that means we can play faster. Given that a lot of the stuff we’ve stared doing involves scrimmaging–playing blockers against jammers–it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to see what’s happening.
Last night was a lot of cardio and line work. I mean like a lot of line work: there were about a dozen of us to do pull throughs and we averaged about a lap and a half for every person to wing through the whole line. For pull throughs we went three times, so a lap and a half times twelve times three is fifty-four laps, plus we did hip checks which we did twice each for another thirty-six laps, with our at-the-start pyramid sprints adding another nineteen laps for a total of approximately one hundred and nine laps–
Before we got to scrimmage.
Oh, and we ended the night skating forty laps in a pack, so it’s a good bet we did between one hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty laps last night. When you figure we likely skated about one hundred and ninety feet per laps, we covered a distance of about 5.4 miles, or 8.7 km. Yeah, lots of skating.
Now, about this scrimmaging…
We were once again working on bridging much like we did the Wednesday before. However, we weren’t quite as sharp as we were that night and things were a bit more disorganized as in we didn’t hit our marks the way we did that first night. When I blocked I didn’t do as well, but that may have been due to being tied by that time. I went down more than a few times and had people wiz by me in an eye blink.
But I was also jamming and I did a little better. Well, I did great against the freshies. In fact I have video. In this case there are three freshies on the track and one veteran OG player. So getting through wasn’t bad. Oh, and need I mention: there’s some swearing. Yeah, it happens.
The Good Jamming.
But with the good comes the not-so-good, and a bit later I was pitted against three OGs and a freshie and the vets kinda showed me what it was like to be a jammer having to move a little over five hundred pounds of women who don’t want to move:
The Hard Jamming
Notice I was either knocked down or went out of bounds, or both, and came at the pack four times, huffing and puffing like crazy the whole time. I figured I skated about three hundred and fifty feet and likely pushed the pack around for about a third of that distance. When I stopped at the end I had nothing left: I was getting light headed and things were going a little gray. I didn’t think about it at the time–mostly because I was damning myself for stopping–but those claps at the end were for going back even when it was obvious I was tired. Sometimes that’s what it’s all about–
Though when we were leaving one of the refs stopped, looked at me, and went, “Don’t quit!” I don’t know if she meant don’t quit on the track or don’t quit what I’m doing–
Maybe I’ll just do the same for both.