Diaries of a Wannabe Derby Girl: Week 3

Ahhh, the all too familiar feeling of aching, sore muscles. It must mean I worked hard last night in boot camp, or got my ass kicked…either way I kinda like it. Is that weird?

Yesterday was the start of the third week of boot camp, and it was totally awesome. We did some reviewing of the basics and a little bit of hitting (yay!). We did our usual warm-up of pace line skating (I’m still not fast enough to keep up with the group, so I just do my own thang), and then worked on falls. My left leg kept cramping up, so I had to stop and stretch it out every so often. I really wanted to push through it, but there were times I thought I was gonna fall over because I could hardly stay up on my skates.

I was very excited when Draggin told us we were gonna practice some hitting. We first practiced hitting with our hips while just standing still. We partnered up and took turns hitting and taking hits. Joyride (a transfer from Lava City) was my partner and helped me out quite a bit, and Wench Warden came by to offer pointers and make sure I was keeping my elbows in.

Wench Warden offering pointers as I practice hitting Joyride. (Photo by Sharkey)

We switched partners and practiced it again before splitting into two groups and hitting while skating. One group was stationary and spread out around the track while the other group weaved in and out and hit the stationary skaters. It was a lot easier to take the hits than it was to give them. You have to have good timing and decent maneuvering skills to be able to hit people while you’re skating. There were times I gave good hits, times I fell on my face, and other times where I completely missed a skater. It was definitely hard work, but SO much fun.

Taking a hit from Janelle. (Photo by Sharkey)

After hitting, we partnered up again and practiced kicking each other’s skates to simulate skating closely in a pack. Napoleon Blownapart was my partner, and after we took turns kicking each other’s skates Draggin had us all do the same thing while we were skating around the track. I definitely need to work more on keeping my weight back so I’m more stable and don’t fall forward.

Once we practiced hitting skates with a partner, we put our new skills to the test by actually skating closely in a pack. I was doing fine and keeping up, until I hit skates with someone on the outside of the pack and went down. I moved to the outside of the track and waited for the group to come back around, but Joyride grabbed me and we made our own pack. There wasn’t a lot of practice with dodging people, but she helped me nail down switching from the outside line to the inside line, offering pointers on how to do it most efficiently.

Napoleon and I practicing kicking each other's skates. (Photo by Sharkey)

Toward the end of practice, we did pace lines with weaving and whipping. I was entirely prepared to take part in the drills, but once Draggin blew the whistle the front of the line took off quickly and I wasn’t able to keep up, so I had to move to the outside of the track and just try to keep up with the pace as best I could. That meant I wasn’t able to do any weaving or whipping around skaters, but I did get to practice skating fast without worrying about other skaters in front of or behind me.

There were times when I had to work some cramps out of my legs again, but that gave Wench an opportunity to give me some instruction on skating form as well as some tips for preventing cramps. He said I need to drink lots of water the day before as well as the day of practice so I’m already well hydrated, and he recommended eating foods with lots of potassium such as bananas, oranges, and beets. He also stressed how important it is to practice staying low in the derby stance while at home doing normal, everyday things. He said it would make my life much easier down the road, and I believe him.

After Wench’s pep talk, I headed back out on the track and tried to focus on my form. As I was trying to keep up the same pace with everyone else, I realized just how much I’ve improved since the start of boot camp. I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely better than when I started and that’s such a great feeling. Every time I think about the progress I’ve made and the progress I will make, I get incredibly excited. Can you tell I’m in love with roller derby yet? :)

Since boot camp is close to being over, I’m preparing to kick it into high gear. I have a good four days of skating ahead of me. Tonight I’m going to head to Wreckers practice, and then I’m going to stay after for Mary Mac’s lesson and hopefully get my crossovers down (I tried to do it last night and it wasn’t as scary as I thought!). Saturday and Sunday we have boot camp practice, and then on Monday I’m taking a private one-on-one lesson from Smack Ya Sideways, so hopefully by next Thursday I’ll be able to keep up with the pace lines and participate in more drills!


Wannabe Derby Girl

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About Alicia Hankins

Alicia is a huge fan of roller derby. Although she would like to be out on the track skating and hitting some bitches, she loves writing about the kick-ass skaters of RCR and spreading the derby gospel.