Diaries of a Wannabe Derby Girl: Wake-up Call

Yesterday’s practice was, again, fun but difficult for me. Rhea DeRange was our guest coach again, and head ref Wench Warden and Cher the Pain from Guns N Rollers were there as well.

Rhea had us working on some positional blocking as well as some hitting. For the positional blocking we broke off into small groups and took turns being the blockers and the jammer. Both positions were fun, but definitely required a lot of work. When you’re blocking you constantly have to be aware of where the jammer is and be ready to move in any direction at any speed to prevent her from getting by you. I had problems with moving quick enough from one side to the other, and I probably don’t have the proper footwork down yet to master that. I saw a lot of skaters actually picking up their skates and stepping, which allowed them to move without actually accelerating. Being the jammer was equally as difficult (for me at least) because once one of the blockers cut me off, I had a hard time slowing down or stopping without putting my hands on their backs (which Wench Warden repeatedly yelled out not to do). But Havana Good Time and Kirstin, who were my partners in the drill, gave me props for my moves and sticking with it.

For the hitting drill, we did the same thing we’d done in a previous practice—two pace lines on the track with skaters from the back of the line working their way up to the front and hitting skaters along the way. We hit to the outside first and I was able to keep up enough to make it through, but once we switched to hitting to the inside I was getting tired and not able to keep up as much. I took a couple of falls that were more painful than usual, and I tried getting up and getting back in but eventually had to move to the outside of the track and just skate until the drill was over.

We also did a hitting drill where we partnered up and practiced pushing each other to the inside and outside of the track. The pushing out and getting pushed part wasn’t the issue for me, it was the stopping/slowing down to get back on the track behind the skater that was the problem. It was difficult with 50 others skaters on the track, but for some reason I just couldn’t get it and it was really frustrating me.

Toward the end of practice we worked on assists. My toe stop on my right skate came flying off during a previous drill so I had to sit out and fix it while Rhea explained the proper way to assist. After I got my toe stop securely fastened again, I watched everyone else from the sideline so I could try and pick up the proper way to give an assist. After awhile I jumped in line and gave it a try. The first time getting an assist was unsuccessful and I fell on hard on my ass. Giving an assist wasn’t so bad, though. When we moved to whip assists on the outside I got more comfortable. There were definitely some issues, and I need to use my core strength more when I give assists, but I had fun!

Giving Tyger Bomb a whip assist. (Photo by Sharkey)

After practice Draggin pulled me aside to give me some advice. She said to not be so stressed out about keeping up with everyone else, and instead I should be concentrating on learning and practicing proper form so that I can progress. She said that if I just stick with what I’m doing that I’ll never move forward. She suggested really working on my crossovers and skating form. She also said spending extra time at home off skates strengthening my core and doing some cross-training on my own will help too, but she said I need to make sure to get enough rest as well.

Clearly my frustration with not being able to keep up with everyone else is showing. I don’t like feeling behind everyone else, but Draggin made a good point—I can’t catch up with everyone until I can properly do what they’re doing. As frustrating and stressful as that is, it’s the reality of the situation. I don’t have to be where everyone else is skill-wise. I just have to concentrate on my own progression and growth.

And not being as good as everyone else isn’t going to stop me from trying out for Fresh Meat. If I don’t make it, then big deal—at least I’ll know what the tryouts entail and what I need to work on during Wreckers. If I do make it, then great—I’ll have the opportunity to continue working with Draggin and Wench to improve my skills.

Everyone who is doing boot camp should be planning on trying out for Fresh Meat. What do you have to lose? You paid all that money, spent all that time, and endured all that pain…you might as well give it a shot. Who knows, you might surprise yourself and everyone else.


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.