Derby Diary: Let the Charming Begin

Guess who is now a member of the Charm City Rollergirls? Hint: it’s someone who’s blog you may currently be reading. 🙂

SO! Yes, I made it into the league, and so did Jenn and our new friend Sara who we met while practicing at open skate nights. I honestly could not be happier — especially now that I’ve had some sleep! I still have to pass two more assessments before I can be drafted to a competing team, but this means I get to start practicing with the league now. I’ve already started looking at how to arrange my work schedule to make time for practice. Monday is currently my busiest teaching day as well as the main practice day for newbies, so I’ve got some stuff to sort there.

I was nervous about the tryout, but it turned out to be fun. The whole time, everyone was cheering each other on, and there was a strong sense that everyone there really wanted to see one another do well. Sure, we were all focused on ourselves and doing our best work, but in the middle of a challenging drill, it meant a lot to hear a friendly voice saying, “You’re doing great, keep it up!”

We did all our stops first and got them out of the way. T-stops were the hardest thing for me right up until yesterday morning, and then suddenly something clicked. Everyone makes a big deal about being able to do 25 laps in 5 minutes, and I’d never timed myself on that before so I had no idea if I could do it. I made 23 laps, and that was harder than I expected. I think my real problem wasn’t that I couldn’t go fast enough but that I was too timid at the beginning. I got behind this girl who was going slower than I wanted to, but I couldn’t quite pick up the pace to get around her. I tried to make up the lost time it in the 4th minute, but it was a struggle because I was already winded.

The other thing we did that I’d never tried before was pack skating. We had a wide range of ability levels in our pack, which made things challenging. While we were skating in a tight pack, our pivot told us to jump, at which point three people immediately fell in front of me. I opted not to jump that time as I didn’t want to join them on the floor in a faceplant pile. However, I really enjoyed getting a feel for how the group moves together and how you can use your teammates to help steady yourself and vice versa. It quickly became clear why communicating with your team, staying in contact and repeating your pivot’s commands are all important. That was my first taste of what it would be like to skate with a team, and I loved it.

What happens when you get better at something is you realize how much more you have to learn and how much better you really could be. Today, I’m thinking about how far I’ve come since that first time at the rink back in November and how much work is ahead. I want to get good at skating backwards, improve my stops, build up some speed, and shake off that timidity that has held me back more than once on the track and off. And once I get those things done, there will be something new to work on. In other words, I better get back to work. 🙂

How Derby is Teaching Me to Let Go of Fear
Derby Diary: No longer nameless?

6 thoughts on “Derby Diary: Let the Charming Begin

  1. Dirt,

    So here I sit, listening to “I Need a Hero,” by Bonnie Tyler and WHAM!-the post about your roller derby success pops up in the Facebook. You’re a bonafide badass, you know that? I went and tried out for a ref job for the team here and was blown away at the sport. Its pretty damn cool. Proud Dirt, I am SO PROUD.

    P.S. I didn’t take the part time job, rules so hard to understand.

    1. Awww, thanks endbuster! You’re the coolest! The other women in the league are definitely heroes to me already. I have soooo much to learn from them.

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