Graduation Eve

Posted: June 4, 2013 by Biz in fresh meat, roller derby
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In just about 24 hours, the current Fresh Meat class will be taking their minimum skills test… basically, derby graduation day.

Almost 9 months ago, it was my graduation eve. The night before our skills test, some members of our Fresh Meat class were carb loading at Olive Garden (nom nom nom). We had a good time laughing and talking about the test, but on graduation day, I was a complete mess. Okay… let’s be honest, I was a nervous wreck the entire week BEFORE the skills test. But test day? I thought I was gonna puke my entire life out.

It started at 11:30am. We got an email from one of our Freshie Coaches, Stella Blue:

Ladies, Good luck to all testing tonight. I love each and every one of your faces. You got this!! Please remember!! 7pm warm up. Sharp!! … Thanks bunches. You all make me SO proud.

Aaaaand… the anxiety instantly started. And I felt extra emotional. (OMG… why am I telling this story? I think I’m about to have an anxiety attack right now while remembering it.)

So throughout the day, I was trying to keep my fuel up for the skills test – “Energy and hydration. Energy and hydration.” I ate my leftover pasta for lunch. I took extra vitamins. Drank 3 liters of water before 6pm. Took a “hit” of peanut almond  butter for the protein around 5pm (who doesn’t love those Justin’s packets… am I right?). Energy drink on the way to the track. I told myself that the nerves were all in my head. They totally weren’t… they were also in my stomach trying to get out, but I was trying to trick myself out of being nervous. It worked minimally.

When I got to the Lab, I started gearing up for warm-ups and taking mental inventory of vet skaters who would participate in the Gauntlet. Warren Peace. Lisa Carr. Mary Marvel. I was like “OMG. I might die tonight.” :(

my cap and gown

Our coaches encouraged us and told us we should think of it as just another practice. Stella: “You guys. We’ve been doing this stuff every week. It’s just another practice. Don’t get inside your heads, okay?” Then we got “numbered” for judging with a piece of blue tape. I was number 10.

I put my skates on and started taking a few laps on the track. I literally started feeling ill. Seriously. I felt unsteady… like I hadn’t spent the last 10 of 12 weeks on skates. *sigh* I parked myself on the side of the track and stretched my legs some more… they felt like they were falling asleep. Or cramping up. I couldn’t tell which. I took several deep breaths and got back out on the track. And then the test started.

We moved through strides, crossovers, squatting, coasting, lunging, and stepping. Then we lined up in pairs and demonstrated our stops and falls. Everything was going along fine. Coach was right – it pretty much felt like another practice… except that we were on display for a line of judges (does my hair look okay though?).

Fresh Meat – May-September 2012
Eat Nails!

Stella blew the whistle. 25 in 5 time. Oh jeez. My 25 in 5 was never the greatest… I had gotten faster every time we did it, but it took me weeks to get as low as 5:15. I had just gotten under five minutes two weeks before the test. Not a lot of room for error. *grimace* My group took the start line and I *swear* to you my feet fell asleep. Really, feet? Right now? Jerks.

During the 25 in 5, I just focused on staying in front of the pacer – Jackie Reaper. As long as I was in front of her, I would pass. But around lap 21, the distance between us started shrinking… quickly. She was getting closer and closer and I was feeling tireder and tireder. The idea of keeping a good pace until the last three laps made me want to puke (okay… I think puking is the new theme of this post). So I pushed as hard as I could for the last two laps. In my head, I was going really fast. Lol. I finished at 4:58. *faints* The 25 in 5 was the part of the test that I most dreaded. And I just passed that… so the rest was gonna be easy, right? Well, no. Not easy… but definitely less queasy. (Ha. I’m a poet.)

Next, we got separated into two packs to show our ability to skate with a pack, fall small, avoid unexpected obstacles, and respond to our wheels being bumped. Cherry Potter comes through our pack and bumps all of our wheels: “Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry. Oops. I’m so sorry.” Ha. She was so polite about it. After that, we moved on to whips, pushes, leaning, cone weaving, jumps, and then pacing in pace lines. And then we got released for a water break.

And then… the vets took the track.

Oh dear. It was The Gauntlet. We each had to skate through it twice – the first time through; the goal was for us to check/hit as many of them as possible. The second time though, they’re hitting us as many times as possible. Stella: “You guys – they’re GOING to hit you. Real hits. Remember to stay low and if you fall, you get back up and get back in there.” Yes, it was terrifying… but I mean, we were almost done at that point… this is when I was like “I’m ready. Let’s do it.” (late bloomer much?)

First pass through was actually fun. But pass two? *shudder* My number was called right as we were coming out of turn two. I heard Moxie Hart give me a shout out from the side of the track and that was all I could hear (Thanks, Mox!). Everything else fell silent. It got eerily quiet like in a horror movie. The first person to hit me was Reaper (I literally squealed at impact). It all happened so fast after that… I felt like a pinball. Check’r hit me. Basher. Molly. Cherry. I got elevator-doored by Marvel and Lisa Carr. And War delivered the final hit and knocked me down. Sheesh. I don’t even know how I got from the back to the front and I’m sure I got hit by some other people… it was a blur. But dammit, I made it through The Gauntlet. And with all of my teeth.  And just like that, we were Sin City Rollergirls.

One freshie testing tomorrow (Hey Pammy!) told me that she’s most nervous about The Gauntlet. I feel you, girl. But I’ve BEEN to your class’ practices. You guys are ready. And awesome. And I can’t wait to celebrate your graduation! The same way I could still feel the nerves at the beginning of this post… I can still feel the excitement that I felt after we were told that we passed. I felt amazing. And I feel re-amazing in anticipation of the Fresh Meat class testing tomorrow.

Go Fresh Meat!!

Just take the fall….

Posted: April 1, 2013 by foulher127 in fresh meat, practice, roller derby
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So… shortly after I broke my ankle, RollerCon happened. I hadn’t bought a pass because, obviously, I knew it wouldn’t do me too much good. But, I did go to the convention and enjoy the massive Derby Wedding (a MUST attend if you go to RollerCon. It’s AWESOME!). While I was there I had the chance to talk to a lot of skaters and of course, as someone new to the world of Roller Derby, I had a lot of questions. I had the perfect conversation starter for any situation. My hands free crutch! I have a toddler to chase around, crutches were NOT working for me, and the walker I had after I got out of the hospital was even worse. The iWalk is a hands free crutch and it is one of the greatest inventions I have ever had the pleasure of using. Seriously, everywhere I went people would want to talk to me. Especially at RollerCon. As I would “walk by” someone being pushed in a wheelchair by someone or someone struggling on crutches to keep up with their friends. Stares of bewilderment and amazement. I even had an Orthopedic Surgeon from Canada ask if he could take a picture. So if you’re curious, here it is http://iwalk-free.com/

So, when skaters would come up to me to ask about my handy dandy crutch, I would ask them one simple question… “How do you avoid falling backwards?” You know, because one of the first rules of falling in Derby is to fall ‘forward’. That’s what knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards are for, right? We’re always told to “fall forward”. I’ve seen it before, I know it doesn’t always work that way. People fall on their butts. Skaters get epic bruises on their backsides from falls and some even fracture a tailbone every now and again. There is no way to totally avoid a backwards fall, I get it! There’s no way to avoid falling…. period. The best advice I got from all of the skaters I spoke with was almost the same every time. “Take the fall. Just take the fall. Don’t fight it, just fall.” I know skaters that are terrified of falling because they’re even more terrified of getting hurt. Well, every time they fall, they’re the ones that end up getting hurt. Why you ask? Because they’re fighting the fall. I fought my fall big time! It won.

When I finally got back on skates (Three months and three weeks later. Thank you very much Herbalife supplements and physical therapy!) I was anxiously awaiting my first fall. I knew it was coming, and I was ready. It happened and guess what, I got right back up. Then it happened again, and I got up again. Sure, it hurt. Sometimes it really hurt! But every time, I was able to get back up. Don’t get me wrong, falling backwards still kinda freaks me out, especially when I see someone else falling backwards. The most important thing I learned while finishing out Boot Camp was to take the advice of all of the seasoned skaters I talked to during RollerCon. “Just take the fall…”. Will you look like an idiot, probably. Will it hurt, most likely. Will you survive, definitely! So, my advice to Fresh Meat… learn how to fall properly, don’t fight it, and learn the rules too. Always learn the rules! But that’s just the referee in me talking now…

“Eat Nails, Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!” That was our nightly huddle chant after practice when I first joined the Fresh Meat Boot Camp of the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls.
I went to my first Roller Derby Bout in January 2012. It was the Season 7 opener. I was hooked. I immediately decided that I was going do Roller Derby before the bout was even over. I was scared, I was excited, I filled out and deleted the online interest form at least ten times. I went to another bout, this time I actually talked to a skater. I found out that the next boot camp was coming up soon so I HAD to fill out the online interest form if I didn’t want to miss out. A few more bouts and then I finally got the e-mail. They scheduled the intake meeting and the on skates evaluation. Time to gear up! Well, I made through and the adventure began.
My first boot camp started out with over 30 girls! It was crazy. After the first month, we dwindled down to about 25. Then it happened……..
I broke my freakin’ ankle! No, I don’t even have a cool story. I fell, yes, I just lost my footing and fell! See, boring and not exciting at all. I was so determined and so driven that even while I was laying in a hospital bed after surgery to implant a plate and 11 screws into my ankle, I was thinking about skating again. I never missed a practice, okay, I missed two. Hey, I was in the hospital! What do you want? I watched girls that couldn’t even think about doing a crossover when we started, progress into amazing skaters. It pained me sometimes to sit there and watch everyone move on without me but I still didn’t want to miss a thing. I was still determined. The boot camp finished and 21 girls passed the skills test and moved onto getting drafted by teams. I was happy for all of them, but I couldn’t wait to catch up.
Another boot camp started and I was still gimping around. Another surgery to remove one of the screws and I was cleared for full weight bearing. Three months and three weeks after I broke my ankle….. I was back in skates. Physical therapy was going great and my Doctor cleared me. Granted, I could not do half of the stuff I could do before the break but I was just thrilled to be back on the track.
I jumped right back into the current boot camp, it felt amazing. I took my time and tried not to push myself too hard. After a while, we finally got to the good stuff. The hitting! A lot of the girls were more concerned about my ankle than I was. Nobody wants to be the one to re-injure a skater. When I realized that some girls were holding back on me, I started thinking….. I don’t want anyone to ‘take it easy’ on me, where’s the fun in that? I was giving it all I got, okay, maybe not all but I was doing my damnedest. I started thinking, “How can I still skate without getting the crap beat out of me just yet?” And there it was, the answer. The rules changed. The WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) revised the rules for Flat Track Roller Derby. I decided to spend a season as a referee. What better way to learn the new rules than by enforcing them?!? I get to skate without being ‘intentionally’ hit. So far, being a Ref has been tough but fun. I finished out boot camp and passed my skills test (Yay!) I’ve only been refereeing our closed scrimmages since I still have so much to learn but I am still loving every minute of it!

Amy Farrah Foul-Her

Next Month: Just take the fall….

I am finally PARTY POISON!

Posted: February 3, 2012 by partypoison723 in fresh meat, practice, roller derby

I passed my skills test and I want to yell it from the mountain tops!

I’ve never happily worked so hard for something I loved so much.

On Wednesday I finally did my 25 laps in 4 minutes and 59 seconds!

I honestly could not have done it without all the support and derby love from the skaters. Since my last skills test there was a month gap before the next freshie boot camp started and I figured if I could trim off about 3 minutes off my time in 3 months then 40 seconds in one month should not be a problem.

Stella Blue and I would meet up for one on one practices at 2 or sometimes 3 times a week, she told me to jog everyday for to build up my endurance, I was wearing my skates at home and working on my crossovers, and going to the local skate park every chance I could. As my second skills test came around the corner Stella let everyone know that I needed some help with contact drills since I was used to practices with just one or sometimes 2 other skaters. And to my surprise 13 girls came out to help me! Some were Vets and some were FAST girls. These girls are at the practice space 3 or 4 times a week and they came out yet another day to help me out. When they could be doing a ton of other things and they took time out of their day to help me out. That actually felt really awesome.

My second skills test I passed everything except the 25 laps in 5 minutes! We even did it again but I had the entire travel team skating behind me encouraging me, pushing me, and telling me when to crossover and it was intense! Still didn’t quite make it though. Almost! I thought I would be bummed after busting my behind to pass and still not making it. But I got a lot of words of encouragement from the travel team and who is better to give advice? Plus since many of them were so excited I had come so far it was hard to leave sad. I was actually pretty pumped to keep working at it!

I worked on my 25 in 5 some more and at one practice I had Anya Marx leading and Susan B. Bruisin behind me pushing me and yelling “How hard have you been working on this?! This is nothing, Claudia! How bad to you want this?!” But then I hit 5 minutes and 12 seconds and that was my best time!

Earlier this week Stella told me to try “speed skating” instead of derby stance a little and I don’t know if that was just it or something more but it shaved off those 12 seconds I had been lacking and I made it! I even texted my big DVS Dicer before I called my mom. Blasted it on facebook and got so many girls responding to how excited they were. Oh man. It feels great. GREAT!

I even had my first FAST girl practice last night and I know that most girls are nervous and I had been told that some girls went home feeling like they weren’t prepared for that and are pretty down about it. But I had worked WAY to hard to feel that I didn’t deserve to be there and even though I have a lot of learning to do nothing is going to get me down.

I’m finally a fast girl. I am finally Party Poison!

Party Poison in training.

Posted: December 22, 2011 by partypoison723 in fresh meat

Nothing gives me that feeling of accomplishment as much as roller derby does.

I’ve been a “freshie” in SCRG for about 2 and a half months now and even I feel like I have come such a long way.
In the beginning I felt a pretty behind because I basically bought my skates and went to tryouts. I didn’t make it the first round (and had no right to, I knew that) and came back after taking a few beginner classes at Crystal Palace with Warren Peace and was invited back to Freshie practice.
Right away I noticed that everyone else generally knew how to skate and I was still extremely goofy footed. But even after just 2 hours of practice I could always feel how much better I had gotten. I refused to let the fact that I had the least experience get to me. It wasn’t a bad thing it was just a thing, a fact.  And soon I could hold my own with the other girls. The only things I really struggled with were crossovers, 25 in 5, and stopping (t stops and plow stops right now).
The first time I did the 25 in 5 it was more like 25 in almost 9 minutes and it was so embarrassing to finish so far behind everyone else but the the harder I worked the faster I got and I would just shave 1 whole minute off the time and then now I am down to 5 minutes and 40 seconds. That seems to be where I am stuck but I know once I nail that crossover it won’t be any trouble at all.
I finally started breaking through when Bone Eata told me to do crossovers in my shoes when I am walking. Instead of  turning a corner normally, do a crossover. So I started doing that and the next practice I finally could lift my skate and place it in front of the other. Unfortunately, this was a week before skills and I hadn’t improved my time yet so I knew that I most likely would not be passing. But I also didn’t expect to be the only one not passing. I mean there is no way that I wanted anyone else to “not pass” with me and I was so excited for everyone but I was surprisingly upset when I got in my car.
But anyway, Stella Blue (our Freshie coach) has been still having practices for me and inviting FAST girls and anyone who wants to get a good endurance practice in so I’ve been skating with different girls. DVS Dicer (who happens to be my big and also happens to be super rad) has also lead a practice or two since skills.

But today was super awesome because it was just Stella and I having a one on one practice at the Fab Lab. A few other girls were supposed to come out but ended up not making it. So I did some laps and warm ups ad Stella showed me a video tutorial and demonstrated what it went over. So I went for it and actually did and and STELLA STARTED CRYING! I didn’t believe it at first but I skated over to her and tears were literally coming down from her eyes. I was/am so so so so touched! She even posted this on facebook “Shared a GREAT one on one practice session with Claudia PartyPoison Ramirez. I’m SO PROUD of those crossovers Girl!”
Ahhhh! It makes me so happy!

Skills test, here I come!

This blogs will serve as an outlet for SCRG’s fresh meat skaters as they share their ups and downs of learning how to be a real rollergirl.

Posted: December 18, 2011 by Lisa Carr in fresh meat, roller derby