Friday, January 14, 2011

Roller Derby: Week 2

I think that my second night of roller derby can be summed up in a few words: My everything hurts. Everything. I've been holding my pee for like four hours because it hurts too bad to walk to the bathroom, let alone squat down on the toilet. Just the thought of squatting down makes me hurt.

And yes, this is after only two hours of roller derby training, one night a week. I am so out of shape. Oh and also, I kind of stink at the basics of skating so far.

After the first week, Gina and I were totally pumped to come back. I got my own helmet and pads - I even molded a mouth guard, which I haven't done since ninth grade field hockey. We showed up last night stoked and ready to go. Here's how we started the night:
Aaaaaaaaannd here's how we ended the night:
I think the looks on our faces pretty much says it all: derby kicked our butts. Well, I can't speak for Gina because as we know, she is a master blader (giggle giggle), but derby didn't just kick my butt; derby made me its bitch.

We were taught three different ways to fall: the one-knee slide, the guitar rockstar slide, and the baseball slide - they all look exactly how they sound. Guess how many I mastered? Exactly zero.

We were taught two different ways to get a running start on your skates: tip-toe using the toe-stops, and the duck walk. Guess how many of those I mastered? Also exactly zero.

Maybe I should clarify the word "mastered". I know they don't expect us to master these skills on our first attempt. Our instructor last night, Wanton Rebellion, really stressed that point by saying, "I don't expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to try." That's what I love about this league - every single skater there is so nice and no one judges anyone else. When you fall, everyone applauds; everyone encourages each other to get back up and keep going. I don't think I could do it without that type of atmosphere.

Because here's why: I fall. A lot. It seems I have no trouble falling when I'm just skating laps, or trying to stop, or trying to learn how to cross over on the turns. I'm really good at falling all on my own. But when I tried to do the controlled falls? Yes, I still fell, but not the way I was supposed to fall. And Wanton Rebellion made them all look so easy, so simple. Everything the veterans do, they make it look easy. When I'm not picking myself up off the concrete, I'm watching the veterans, salivating in envy of their mad skillz. I gaze at them dreamily, thinking, "I want to go to there."

But back to the falling. While I now have a whole new respect for guitar players who drop to their knees and slide across the stage, I am convinced that either the stage is completely greased up, or they're wearing super soft flannel pants. Because when I tried to rockstar slide? It was more of a rockstar screeching-halt-then-upper-body-flop-forward kind of thing. When I dropped to my knees, there was no sliding happening, only abrupt, painful, hilarious stopping. Not at all what I was going for, and it wasn't long before I started to feel the pain in my knees.

Then came the baseball slide. I perked up when I saw this demonstrated, because I grew up playing softball and I thought, "Oh I GOT this, no problem! I totally know how to slide like that! Finally something I can DO!"

Well, as it turns out, baseball sliding is a hell of a lot easier on dirt, and in cleats, as opposed to on concrete and in skates. Are you as shocked by that revelation as I was? I kid you not, I was shocked when I tried to slide and instead ended up ass over teakettle, and flat on my back. I just laid there for a minute, contemplating my bruise-filled future, and getting pissed off at myself that I couldn't do it right.

When it comes to derby, I'm finding that my biggest problem isn't that I can't skate, I can't stop, I can't fall properly, etc; my biggest problem is getting mad at myself and discouraged because I can't get something right on the first try. I beat myself up for not being able to pick up the skills as easily as I thought I would, and I'm incredibly impatient because I'm not instantly gliding around and stopping with ease like the veterans.

Which is the exact point I was making to Janay this morning, when I was moaning about how I could hardly move.

Janay: Give yourself time to suck before you start to get better. Remember when we played Commando and you wore your Batman costume and you flittered across the lawn so quickly that we could hardly see you? See? You have the necessary skills.

Bone Jr: Yeah but then remember how I jumped off that wall and tripped on my Batman cape and broke my foot?

Janay: Yeah well, falling is not your strong suit.

Bone Jr: Only when it's supposed to be a controlled, planned fall. The other kind of falling is no problem for me.

And she's right - I need to be patient with myself and give myself time to get better. I need to stop yelling the f-word and getting mad at myself every time I fall or have trouble learning a new skill. There are girls there who shuffle along and biff it just like me, and they pick themselves right back up and try again. One gal landed square on her tailbone at least three times, and she got up every single time and kept going. And you know how bad it hurts to fall on your tailbone. But when I wanted to give up, I'd look at her and think, if she can do it, so can I.

So I survived the night, making it through with a couple bruised knees and legs that feel like jello and arms that hurt to lift. But, I survived and I'm looking forward to next week.


IndyGo Wylde said...

Nice! I am sorry to have missed out! That bruise is going to be lovely in a couple of days. Take a picture when it's in its full glory!

Wanton Rebellion said...

I know exactly why you'll be back next week :) Because you're TOUGH! RRR!

Remember one of the most important things in life is just as important in derby: It's not how many times you fall that matter, but how many times you get back up!

You can do this :)

(That goes for all of you Tofuti Cuties!)

LecNessMonster said...

You have really nice knees. I have the knees of a toddler.

You also need a war face.

li'l mil said...

It's 3:15 PM and I just now noticed that I have a huge rat's nest on the back of my head from sleeping last night. I haven't touched my hair all day long.

What does that have to do with roller derby? Nothing. But I think you're awesome and YOU CAN DOOO EEEET! You're built Ford tough, right? A few bruises here and there, that's just par for the course. Plus, they make you look ferocious.

Rachel said...

You are the baddest of badasses. Also, you have nice legs.

chococatania said...

Dude...I'm just checking this out for the first time, and I thought you should know - Sister Chisholm, as in Grandma Chisholm, Carol Chishom, the piano-teacher-seminary-teacher used to be A PROFESSIONAL ROLLER-DERBY-ER for the bay-city bombers back in the day.

She had a full scholarship to Julliard for piano, but she didn't think it was the right fit for her. Then, one day, there were tryouts for the Bay-City Bombers, and she went on a whim, and made the team. She traveled all around - roller-derby-ing...

Not sure if you already knew that, but thought I'd share.

Good luck in the future!