Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roller Derby: Week Twelve

I cannot believe it's been twelve weeks already - my first session of derby is almost over! Our official blooper reel scrimmage is on Saturday. As in, four days from now. As in, holy crap, I'm nowhere near ready and what was I thinking when I agreed to this? Last Thursday was our first practice scrimmage with real refs and officials - they had stopwatches, whistles, a whiteboard to keep track of our penalties, and really loud voices. I think the whiteboard is what intimidated me the most. We had to have shirts with our names and numbers on them, and because I'm so crafty, here's what I created: I thought I looked pretty bad ass, until the refs kept calling me "Thirty-six-zero-zero". I wanted to yell at them that they were totally missing my point, but I was too busy trying to figure out why they were blowing their whistles and pointing at me in the first place. I now know that when they scream your number and point at you, you shouldn't stare blankly at them and continue skating; you should just go right to the penalty box. That's helpful to know.

Having the refs, officials, and a handful of veteran skaters there was really overwhelming and intimidating. Having my sister and four other friends from college there was even more intimidating. The Other Sisters (Bone Senior, Erin, Barbie, Andi, and Gloriana) were in town for a girls weekend, and they came to support my cause, also known as Please Help Me Prove to the Red Rockettes That I Really Do Have Friends in Real Life. I was so excited to have them there, but it totally shook me up because I wanted so badly to be good. I wanted to dart around the track, doing crossovers and knocking people over - instead I teetered through the pack, mostly keeping my head down and trying to stick to the inside line. I did so well at sticking to the inside line, that later on Bone Senior asked me, "Are you allowed move around the track? Or are you supposed to stay in the same spot the whole time?" Fail.

Besides trying to keep up with the refs and rules, there were some vets there that completely schooled us. One girl, who we referred to as "No Pants" (but if I had a butt like her, I'd wear no pants too) (and she wasn't really wearing NO pants; she just had teeny little booty shorts) was unstoppable, except by our Fresh Meat Mamas. She was all over the place, getting her no-pants-booty in everyone's face, stopping on a dime, running on her skates. I'm still trying to get the hang of stopping, let alone RUNNING. She was amazing, she was on the other team, and she was crushing us.

Then there was Pushy (who's name I always say in my head with a Sean Connery accent. Try it. Pushy. Isn't that fun?). She's a vet that I haven't skated with before, she was on my team, and she totally kicked my butt. When Pushy and No Pants were out at the same time, it was pretty much them duking it out in front, and the rest of us trying to stay together in a pack. I was trying really hard to keep up and figure out what I should be doing, and I thought I was doing okay until Pushy called me over on the sideline and we had a moment like unto this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPqYnC-SW5w&feature=player_detailpage

Ok it really wasn't that bad, but in my head, that's how I felt. And Pushy had every right to make sure I knew which team I was on, because I sure wasn't skating like I knew which team I was on. Apparently she was yelling directions at me on the track, but I was too busy sucking up the drool from my mouthguard and staring blankly at the refs to notice that she was actually trying to teach us.

Needless to say, after a few rounds, our team was pretty discouraged - and we have some really amazing skaters. Phoenix is one incredible jammer who looks like she's been doing derby for years, but she really gets down on herself. Blue is another girl who takes a beating and just gets right back up and keeps skating. Some of her falls made me wince just watching them, but she got up every single time. Lisa always has a smile on her face, even when she fell and someone skated over her fingers. Someone SKATED. Over her FINGERS. And she didn't even wince. Then there's me, who gets the what-for ONE TIME and I just about had a meltdown.

During the break, I skated over to the bleachers and said to Bone Senior, "Please don't let me cry in front of all these girls!" I was feeling so discouraged, so worthless to my team, we were losing by like five hundred points, and I just wanted to give up. I could feel my lower lip trembling and the lump in my throat was burning - I clenched down on my mouthguard as hard as I could to try and stop the tears from coming.

I took some deep breaths just as England and Manna skated over to me, and I was blinking furiously, trying to convince myself that I could convince them that pffffft of course I'm not crying, I'm just doing my overly-blinky Hugh Grant impression. Just like when I stumble on the track during warm-ups, and I try to convince everyone that there's a pebble or debris on the floor, not that I'm just skating out of control. Sometimes I even stop and go back to the spot where I stumbled and scour the ground, searching for the trip hazard, both warning and saving other skaters from peril. I make sure everyone knows, "THERE'S SOMETHING ON THE TRACK HERE! WATCH OUT!"

England and Manna asked how I was doing - I think they politely ignored the obvious fact that there were tears welling up in my eyes - and they gave me a pep talk. They told me not to get discouraged, that the first scrimmage always the hardest, and they assured me that I was not the top spinning out of control that I imagined myself to be. These girls are really my heroes - they are so encouraging, patient, and reassuring. Wanton will not let you give up - she forces you to just try. England is so good about breaking things down so that we can understand. Manna cracks jokes to make me feel less inept and to remind me that we are there to have fun. I look at the Fresh Meat Mamas as this unattainable goal - I want to be them out on the track, and they make me believe that someday, I can.

Today is not that day, and Saturday won't be that day either; but for now, I've finished my first session of Roller Derby, and I'm going to keep at it. I'm going to keep trying to force the Red Rockettes to be my BFF's and I'm going to keep trying to get a butt like England and No Pants. Andrea (my co-lover of all things unicorn) says it best in her blog and sums up all of the reasons why I love skating with this group.

Wish me luck for Saturday's scrimmage...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get Boned, You Know You Want To

Sometimes I get comments on my blog from "Anonymous". They're usually completely ridiculous and written in wing-dings, and they get promptly deleted. But every once in a while, a traysured comment comes through from a complete stranger, and it just warms my heart on so many levels. I'll get back to this, but it brings me to another traysured moment that I recently experienced.

Let's start with the fact that I am a shameless blog-stalker. One blog leads to another, leads to another, and then I'm hooked reading about people that I have never met, and completely wrapped up in their lives, thousands of miles away. I know they're real people, but it's more like they're "real blog people", in that I will most likely never meet them for realz. They exist on a totally different level of reality.

My blog world and my real world seldom crossed paths. Until one night, I was standing in the movie theater lobby and I spotted someone standing in line. I squinted and scrutinized: sassy chic hair, check; super cute trendy winter coat, check; pregnant belly, check...could it really be? Was this the actual human manifestation of a gal I'd been blog stalking for like five years?

Once she stepped out of line, I totally accosted her (much like I did to the Situation at the AMAs) (yes I'm still shameless), and I ran up to her and totally weirded her out by saying, "Hi...um...I know this will sound totally stalkerish...but...are you Cicada Song? THE Cicada Song?"

There was a moment of pause in which my heart literally froze and I felt terrified that I'd just bumrushed a complete stranger and who would now ask security to escort me out. But instead, this genuine hero of mine responded with, "Are YOU Bone Junior? Can I hug you?!?"

My jaw hit the floor and I gave her a huge hug while I gushed about how much I loved her blog, that I'd been stalking her for like five years, and how amazing it was to discover that she's actually a REAL person. And to top it all off? SHE KNEW WHO I WAS TOO! It was the closest I've ever felt to being a celebrity. I felt incredibly special. This gal, who I followed from late 20's singlehood, to dating, to marriage, and babies and success, whom I idolize and inspires me? She knew my name. Nothing is cooler than that.

Which brings me back to comments. I recently got one from a total stranger, and it actually wasn't in wing dings or trying to sell me weiner enhancements!

Bone Junior, I have a dream of breaking my assbones and bruising my shins. Well actually I have done both of these things...several times in fact. But not on skates! Would you have any information for would-be derby noobs like me in the Utah county area? I have no illusions of being any good at this and am quite certain my future in the derby world amounts to a grease spot on the bottom of someone's skate, but like my brief and spectacularly unsuccessful career as a day care lunch lady, it's something I have to try at least once. -Cyndi

Well Cyndi, I'm glad you asked! I know I've posted this about a bazillion times on Facebook, but apparently there are blog people who want to be in the know about roller derby! So here goes my shameless plug for the Red Rockettes, straight from our fearless leader, England's Glory:

The Red Rockettes Recreational Roller Derby League will start their third 12-week session on Thursday, April 7th. The league is Salt Lake's newest and puts the emphasis on fitness, health and developing supportive female friendships through the game of roller derby. Full training will be given for all abilities. The group will be broken into two groups for half of the night according to whether skaters are beginner or veteran. The league aims to be a place where beginners can learn the sport of roller derby (as all minimum skills will be taught) and veterans can improve their skating and scrimmaging skills.

The course will run every Thursday evening at the Derby Depot (WRD warehouse) which is located at 1415 S. 700 W. #17. We practice from 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM. The course runs for 12 weeks and costs $60. Skaters need to provide all equipment, skates, helmet, knee, elbow, wrist pads, and mouth guard. WFTDA insurance is required and costs $50 per year.

We often get asked about where to get equipment, there are many options out there. If you feel that derby is going to be a long term interest I would recommend buying good quality skates ($200+). If you have limited funds you can also get 'rookie packages' from most online stores (they come with pretty basic skates which you may need to upgrade later). They run at about $200 for everything you need. Try sincityskates.com and lowpriceskates.com. Locally Hollywood Connection has some skates, wheels, pads etc. Skate Now at 2682 S. Highland Dr. STE 104. can special order skates. In Ogden, the Flat Track Skate Shack 1805 W. 1950 S. West Haven, is a derby specialist shop.

Please contact
redrockettes@rocketmail.com or on Facebook at Red Rockettes.

And make sure you say you want to get Boned. Trust me, you do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roller Derby: Week 10 Festivities; or, How Come My Face Never Looks Normal

This week was full of derby fun, besides just scrimmaging on Thursday night. I can't believe we're almost done this session - only two more practices before the big scrimmage. I'm still debating if I'm ready to have people from my "real life" see me floundering around the track.

The weekend started with an Irish crafting party to get ready for the St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday. About half a dozen Red Rockettes got together to make flags, posters and decorations.
I brought gigantic glasses from the dollar store. As I would soon come to find out, this was the most normal picture taken of me from the weekend: Saturday morning was the parade, and we had a blast. I opted to walk and not skate, given that I have a hard enough time staying up on flat, smooth concrete, let alone bumpy, hilly, cobble-stoney streets. There were about six of us on foot, and the rest on skates. We had a great turnout, and even had our own photographers. Two Rockette's have significant others who come to practices and events, and they take awesome pictures. The memories we are making are forever captured.

Which brings me to my point: how come my face never looks normal? Let's see a few examples of what a derby girl should look like in pictures, or as I like to call it, "Derby Done Right":

Look at them. Gorgeous, smiling, awesome makeup, awesome clothes and decor. I love these pictures and I love these girls. That's the way it should look.

Then there's me. Brace yourselves, folks, cause it's about to get the opposite of photogenic, or as I like to call it, "Bone Done Wrong":
Exhibit A: There's me, behind England's antennae / helmet flag. I should've taken a lesson from this and held a flag in front of my face for the whole parade; but then I wouldn't have these gems to share with you.

Exhibit B: There's me, making a stupid face in the background.
Exhibit C: Here I am again, doing who knows what. I'll tell you what I'm not doing: watching where I'm walking to avoid the upcoming horse poop, that's what.

Exhibit D: Here I am once again, making a stupid face.

Exhibit F: This is such an awesome picture of England going down the hill - look how much fun she's having! Look at her amazing stance! And then there's me in the back, running down the hill. Running. Nothing good ever came of the words "Bone Junior" and "running" in the same sentence.
Exhibit G: I don't even have any words for this one.

Exhibit H: And I don't have any excuse for this one. I knew the picture was being taken, I had the chance to pose and prepare myself, and this is what I chose to do.

And I rest my case.

Based on these pictures, I have been able to make the following assumptions:

A) I pretty much never stop talking, as most of these shots are mid-talking. At least I hope they are, otherwise I have no idea how or why my mouth looks like that;

B) I need to learn to be aware of when my picture is being taken;

C) I am extremely lucky to be part of a group that allows me to show my true colors.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Roller Derby: Week 9

Roller Derby Week 9, also known as Bone Goes Bowling for Deidra, also known as Bone Does the Splits and Breaks Summer's toe-stop in the process, also known as The Red Rockettes Get Boned by Bone Junior.

This week's practice was one of the most fun I've had. I got to scrimmage for the first time - I even got to be the jammer once, also known as Bone Nearly Had An Asthma Attack Trying to Keep Up With the Pack and She Doesn't Even Have Asthma. I have never been so out of breath as I was when I was jamming. The only time I actually made it through the pack was when Manna and Babe each grabbed one of my hands and sling-shotted me forward. Talk about a top spinning out of control? That was me.

Speaking of out of control, that could be the phrase that described my entire night at derby. And unfortunately for the Rockettes, they suffered the brunt of that. Let's start with Summer. Poor Summer got paired up with me for a blocking/jamming drill. We made it around the track twice before my skates tangled with hers, and the next thing I knew, I was doing the splits and Summer's toe stop went flying. It looked like I'd been ripped right up the middle, but amazingly enough, I didn't get hurt. Summer had to sit out for a few minutes to fix her skate because did I mention that her toe stop went flying?

Next we got matched up for 2-on-1 blocking/jamming drills. This infamous moment has become known as Bone Goes Bowling for Deidra, because that's exactly what happened. Picture me as the bowling ball, and poor Deidra as the unsuspecting, bystanding bowling pin. She was just standing in line, minding her own business, waiting for her turn to drill. Two laps around the track, a few tangled skates later, and Deidra went down; completely taken out by an out-of-control me. Lucky for us, the paparazzi was able to get a few shots of this exact moment.(We're lucky to have derby husbands that come along with awesome cameras.)
In case you couldn't tell, that's me in the black helmet, baseball sliding into Deidra, in the pink helmet. Amazingly enough, we both got right up, laughing and unscathed. Well, mostly unscathed.That's my elbow, the morning after I became a human bowling ball. It looks a lot worse than it feels, and we were all able to laugh about it. I even deemed a new catch phrase for every time I hit, block, knock over, or otherwise maim another derby girl: "You've been Boned!" More often than not, I'm Boning myself. And yes, I intended for it to sound that way.

Between Boning everyone, I was really have a blast, and gained an even greater appreciation for the other girls I have the privilege of skating with. These girls never cease to amaze me. I spend a lot of time just watching them with my jaw hanging open, hoping and praying that someday I'll be as bad ass as they are. They can stop on a dime, cut from side to side, block girls twice their size, and jam past girls half their size. I love that we are a team of all shapes, sizes, professions - we are all so different, but there's not a girl on this team that doesn't yell and cheer for everyone else. I love that in every picture, we're all smiling and laughing and loving what we're trying to do. And there's not a girl on the team that doesn't inspire, encourage, and push me to do better.

Me and Indy practicing blocking and jamming.

Me and G practicing hitting.

Me practicing how to get a butt like England's - my true inspiration.