Ali's Adventures

July 2, 2012

Derby highs

Filed under: Adventure,Learning,Plans,Weight loss — by Alison @ 6:27 pm

In June, I was part of the Rat City Rollergirls “Makin’ Bacon Camp”. It was four weekends of high energy practices and finished with a camp bout last Monday. I loved it.

I started in the beginner group because I’ve only been on roller skates since late April, and wasn’t sure I fit the definition of ‘novice’. The first two days we spent on basic skating drills, and practicing cross-overs. I’ve done a lot of cross-overs, so these days weren’t that challenging but staying in derby stance is hard. After the Sunday practice, my team councillor (we are at camp) asked if I wanted to move up to novice. After thinking it over for a few seconds, I decided to give it a shot. The novice group was great, we practiced positional blocking and hitting and everything was at a faster pace. I felt I held my own and didn’t seem out of place. The only thing I couldn’t do was the turn around toe stop , specifically the turning around part. Using toe stops also seems very foreign to me, I never used picks on my skates and usually owned hockey skates growing up. In speed skating I had a hard time with starts and getting up to speed quickly because you’re supposed to use your toes.

The last Saturday of camp we scrimmaged in preparation for our bout. We all took turns being the jammer (the one who scores points) and blockers. It was fun, but when I was jamming I held back on going after the weak spots for the blockers because I didn’t want to cause anyone to fall. There was a lot to learn. Actually playing the game is very different from doing drills. At one point, I was in a blocker wall in front of the other team and one of the coaches yelled at us to “Hit someone, make space for your jammer”. We all looked at each other, I may have asked “How” and then we very illegally skated into the other team. After the coach had finished laughing at us, and we’d finished laughing at ourselves, she showed us how to properly play defense from the front of the pack.

That Saturday night, i went to my first live Roller Derby bout. There were two games, one with the Rat City Rain of Terror and then the All-Stars. We all had a blast. E enjoyed me pointing out the players I “knew” from the camp, and cheering for the Jammers. The All-Star game was very close at the end, and penalties played a big role. Unfortunately, the All-Star team lost by 5 points, after being down by as many as 50. The kids didn’t want to leave the game, so we stayed until the very end. The crowd was so into it, and the energy was amazing. The athleticism and strategy that go into the game was great to see.

Before our scrimmage on Monday, I was extremely nervous. Luckily, so were a few of my teammates and derby buddies. Our team, “Green Army”, was in the second game of the round robin tournament. We were up against the Black team. It was a close game, but in the last jam their Jammer was sent to the box so we were in a Power Jam situation and our wonderful Jammer managed to score 15 points to win the game. I don’t remember most of the details. I didn’t jam that game but only because I forgot to speak up and ask our Team Leader for my turn. It was so much fun being on the track, and we were really hitting our stride as a team.

In the second bout against the Blue Team, I got to be Jammer right away. The blue Jammer made it through the pack before me and was Lead Jammer, but I managed to catch up to her and she had to call off the jam so I wouldn’t score points. I was really pleased. The rest of the game also went really well, and I jammed a few times. We won that game as well.

In our final game against the Red team, I had my most embarrassing moment. I was late getting to the starting line as a Blocker, and fell out-of-bounds when the referee blew the whistle to start. This meant I had to return to the bench and my team was a player short for the whole Jam. I had another good Jam, which balanced it out. Our team ended undefeated, and they decided not to play the championship game. Go Green Army!

I wasn’t ready to stop playing, so after consulting my team, I volunteered to play with the Black team in the bout against Blue for 2nd place. It was a lot of fun. I was the Jammer for the last jam, and although we were down by about 20 points, I made the final score respectable. We were in a power jam situation for a full minute, which was fun but tiring. After I called the jam, I fell on the floor I was so worn out. One of the greatest compliments I got was from The Neutrino (a league player). She said “I liked it because you listened when I told you where to go” 🙂 It was hard to move to the spaces she created, but I had tried. Nice to have seen it recognized.

After de-gearing and celebrating with ice cream, we all started talking about tryouts. I was still on the fence, based on my inability to turn around. Then the Camp coordinator and current All-Star team member told me she was hoping I would try out, and that she had been very impressed with me during the games. With this confidence boost, I decided to go for it.

More on try-outs soon.

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