How To Start The Year Off Well.

First scrimmage of the year tonight! First scrimmage in over a month after only one training session back, actually.

Let’s be up-front: there were a lot of things I did wrong, many of which I’m probably not even aware of. Especially using the new rules set with refs-in-training, it was messy all over.

But I did some awesome stuff too.  I hit one of the travel team girls and she went down. That made me grin! Later I my hand up to jam one more time to challenge myself (it’s not my strength.) Everyone was still sorting themselves out into positions. I heard the jam start whistle when nobody else had and just went hoppity-skip straight through the whole pack before anyone had even noticed! Lead jammer pride moment deluxe! As I sped around the track I stuck out my tongue and gave the double metal horns to my bench coach. What a great feeling.  I managed to get through one scoring pass but so did the other jammer, so I called it off. I am also a little proud of the fact that I remembered that I was lead and could do that. Sometimes I have a brainfart and forget such very important things! 

Tonight’s scrimmage was one of the good ones.  I didn’t cry. I didn’t even feel like crying. I did feel like vomiting after jamming each time but I didn’t feel overwhelmed or terrified or as if I were being sat on by a giant Fail Whale at any point, even when I jammed. It was a safe space for me to work on my weaknesses.

Even having passed my purple star (this is bouting level and means I can play for real with big hard hits and terrifying intensity,) I have still felt like a new yellow – each time going out there thinking ‘Don’t hit me too hard, I’m new at this.’ Tonight we had two brand new yellows out there. Having that comparison of where I’ve come from, and having them look to me for guidance, made me realise once more how far I’ve come. I’m not a new yellow. I’m a purple. Sure, I’m a new purple and I still have a lot of work to do. But I’ll get there.

How My First Public Scrimmage Went

Yesterday at a boot camp run by Demanda Riot from the USA, I wanted to cry several times. I told myself and my friend who felt the same that we would wait until afterwards and then we could cry it out together. By the time we got to the end we’d forgotten about it.

Tonight I wanted to to cry from joy when I saw my friends after my first family & friends scrimmage, playing with another league to make up numbers. Neither of my parents were there, so having half a dozen friends there to cheer me on (regardless of how much the understand the sport,) meant the world.

The way I felt skating in this amber-level scrimmage tonight just reconfirmed everything I love about this sport. Yesterday I may have been feeling inadequate and useless, this morning I may have been questioning the pros and cons while inspecting my zombie-bruise leg and dalmatian-bruise shoulder, but tonight I feel positive. There IS a reason I do this. Tonight, a group of women who love roller derby got together and were oh so grateful for the opportunity to scrimmage together, and to be able to proudly show their friends and family what they’ve fallen in love with, and what they’ve been working so hard to achieve.

I was nervous upon getting there and seeing the rink packed full of spectators, but that only lasted for a few minutes before I got excited. Once I got out on the track to warm up and they were playing amazing tunes, I was so blissfully happy in anticipation that I felt comfortable and present. I had two of my friends from my league there with me in the thick of it.  I felt powerful (though not when I jammed and got stuck stuck STUCK behind a wall,) I felt resilient when I was knocked down but kept getting up, I felt calm and controlled when I was a focussed, communicative pivot (even though the opposing jammer got out of the box without us noticing that time and skated right past us.)

THIS is why I love playing roller derby. Yeah, there’s a heck of a lot of skills I need to improve upon. Yeah, I feel like shit sometimes when I can’t get something right. But I will get it. No matter how long it takes, I will get it. Playing at this level constantly makes me proud of how far I’ve come and what I do manage to do well in the moment, and it gives me goals for improvement. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity not only to do that but to show my friends how hard I’ve worked for almost two years, to get to where I am. Onwards and upwards!