Sunday this week had something a little different. Varsity held an open scrimmage (a practice game, black vs white) with guests from Blue Mountains and Wodonga joining us for the bout. I showed up early with a couple of other Freshies and got a crash course in the various officiating roles required to run a bout. Non-Skating Officials, or NSO’s, are needed to time jams, time and track penalties, keep score and do a hundred other things to keep the event going smoothly. Between NSO’s and refs (go team Zebra!) there are about the same number of officials as there are players for a bout!
Because this was an open scrim we were going to have spectators, which meant helping set up bollards, seating and a merch stand. I grabbed myself a Varsity shirt while I was helping… I had managed to resist when I was just an audience member at their last public bout (my t-shirt drawer already overfloweth), but now that I’m a league member I figured I should be representing in style! I’m glad I did, the bout photographer got a great shot of me looking confused and chewing on my pen in the middle of the track with VARSITY blazed across my chest. New FB profile pic FTW!
For the scrim I was assigned to penalty tracking. Turns out standing in the middle of the track while the skaters go around and around and around makes you pretty dizzy! But once we got going I had to walk around a lot to ensure I caught every penalty (I didn’t, but the guy manning the whiteboard was more experienced and helped me out, plus the refs were really good about checking in between jams so I could make sure I had everything). I grabbed a copy of the WFTDA rule book because there was 9 pages worth of ref hand-signals, but of course I had no time to actually use it! It’ll take another few goes filling in all the tiny tiny boxes with all the right symbols before I feel truely confident in it, but by the second half of the bout I think I was doing OK.
I had been hanging around the gym for 4 hours by this point, but finally it was training time! Warm-up consisted of laps, lunges, side lunges, wall sit and another human obstacle course, this time with a third human hurdle. No knee-pads this time, although I still slid somewhat thanks to my stockings (and then spent the rest of the night trying to figure out why my knee was stinging, I had skinned it through my stockings *facepalm*).
For drills, we concentrated less on stops and more on falls this time, as we were in with the White Stars and Old Meat. I’m getting much better at single knee falls, one side is stronger than the other so I will have to concentrate on my ‘bad’ knee until I can do both equally well. I’m still unco as anything with double-knee falls, my timing is out and I spin as I drop.
We also did some group drills, forming walls and squares and practising skating together, keeping pace without tripping over each other. Individually we did crossovers (well, we tried anyway), laps in derby stance and sticky skating. We did a few laps in derby stance while having to hold a cone to our thigh with our elbow and I somehow had a breakthrough in slalom sticky-skating. I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I could do it despite no previous success with the method.
I should also mention that I was still hurting from Friday night training (hell, I still hurt today and it’s Wednesday). The legs I expected, the core didn’t surprise me, but even my arms were a bit twingey. Being something of a masochist, when I got up on Saturday feeling sore I decided to do some light weights to work through the DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness). It didn’t help much with the pain although it did loosen me up a little. Sunday was worse again, and holding derby stance for longer than 30 seconds at a time was seriously painful. I was also tired from several late nights (because no matter what, I seem to always wake up between 6 and 7am, even when I went to bed at 2) plus the scrim and oh gods everything just felt like an uphill battle. I had to take a few quick breaks in drills because I was getting wobbly.
We also had a game of Stuck in the Mud. Because we had so many Freshies we were skating under the outsretched arms of the stuck instead of crawling between legs, but it was great fun. I took a turn at being ‘it’ and managed to tag a lot of people, including some of the same people twice!
We finished the evening with the 5-in-1. In small groups we skated as many laps as we could in a minute… I was so close, managing 4 and 2/3! I had a wobbly start and botched a couple of apex’s, so I’m looking forward to trying again next week. Once I can actually do crossovers I should be able to fly!
Now that I’ve had my third practice on them, I’m liking the Atom Snaps a lot more. I still want to get something better, but maybe it can wait another month or so. I definitely want something with an aluminium hub and higher-quality urethane, but I’m also learning towards narrower profile (38mm).
Sunday I also revealed my derby name and got some mad props from the others. Jessica Rabid isn’t really bad, she just rolls that way!