I got a little cocky. Maybe bouting four weekends in a row wore me out. Or maybe I just got out of shape. Whatever it was, our bout against the Minnesota Rollergirls was not my finest.
All week I went through panicky fits of confidence and anxiety. I tried to reassure myself to just play roller derby like I normally do, and everything will be fine. I had seen them play on DNN, I had felt their hits at their boot camp, and we played out all the possible strategies they might use against us. We seemed to be completely prepared.
Our team warm-up happened as the audience started filling the Marriott, and we were feeling pretty solid. Next was equipment check and the nervous-standing-around-time as we waited for the bout to start. I looked over and saw Bat R was intensely messing with one of GLAD’s skates, it looked sucky. Wobbling around on my own skates something felt weird. I thought it was usual bout day paranoia but under further inspection I saw I was missing one of the nuts that holds my boot to my skate. Fuck. Apparently GLAD was having the same problem and Bat R was busy helping her. I ran over to Lukan, who was NSOing that night, hoping maybe he had extra hardware. He didn’t, but generously handed his own skate over for me to steal from. A few people helped me as I frantically tried to get the issue solved, but the announcers started warming the crowd, and I started freaking out. MNRG started their intros and it was obvious I wasn’t going to have enough time to fix this. Now I would be skating with faulty gear, but it was just unfortunate timing and I would have to deal. I jumped on the track just in time for our intro, but I stared at the floor the whole time.
They jammed L’exi Cuter and Medusa first, two of their all-star jammers, and we held them pretty close at 4 to 1. It was obviously going to be a battle but I felt we could hold our own. I took the line against Jax Kvass, better known to me as the Frau, and managed to get lead. As I came around the track MNRG was speeding away, using strategy we precisely anticipated. I finally caught up to them but they were still successfully booty blocking me. I managed to squeeze my hips forward and called it off. One point. I blocked and then jammed again, getting lead and only stealing two points before calling it off.
The next time I took the line was the worst two minutes of my derby life. I battled through the pack on my initial, and just as I was seeing daylight, they sucked me back in. Veudoo Prodigy is a tiny beast on the track and she was all over me. She is the quickest person I’ve seen knock a player out and run twenty feet backwards. I was already exhausted as she did this to me, so I think I stepped back in front of her, losing the ability to gain lead. Frau had exited the pack and evidently didn’t gain lead either. This was a battle with no exit strategy. After I finally got out of the pack, I re-entered for a similar beating. I tried my best to avoid hits by Veudoo, and during one of my signature “don’t fucking touch me” moves, she missed my body but knocked my feet out from under me. After nearly face-planting on the track, I peeled myself up and felt every ounce of energy I had leave my body. I tried to press on but could barely skate forward, let alone juke hits, and kept getting taken out on every turn. I managed to push through one scoring pass and as I was celebrating a silent victory, I got knocked back into the pack. It felt like ten minutes had gone by and I just wanted to give up. Four whistles finally ended my pathetic show and I fell in a sad heap behind our bench.
|Tyna protecting me as I hid.|
Bat R had called a time out to regroup but I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t face them, or look at the crowd, or even feel my legs. I was embarrassed and ashamed because the only thought in my head was to quit. Tynamite consoled me, and asked if I wanted to hide in the ambulance, probably thinking I was hurt from my fall. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just hide. I sat up and tried to pull myself together. I wasn’t hurt, but maybe just my pride.
I sat and watched for a bit before I let Tyna put me back in as a blocker. I finally jammed once more before the first period was over, getting lead and promptly calling it off. So determined not to repeat the last jam, I didn't even realize their jammer was in the box. GLAD was getting a little beat up, but still managed to snag some points. Opehlia Fracture seemed to have found my Twinkle Toes power as she jumped and juked their hits. She scored 20 of our 30 points to their 77 as we stopped at the half.
We were only down by 47, a situation that we had found ourselves in a couple weeks prior, so we knew we weren’t done yet. I managed to crawl back out of my head for the second half, but I wasn’t all there. The rest of the bout is kind of a blur. We scored fewer points but managed some decent defense. It ended at 220 to 56. They were just. so. good.
That bout was definitely a wake up call. I was in pretty good shape at beginning of the year, with the roller derby workout, but that ended once I got busy with bouting season. We also used to work a lot more on our endurance in practice, but with so many bouts back to back, we spent more time on strategy and pack work. We weren’t terrible against them by any means, but there are definitely areas of improvement.
I personally plan on taking advantage of our break in bouting, and really get back into shape. Practicing for 6 hours a week is not enough. If anyone is truly serious about roller derby, it takes an independent effort to train and improve. Some people run. Some people do hot yoga. Some people get up at to go to a 10 week body sculpting program. Whatever it is that keeps you motivated to workout outside of practice, you’ve got to find it.
I had originally planned on trying out for Team
since they were holding a preliminary at the Waterloo bootcamp, but I think I’ve changed my mind. USA gave me all the feedback I need to realize I’m not ready yet, plus I need to direct any extra funds towards Rollercon. It’s going to be a busy and exciting summer, and I’m especially looking forward to watching the fresh meat grow. Minnesota