Friday, November 13, 2009

The Girl in the Green Shirt

Last night I did something way out of my comfort zone. I got this silly notion in my head that I should try out for a roller derby team. Because, you know, I haven't been on roller skates in over 15 years. And really? How hard could it be?

So, I drove myself to the tryouts and loaded myself up with gear and did my best not to break something. The following is a run down of the tryouts, in list form of course, which I sent a couple of friends today.

  1. Oh.My.God the pain. THE PAIN.
  2. Over three HOURS of skating is too much when you haven't skated in at least 15 years. WAY too much.
  3. It is totally hard core. We not only skated in a nice oval around the track where I recalled that I am afraid of crossovers (what real skaters do around the corners which entails picking up on of your feet while the other sort of glides out from under you) we also had to jump on our skates, hop from foot to foot, skate on one foot, push people and be pushed from behind, do hip whips and have people whip off of us, skate backwards, walk on the toe stops of our skates, do a T stop, a plow stop, a one knee stop and a two knee stop. I'm a big fan of the knee stops. They were about the only things I could do right.
  4. Let me repeat, THE PAIN.
  5. I was one of the last 3 people to have our skills test (as in "the girl in the green shirt hasn't gone yet"). Yes, a test! Test started at about 10:15 or so. After being on my skates since about 7:20. My legs were beyond rubber by then. Nice.
  6. We also had a one on one interview. Mine was with Black Cherry. She was sweet and also from upstate NY. She told me that a lot of the girls in the league are knitters. She crochets. If she ever moves back to where her family is she will join the team they played last weekend.
  7. The men's derby team is called the Death Quads. Some of them were there helping out as were some of the refs. Major N' fraction was there (we saw him at the bout we went to last weekend.
  8. All the Roller Girls were nice. They did a lot of coaching while we were "learning" all those skills from #3 above. I apparently skate standing up far to straight/upright (skating and walking are NOT the same, who knew?). They worked on "derby stance" with me. A lot. Derby stance hurts.
  9. Imagine you are doing squats for 3 hours. Now imagine doing them while on wheels and skating in an oval surrounded by people who are doing such things as grabbing you from behind while whipping off your or pushing you forward. That is derby stance.
  10. I was not the first to fall. After the first person fell I felt as though I could fall as much as I wanted.
  11. I fell a lot.
  12. I managed to bruise the ring finger of my left hand (under the ring I always wear) on the back side of my hand. I did not notice until I was in the shower this morning. Comparatively, it doesn't hurt.
  13. During one lovely and less than graceful fall there was a tearing sensation in an area where there should NEVER be a tearing sensation. It does not seem to be a problem today.
  14. Have I mentioned THE PAIN?
  15. We were skating for at least 2 hours before we were given our first water break.
  16. There were women skating in jeans.
  17. We were in full gear: skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmets and mouth guards. Women were wearing jeans.
  18. I was dripping sweat in my shorts and t-shirt. The women in jeans? Barely breaking a sweat.
  19. I was not the oldest person there. There was a woman in her late 40s, maybe even 50 who started out. I did not see her again after the first 30 minutes or so. I do not blame her for just leaving. I will freely admit that I almost just up and left also. I had a long conversation with myself about it. I stayed.
  20. I am glad I went.
  21. There were like 27 people there trying out. One guy (trying out for ref position maybe?) was in a kilt. Thankfully if he fell I didn't see. I hope he had something on underneath the kilt. Guy in the kilt tripped me at one point. He skated away and didn't even look to see if his trip had hurt me at all. Good think I wasn't left in a crumpled heap.
  22. If we all passed our skills test and our interview we all make the team. There are no max or minimum team sizes.
  23. I don't think I'll play if I make the team. (addendum to the list, I did not make the team. I am absolutely okay with that.)
  24. Why did I not consider that my thighs would BURN? Why was I only concerned with breaking my wrist or ankle or bruising my butt? Those seem like far less likely occurences than the extreme thigh muscle burn. Rubbery thigh muscle burn is awesome.
  25. I got to hear a lovely story about one of their last rookies breaking her femur in three places during what looked like an innocent fall at practice. They were all sort of milling about and down she went. She was apparently nursing twins and didn't bother to tell them. Femur. Three places.
  26. They had to ask if I was nursing because of this woman. Um, no. No, I'm not.
  27. I am not nearly tattooed enough for the derby. Of course the full chest tattoo one of the girls has plus the sleeves probably offsets my complete lack of tattoos.
  28. Rental skates suck.
  29. Good skaters make it look sooooooooo easy.
  30. It is not sooooooo easy.
  31. One of the Death Quads who was an instructor in my little break out group kept giving me looks. I couldn't tell if they were "what the hell is she doing here" looks or "I feel so bad for her" looks of just plain looks of pity. He, unintentionally I'm sure, made me feel rather embarrassed and ashamed. Maybe he was just concerned for my well being. Maybe my perception was off due to the burning in my legs and lower back and the sweat dripping in my eyes.
  32. I think those are the highlights.
  33. Did I mention the pain? Sleeping last night was wicked difficult and that was after I took two extra strength fast acting Advil. I can't tell if the Advil I took this morning helped at all.
  34. They said the pain will be worse the second day after. Looking so forward to tomorrow morning. At least it's Saturday.
  35. When I asked in my initial e-mail about what they were looking for and what was entailed in tryouts I was told that they would mostly be looking at our balance. Um, I think there's a teeny tiny bit more that they left out. Just sayin'.
  36. I have a new found appreciation for just how hard these ladies work. And just how hard they worked during the bout we watched even though they made it look relatively easy. It is very much not easy.
  37. And that my friends is "Jess auditions for the roll of blocker" in a not so small nutshell. My comfy couch seems far more my speed after having been through the ordeal of last night. Perhaps I should just buy a treadmill and call it good. Or find a nice pickup basketball game now and then. Something that doesn't involve a ton of squatting with wheels strapped to your feet.......
There are no lyrics for this post. Sorry. Just extreme admiration for the women (and men) that play roller derby. These women are true athletes and I heartily applaud them. Brava ladies, you are rock stars.

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