What a freakin’ day.
This Saturday, we had our assessments so the Rollergirls could determine whether we can advance to Level 2. It was interesting to go through and see what a roller derby try-out is like, and it was just as intense as I thought it would be (but I see room for even more intensity. ahhhh!).
When a derby friend and I walked in that morning, we felt like we could feel the tension coming from the rink. Everyone looked just as nervous as I felt. I don’t even remember if we did warm-ups, I was so nervous. Honestly, the whole thing was like a blur. Here’s what I do remember…
As soon as I put on my skates, I felt like three or four of my wheels wobble. I had just bought some brand new, harder indoor wheels (91a). After one of the Rollergirls was nice enough to play nurse and teach me how to push my bearings all the way in, I did gear check and then made my way to the rink for warm-ups. My skates were so much faster on these new wheels, it felt like gliding on ice. I fucking loved it. I’m kind of a speed freak (which came in handy later on… that part’s coming up) so I had a lot of fun just cruising around the turns and basically just in awe that I had been skating on such shit wheels for so long. Equipment and maintenance can make a world of difference (Lesson 1).
After doing a couple of warm-up laps, they split us into small groups and divided us up between three different stations. My first station was stops and transitions. Usually turn-arounds are my favorite (Backstory: I was skating around my house as usual and almost ran into the television… a turnaround stop saved both myself and my t.v. from an untimely demise, and ever since then I’ve loved doing them). But for some reason, whenever I tried to do my turnaround, I was wobbly. I even fucking fell. I FELL. And I was the only one. I don’t know if no one else fell because no one else tried, but this fall was pretty demoralizing to me. I tried to get up as quickly as possible, but shit… I don’t know.
The second station was jumps and weaving. I did alright in this section, but I have a huge phobia about jumping on skates so I kinda pussy-footed my way through this one. I didn’t fall, but after it was over one of the vets came up to me and she said “You need to let go. I can tell you’re holding back. You seem timid, almost rigid. We know you can do this stuff, you need to just let go and go for it.” My rigid military-style brain computed this as, “STEP FOUR: MUST LET GO AND SEEM LIKE YOU’RE HAVING FUN” which is completely against the whole concept of not thinking about things too much and letting go and having fun. Sigh. I thank this beautiful woman for telling me that because that’s something I need to do in my regular life as well.
The third station was balance and agility. I fucking SUCKED at this. My skates kept rolling no matter how much my core was “engaged”, no matter how tight I tried to clench my thighs. I just kept on rolling, to the point where I had to use my toe stops a couple of times to stop myself. I actually teared up during this station. I forced myself to hold that shit in, because I figure there’s no fucking crying in derby, you know? I’d rather puke than cry. I ended up getting through it, but it was tough.
After all 3 stations, they gathered us all together again and it was time for the dreaded 25 in 5. Now, for final tryouts, we will have to do 27 in 5 but since we’re all newbies they lowered it to 25. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was like chaos on the rink – I was pushing past bitches (they’re not really bitches, but while I’m trying to pass them they were), breathing super hard, my legs felt like wood by the end of it. I ended up getting 24 1/2 in 5 minutes, which ain’t quite there yet but not a bad effort at all.
Now, the truly most difficult part begins: the wait. I have no clue when they will let us know if we made it or not, but here it is Monday afternoon and we still don’t know. I hope I passed so I can go on to the real tryout but if I didn’t, at least I know what I need to work on. I hope the journey doesn’t end here…