ERMAGHERD I HAD SO MUCH FUN.
This past weekend, we split up into different levels after our warm-ups . While the Level 1 girls worked on their stops, stepping and laterals, the Level 2 people did pack drills, hockey stops, and (drumroll, please) an intro to blocking.
As usual, pack skating was a lot of fun to me. I hate it and love it at the same time – there’s people yelling, people falling in front of you, stumbling on other girls’ wheels, cursing, sweating, yuck – it’s just like a fucking cesspool of humanity inside that pack. The punk kid in me eats that shit for breakfast (ew, right) so I don’t mind.
We did something called a “muffin pan” drill, which I think is something the DC Rollergirls use at practice to teach people how to move quickly and fill in holes in the pack.
If confused: imagine you’re late to work, and it’s morning rush hour on a very very busy city street filled with people rushing in the same direction. You’re like, fuck man… I gotta get to work, but there’s all these people in front of me. Well, as soon as one of those worker drones lags behind or speeds up, you’ll want to fill in the space they leave open – this will push you further and further ahead of the pack. So this is what we did, just on skates. One person would get called to the front of the pack. She then hauls ass to the front, going in and out between other girls in the pack. Then the pack hurries and fills in that hole.
The next exercise was an Avoidance drill, where everyone had to take turns falling at random times, depending on a number we received at the beginning of the drill. This shit was crazy, we looked like bowling pins falling all over each other. I didn’t jump over anyone like a bad-ass but I definitely had to use my quick stepping to get out of the way. It was kinda stressful. All in all, I think I did alright – I could start getting up way faster than I am, and I definitely need to work on my awareness. I also have to find my zen, my sense of calm, in the midst of all that fucking yelling.
After the pack skating, we worked on hockey stops. For the first time since boot camp, I’ve started consistently busting my ass, which isn’t that much of a bad thing. Every time I hit that little swerve that you have to do to execute the stop, I stud and fall on my side. It’s kinda fun. The Rollergirls broke it down step by step, and we did this drill where we put a cone (or a shoe, if you wanna be a lil’ ratchet) down and swerved around it until we got comfortable with the motion of stopping.
I looked up a bunch of hockey stop tutorial vids, but most of them were made by actual hockey players. One underlying theme in all of them is that if you press down too hard you won’t stop – you’ll just fall. Your feet, in hockey, are just supposed to be shaving the ice. I think this is why I’m falling so much in derby – it’s hard as fuck to gently but firmly push my right leg out to make the stop. But I’m getting there. One of the Rollergirls (who I have a derby crush on… I have a derby crush on like 5 different girls because how can you not?) said she could already see a difference in how I looked at the start of the lesson, and how I looked afterwards.
After that we did mf-in BLOCKING and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I got to shoulder- and hip-check two different women, and they were like dammmn… you hit good. You hear that? I hit good. It sounds funny to say, but I like saying it. And I am also now incorporating the phrase “hips-on-a-swivel” into my everyday language.
After that, guess what the fuck they made us do again? TIME TRIALS….
Ugh. It was not as much fun as last time, because I was tired and didn’t even realize we would have to do it again. But guess what else… I GOT 26 1/2 LAPS IN 5 MINUTES. BOOM.
Last week, I got 24 1/2 in 5 minutes, so I’m getting better and better with each week. I have to work my way up to 27, but just for good measure I’m gonna make it 30 (YOLO and whatever else the kids these days say… I know I’m not gonna hit 30 but if I try for 30 and end up with 28 then I’ve still beaten the WFTDA minimum).
To improve my time, I’ve been biking everywhere, trying to go for more runs, and I’ve also been doing this trick where I engage my core at all times. For instance, as I’m typing this, I’m tightening my abs… like mini-crunches or something. I have no idea if this works, but it makes me feel good and I’m noticing that my posture is changing. And I was never so aware of how mushy my stomach is until now. I want it to get hard (yes… that is what she said).
Until next week… derby love to all!