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Last week’s practice was a lot of fun, but I ended up being an hour late because of life in general and extreme March on Washington traffic near my house. I love MLK but I was pretty fucking mad. Epic road rage happened. And then I felt guilty because you know… it’s MLK. But whatever.

By the time I showed up to practice, everybody was all split up into their levels. My group, Level 2, was off-track doing some kind of partner pushes or foot drills… I don’t even know. I absolutely hated being late because it meant I was behind and didn’t really get a chance to warm-up. I properly cussed myself out until I felt even worse, and then resolved to catching up with the rest of the group.

The first drill we did was in groups of 4, and one of us had to hit the other 3 girls while skating around the track. I quickly noted that this would be my first time hitting someone while rolling at a moderate pace, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it out loud. Inside I was like, “HOLY FUCK OMG I’M GONNA DIE.”

Getting hit sucks. It knocks you off balance, and most people either take it and keep rolling, or they get splayed on the track like roadkill. But not yours truly – for some reason, my willpower to not fall is so fucking strong that my crazy ass will sit there and wobble on my skates for however long it takes to stabilize myself. I already know – without even knowing much about strategy or gameplay – that this is not a good look. I think it’s an old habit from cheerleading, when I was one of the little ones that got thrown in the air – when feeling wobbly, you just fucking wobble. You don’t fall, no matter what.

But in derby, it’s good to fall. This week, I’m going to work on just letting myself fall, even if it hurts. I’m not trying to break my ankle wobbling around like some dork.

Anyway, after that drill we went on to something called the sit and sweep paceline. One of us would pretend to be a “bad jammer” and get all up on the ass of the “blocker” in front of us (because I’m a little gay, this was more fun than it should have been). Then another “blocker” would skate up and hit the “bad jammer” out of bounds. We just did this choreographed sit and sweep over and over, rotating positions.

The hardest thing about this paceline was the motherfuggin plow stop that we had to do first, which wasn’t even a part of what we were supposed to be learning but was a must in order to execute the drill. It is so fucking hard for me to plow on the whistle. One of my favorite rollergirls always has little tips and stuff for us newbies, and she said to do quick feet in order to help stop the rolling when trying to plow quickly. I don’t even know if I explained that right, but I’m gonna do that shit at the rink tonight. HELL YEAH!! (I’ve been eating a lot of sugar today so that explains the hype… the crash will be bad).

We also did partner-hitting. I paired up with another girl that was 4’11 and omg it was so much fun (and easier) to hit someone my own size! But for the next drill they made us partner with different people, and I got a real big one. She kicked my ass a little, but I returned the favor. Yay derby love!

After that, we did the dreaded hockey stops that are getting to be a little less dreadful with every passing week. I have to work on turning my inside foot before hitting the swerve motion, and bending my knees more. Apparently, I’ve been sticking my ass out and straightening my legs in some weird defense mechanism motion that I’m sure looks really funny.

And now, for the fun part!! We played some awesome game called Blood & Thunder, which is basically like a hip check free-for-all. We raced around the track hitting each other, and if you fell or got knocked out of bounds, you had to turtle up on the track and be an obstacle for all the people left hitting it out. I never won, but at one point I was one of like 3 or 4 girls left and I could hear people yelling my name, telling me to hit, go or whatever. It felt nice and empowering, but then all of a sudden I heard, “DON’T RUN AWAY! STOP RUNNING AWAY! YOU GOTTA HIT HER OR GET HIT!” I turned around and realized I was just lapping this girl instead of playing the game (lol) – this all goes back to my fear of taking a real hit and just falling. I ended up skating out of bounds on my own, and getting myself out. On the bright side, I skate like a bat out of hell when I’m scared, haha.

Eventually, the vets played their own game and it was a lot of fun to watch them. It was also really helpful… derby just keeps getting more and more fun.

So, with all that being said….

The Good: According to the feedback I’ve received, I’ve done a good job putting my foot in front of the opposing skater and then hitting her backwards. I also skate real fast, and this impresses… me. I don’t know if anyone else notices or if I’m even going all that fast, lol.

The Bad: I’m fucking slow when we’re actually hitting! I have to work on hitting on the whistle during these drills and not 10 seconds later. I also just have to practice more in general, because…. because. I’ve been skating every day and it helps a lot.

The Ugly: This weekend my plan is to learn how to take a hit and fall if that’s what’s natural. I should focus on quickly recovering – not doing whatever it takes to stay upright (including wobbling around for 5 minutes).

As always, feel free to leave a note or comment!

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