Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roller Derby

Dixie Derby Girls is the local roller derby league located in Huntsville.  I can't remember how I first heard about them, but I've been following their FB page for a couple years.  We have talked about going to see them, but it's never panned out.

The idea of this sport excites me...speed, aggression, use of balance and hand/eye coordination, strong team there's a certain amount of bad assery attached to it.  Women empowerment.  Stick it to the man and all that.
Every year, they recruit for their Fresh Meat Program.  I wanted to do it last year, but didn't and was disappointed for not giving it a shot.  On Sunday, I noticed one of their posts on FB - November to Dismember: DDG's Fall Recruitment.  I thought about it.  I really thought about it and got excited.  I posted it on FB and several of my friends encouraged me to give it a go.  I think Britney has been my biggest supporter and helped push me to follow my interest and desire to try something some would consider crazy.  Bobby completely supported me as well.  I'm pretty darn lucky!

So...I took a breath and registered, paid the fee, waited and got NERVOUS!  I grew up in the skating rink in Athens, but that was *AHEM* nearly twenty years ago.  I've skated a couple times since.  I'm still pretty decent.  I can skate forward really well, do crossovers, skate backwards a bit, and turn around.  But there's a big difference between free skating around in a circle and being competitive with pushing and shoving and and God only knows what else.


Monday evening, Bobby came home from work and after a bit, I headed to Roller Time in Huntsville.  The worst part about this location is that it is right behind Krispy Kreme!  With it being a Monday, I assumed it would just be other girls there for recruitment, but that place was PACKED!  Who knew roller skating was the place to be on Monday nights?  Well, I used to know that, but I didn't realize how many people still went roller skating.

Anyway, a team member walked in right after me, introduced herself, introduced me to a couple other people and showed me where to wait.  Waiting sucks.  I was nervous.  I didn't know anyone.  Even the other girls who came in were so nervous, they weren't speaking.

Pretty soon, it was 8:00 and everyone was told to clear out.  Once it was just the roller derby, they spoke briefly.  Then we had to sign waivers.  I love anything that you have to sign a waiver to participate in!  Then we geared up using borrowed, stinky elbow and knee pads.  I brought Britney's helmet and wrist guards from her skating board days.  Thanks Brit!  We paired up with a team member to help show us the ropes.  Ebbin Flow grabbed my hand and introduced herself.  We seemed to hit it off pretty well.  Turns out we're right at the same age and she used to skate in Athens too.  We may have known each other way back when :)

Some of us newbies putting on our GRRRRR faces!
While we were still in our tennis shoes, they showed us 'The Derby Stance' and the different ways to properly fall and get back up.  Falling is HUGE part of this sport.  You learn how to do it the right way to minimized injury.  Although, it's difficult to do in shoes.  Plus, we felt kind of silly....

After we got the basics, we put skates on and did  things for real.  We started off with...taking steps.  Seriously.  It's harder than it sounds.  You have to get low and walk without those dang wheels rolling.  I did better forward than backward, but did sideways the best.  

Me far right...stepping
After that, we worked on falling.  You fall one knee, both knee (think rocker slide) and both knees, elbows and wrists.  Then you're suppose to get up without using your hands, which is difficult to do when you're out of shape such as I am.
Lined up getting ready to take our falls!

Next up was stopping.  I've always been told to use the toe stop.  You're going along, push your toe down and skid to a stop.  That's not how it's done in derby.  You turn your back foot and press down, using muscles that you didn't know existed.  There's also the plow stop and spinning around quickly and pushing down with both toes to stop.

The last thing we did was free skate.  I think they wanted to judge our abilities.  We were suppose to be skating with our partners, but after a couple laps around the rink, Ebbin Flow pretty much told me I didn't need her.  She said I have awesome balance and my crossovers looked great.  Then she disappeared.  And I skated.  And skated.  And thought my legs were going to fall off.  Practice ran until 10:00 and I was honestly ready to stop at 9:30.

After a short break, we were told to skate more and she would blow the whistle and we would fall in various ways to get practice.  The falling isn't difficult :)  The pads are AWESOME!  But the getting back up when your legs are already!  I fell different ways and then Ebbin Flow showed up and told me I could work on different stopping techniques.

And just like that, it was 10:00 and over.  My legs were past hurting.  They were almost numb.  I definitely pushed myself and I am extremely proud of what I accomplished.

Tuesday, I was sore, but Wednesday was ridiculous.  I could barely walk.  The second day is always the worst.  I was finally able to work out today and my legs feel stronger.  I'm REALLY looking forward to Monday to see what we're going to learn :)

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