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Preparing For My First Roller Derby Bout

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It’s been a bit quiet around here in July and August, apart from a few reviews and things, and for that I apologise.

Back at the beginning of July I sprained my ankle at my second Roller Derby scrim, and it’s been a long and stressful road to something that looks almost like Recovery. I wasn’t able to run or go to practice for most of July and August, and, well, I didn’t really feel like writing about exercise and fitness, or even my feeble attempts at staying fit off my feet.

But now I find myself back at scrim practice with an Aircast A60 ankle brace, and 2 weeks out from my first public Roller Derby bout. I’m both weirdly calm and terrified about it. At first my concern with the ankle sprain was that I wouldn’t be back on skates in time for it. Now it’s that with only 3 weeks back on contact before the bout I won’t be anywhere near as prepared as I hoped.

IMG_4098 IMG_4099

 

So, here’s a list of the things I have been obsessing about for the last few weeks. Because out of my head and onto the screen has to help, right?

Team logos copyright Tekura Maeva. I’m a Sailor Jerry!

 

 

  • The width of the track
    We train on a 90% track due to venue restrictions. The game will be my first time on a full size Roller Derby track. This is scary.
  • The raised edges
    A proper Roller Derby track has a raised border made from rope under tape. When we practice we simply mark the track with masking tape. Am I going to trip over the roped edge and make an idiot of myself?
  • Getting a penalty
    Not just getting a penalty, but remembering to skate the right way to the penalty box. I’ve been given 2 penalties in 3 scrims I took part in, both times I forgot and turned around and skated the wrong way to the box. I. MUST. NOT. DO. THIS. Is it wrong to consider deliberately getting penalties at scrim in order to practice?
  • Losing
    It took me a while till it occurred to me that this was a proper scored game and someone would lose. I’m prepared to play as well as I can, and I’m prepared to lose by a few points (I don’t WANT to, but I could live with it). What terrifies me is being faced with a blow out and losing by over 100 points or something. What if I’m really that awful?
  • Injury
    Weirdly this hasn’t been hugely high on my worry list, probably because I’m still dealing with the end of the other injury. I’m worried that it will affect my skating and there’s the ghostly spectre of an idea that I might hurt myself again, only this time in front of a crowd.
  • Not being fit enough
    This year has sucked. Earlier this year I had an awful cold that lasted nearly 6 weeks and knocked my fitness badly. I ran my slowest 10k ever in April and my average pace over a 5k has gone up by over a minute a mile. When I sprained my ankle was just starting to work on introducing Sprints and longer runs again to try and get my fitness and endurance back. Another 10 weeks off hasn’t really done that any good and a 4 mile slow run on Sunday left me wiped out. What if I’m not fit enough to keep up on the day?
  • Losing Focus
    I’ve never skated in front of (hopefully) cheering people before. Will it distract the hell out of me? Will I know what on earth is going on? Am I going to skate into a wall waving at my Mum & Dad?
  • Leggings
    Yes, leggings. I know. This is a themed Mixed Opener and we have the most amazing logos on our t-shirts. I LOVE to dress up and I really wanted something fun to wear, but I also need to be comfortable to get sweaty and work hard. All the leggings and shorts I found wouldn’t arrive for weeks as they came from China. Argh! What the hell am I going to WEAR!?
  • Forgetting everything
    Strategies, starts, how to skate completely, what team I am on, my name and number. You name it I’ve worried about forgetting it.
  • Basically sucking
    Yeah. I don’t want to be rubbish, but I feel unfit and un-practised. Argh!

Calming words of advice and wisdom entirely welcome.

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7 Responses
  • Honey
    September 16, 2014

    Just remember that everyone you’re skating with is in exactly the same boat as you, and are all probably worrying about exactly the same things! Have you thought about talking to them about it? I bet they feel exactly the same!

    It is going to be scary, but just remember how far you’ve come and how awesome you are!! I’ll be sitting in the suicide seats cheering you on! <3

    • Lady Lipstick
      September 16, 2014

      I look forward to seeing you cheer, and then zoning you out and forgetting about you entirely!

      Yeah, we’re all in a FB group, I know everyone feels the same, but it feels good to write it all down!

  • Mum
    September 16, 2014

    I am used to going to sporting events and not being allowed to wave as Preston gets most put out if I acknowledge him in any way at all when he is playing football, so no need to wave we won’t be offended and you won’t skate into a wall. However if you do injure yourself I will rush down and give you a hug as I didn’t get the chance when you hurt your ankle. You know have something else to worry about ……. Your mother being embarrassing!!

    • Lady Lipstick
      September 16, 2014

      Ha! I have already primed Mr Chick to stop Dad shouting my name really loudly! I reckon I could zone the rest of you out, but I can hear him anywhere πŸ˜€

  • Heather
    September 16, 2014

    I remember being nervous and worrying before my first bout ever (a mixed game like this) and my first bout as part of my team… and pretty much every one I’ve played ever since! It’s totally normal and everyone does it, but it will never be as bad as you think it will.
    1) It could be helpful that you’re used to a smaller track as you’ll think the boundary is closer than it is, and be more likely to stay in bounds.
    2) You won’t trip over the rope under the tape, you probably won’t even notice a difference. I can’t remember ever tripping over the tape myself.
    3) I wouldn’t consider trying to get penalties, because it might teach you bad practice. Just always carry on in derby direction off the track, and if in doubt where the ‘line of no return’ is, just skate another lap to be sure. (I’ve also managed to zone out and completely skate past the penalty box before now). It’s only when re-entering that you can skate in either direction, just make sure you enter behind everyone else.
    4) Losing sucks, but this is just a mixed game so it doesn’t really matter that much who wins or loses. I see games like that as just a chance to practice some more and have fun, like scrimmage but in front of other people. As for being awful – I’m sure you’re not, but even if you were it’s unlikely your actions alone could lose the game! There’s 13 other players out there that have your back, so don’t worry (although I am the same, I always think that about myself).
    5) If your injury plays up, don’t be embarrassed to ask to take a break – your bench and line-up would much prefer to rest you than have you hurt yourself further. As for getting injured in front of the crowd, again don’t be embarrassed – they’ll be wishing you weren’t hurt either and (heaven forbid) you’re down on the track and need medics, the refs will make a privacy barrier for you so no one can see. But I doubt it will come down to that!
    6) I doubt there’ll be a problem keeping up – I’ve just come back after 5 months out and have only really struggled with endurance when jamming. If you’re tired, ask to sit a jam out. It’s totally fine to do that!
    7) Trust me, you won’t notice the crowd once you start.
    8) Maybe if you can’t find anything to wear, slap on some cool face paint or makeup and just spray your face with a lot of hairspray? I always skate in my red lipstick and there’s normally a pot of glitter or two passed round the whole team when getting ready (which, as you can imagine, gets absolutely everywhere!).
    9) If you forget what to do, just stick with someone else and follow them. Even if it’s the wrong thing, it’s still better to do it together! Also listen to your bench (I assume you’ll have someone there acting as bench and line up?) who will probably be shouting and gesticulating and telling you what to do. Go with whatever they say.
    10) You won’t suck! Even if you only manage to do one good thing in the whole game, that’s one good thing more than if you weren’t there at all. That’s how I look at it when I think I’ve been rubbish. And you might be surprised – I’ve done bouts before and thought I did nothing useful, but have gone back and found photos that prove me wrong!

    Don’t sweat it and have fun. It’s all just experience and you can only get better by doing it, and by making mistakes to learn from the next time!

    • Lady Lipstick
      September 16, 2014

      Thank you, best reply ever! πŸ˜€

      Yeah, those are all the things my calm brain says to me! I might practice scrim in my red lippy this Thursday see if I can keep it on my lips!

  • Pixie Hunt
    September 26, 2014

    I know your nervous but from a pre min skills girl im absolutely jealous of you! However im sure I would be the same! Hope your ankle holds up injurys suck (im sporting a broken nose and concussion though horse related not derby) and you just enjoy the day rather then worrying I bet you’ll kick ass!!