1.It's okay to be nervous before hand; just allow those butterflies to clear as you are skating your team introduction laps.
At the beginning of the bout, each team is introduced to the crowd.There was something really, really awesome about skating in a big pack with my whole team.When my name was introduced, I wish I could have done something awesome, like a flip or a barrel roll, but I just threw my hands in the air.It was such an exciting moment.
2.Don't expect to be put in for the first jam.Or second.Or third, fourth, or fifth (if it's your first bout).
Not that I expected to be played a lot - this just confirmed my suspicion that veterans would be put in ahead of me.
3. Don't expect to be put in more than a couple jams (if it's your first bout).
When our team scrimmages each other at practice, we may only have 5 - 7 players per team.That means a skater gets put in every other jam at least.Not too many breaks!After an hour, I'm usually exhausted!For the bout, our rotation was split between 14 girls.That way, almost everyone got to take a (short) break after almost every jam, and probably for a few jams in a row.Glad we work our butts off at practice - it makes this aspect of bouting that much easier.
4.If you survive your first jam ever, you'll survive the rest of them.
I was picked to go in as a blocker about 10 minutes into the bout.I knew as a new player, my main priority was to guard the inside line.I felt nervous, but I felt very focused.I had my teammates out on the track.I was also surrounded by girls from the other team who I had no idea what sort of skills they had.Were they all going to go after me because they knew it was my first bout?
Answer: not really.This game isn't about killing the newbie blocker.The Utica Roller Girls were super focused on defense and were all over our jammers.Sure, they'd strategically attempt to take me out with a hit once in a while.But once I realized I was "safe", I felt that I could better focus on my tasks - guard the line and watch out for the jammers (of course, I was still going to watch my own back).
5.Not everyone hits like a truck.
I thought that I'd be spending the majority on my time on the ground.One of the things I was surprised the most about is that when some of the girls would hit me, I didn't fall to the floor and I didn't lose my balance!That made me feel so confident!I'm not saying that URG was throwing weak hits, but maybe I'm not as weak as I thought I was.
6.Show them what you're worth.
My primary goal for my first bout was to survive it without making too many mistakes.I knew my job was to guard the line, watch for the jammers, and always put myself in a position where I was being useful to my team.Any extraordinary plays or hits were not specifically on my agenda.
But then, during one of the last games, I managed to avoid a hit from a player I knew could knock me into the solar system if she wanted to.Not only did I avoid her hit, she ended up on the floor and I ended up jumping over her.It all happened so fast, I wish I could remember exactly what I did to make this happen.Did I hit her?Either way, she went down and I stayed up.I heard her shout, "what the ****!?"And believe me, I was just as surprised and was thinking the exact same thing, haha.Talk about extraordinary!