Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hey Turd! I mean, Short T! Part 1

Since my first bout is a few days away, I wanted to look back at my time as a new skater. For the first three months with the Hellions, you are considered "fresh meat".
New recruits will often show up with a derby name in mind (more than once, I've heard people say the name they want is Punky Bruiser.) However, you need to earn your derby name! That's why it's Hellion tradition to give our freshies an endearing nickname in the meanwhile... with the requirement that it has to do with "meat" (vegetarians need not worry, we'll call you something like Tofutti or Chik'N instead!). My fresh meat name: Turducken! I thought this was the dandiest nickname. But of course, nothing is perfect and Flexi Wheeler threw her head back in laughter when she found out my name. "Turducken, huh? Welll, sorry to say, but I am going to have to call you TURD!" I should've seen that one coming.
So here I am, back in September 2009. 
This picture was taken on the first day I got my skates.  (My set up is Riedell 122 boots with Atom Queen B wheels for any EQ nerds out there.)
As I said in my first post, I didn't have much skating experience before joining roller derby (so don't try using that as an excuse when someone tries to recruit you!) Back in September, we did not have the excellent fresh meat training program we have today, but I was taught my skills none-the-less. Fellow class recruits include Asa Diamonds and Ref Foxworthy. Bear Lee Giveash*t was still pretty new at that time, too. So while the big kids (aka, the vets) worked on pack drills, we were taught the basics of skating, falling (without hurting ourselves), and stopping. The veterans that worked with us rotated, but I can say that I learned how to T-stop (a stop in which you put one foot behind the other, perpendicularly, dragging it on the floor) from Flexi Wheeler and how to execute a "baseball slide" fall (pretty much what it sounds like) from Dr. Bi O'Hazard.
Weeks passed and coaching began to integrate me in with the experienced players. For some reason, when I bought the rest of my gear, I forgot to buy a mouthguard. Of course when the refs saw that that I was skating without one, I was forbidden to participate in any contact (hitting drills) until I rectified the situation. This may or may not have had an influence in how long I ended up waiting to buy a mouth guard... but my fear of getting hit was something I had to get over. Plus, I was told that for the first few times, people would take it easy on me.
I remember the first time someone didn't take it easy on me, though. It had been a few weeks since I had been fully integrated in with the other skaters. I had a mouth guard. I had a few done a few hitting and whipping drills with the team. I should mention that during this time, the winter, we were in our off season, so practices were focused less on scrimmaging and more on basic skills derby. Anyway, we were doing a drill where we all skate around the track in a straight line, and the person in the back has to take a whip from each person in front of her. A whip is when one skater holds out their arm and the person coming up from behind grabs it and the first player flings her forward in order to give her a boost of speed. I was halfway up the line, most teammates just giving me pretty mild whips. Then I got to Julietta Vendetta. We were coming up on a turn as she held out her arm and I grabbed it. Long story short, I was sent flying. Obviously V didn't give me the whip with malice, but when I learned the importance of balance in roller derby ... also, from that point on I knew I could no longer expect everyone to take it easy on me.

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