Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deadlie Mercury's First Bout

Guest post by rookie skater, Deadlie Mercury!  Deadlie skated in her first bout with the Hellions against Central New York on September 4, 2010 at the Empire Skate Showdown.

I don't think one person can say that their first bout experience is the same as another. There are always different extenuating circumstances.

When the roster was first announced in July for the Empire Skate Showdown this past weekend, I had little expectations of being on it. And my instincts proved correct, my name was not on the list. I was a little disappointed, but I knew I had JUST passed minimums and coaching was still not sure of what I could really do (neither was I to be honest). But it was better not to look at it as a setback, but as motivation to work harder and really push myself. I began attending men's derby practice so I could get derby in 3 times a week as opposed to just 2. It was at the men's practice 2 weeks ago where I got my first (minor) derby injury, twisting my knee when I fell wrong. I didn't go to the doctors, cause I'm so tough (or maybe just stubborn?), but it definitely called for lots of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). For like, the past 2 weeks.

Well, just my luck: The next night is the Hellions practice and I tell our coach that I'm taking it easy that night because of my “boo-boo” and he asks me if I would like to play in the tournament. Um... HECK YES! But this called for some serious pushing of myself while not hurting my knee anymore in the process.

I was successful in this and was so focused on feeling better that this whole 'first bout' thing didn't hit me until the Thursday night practice 2 days before ESS. All the rostered skaters got together with coaching and we discussed strategy and the basic run of the days events. When I stopped to really listen to what was being said, it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Oh geeze... this is for realz!”  I then worried about everything. I was worried that I wouldn't look cute enough for crying out loud! I had so much anxiety I dreamt that I missed half the tournament and really pissed off the rest of my team and then somewhere in there it turned into a softball game. Yeah, dreams are weird.

Holding the line like a good newbie.
So comes the day of ESS, and what an awesome day it was! I'm lucky to have tons of wonderful friends in NYC to house me that weekend so I wouldn't have to wake up at the rear end of dawn in order to catch the bus (yeah, something else I have to worry about? I'd rather not). But wow, the tournament was an amazing experience all in itself. To see these other teams that were so experienced and to share it with derby girls from across the state was really something special. I had a running joke with my friends that I better get there on time because knowing my luck I'll be in the first bout. We laughed since I didn't think there was any way I could've been put on that roster. So guess who was hit with another surprise when our coach Beefcake said my name for the first roster. It was really time to focus. 

I was  little nervous but honestly, I can't express how supportive my team is. Everyone just looked at me with smiles and said “You can do it Deadlie.”. Until we grouped up at our bench, everything felt so surreal to me, as if it wasn't really happening. When we had our Hellions pre-bout-group-pump-up-chant I felt so pleased. I really felt like I had made it and I felt like I could own myself as a player. 

Introducing Deadlie Mercury and
Delinquent Dollie!
I only went out 3 times but only fell once out of those 3 times (of course within 10 seconds of the first jam I was in). I held the line like a good newbie and helped build walls with my teammates. We only lost by 20 points which, in roller derby terms, is still anyone's game. I think it was the best way for me to experience playing in a real bout for the first time and to feel confident in my skills finally. And I'm sure that not too many derby girls get to say they had their first bout experience at a state-wide tournament. *Insert shoutout- Except for my teammate Dollie. Yeah first timers!*

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