Monday, December 13, 2010

Journey from Fresh Meat to Graduated Skater - Part 1

Sparkly HoT sign made by Valerie Valkerie
Check out thoughts from guest writer Valerie Valkyrie regarding her past 5 1/2 months with the Hellions. She's been with us all summer and has been an incredible asset to the league in terms of craftiness, willingness to participate in league events, and general friendlyness. Meet Valerie Valkyrie!

Guest post by Valerie Valkyrie

This is a long time coming.

I promised Short I would write a few different blog posts for her - one about my new skates and another about my love for hitting. But life took over and inspiration walked out on me and I never got them done. So I'm taking this time, so close to my recent graduation, to pour out my thoughts while they're still fresh and new.

I showed up at my first Hellions of Troy practice about 5 1/2 months ago. The first weeks were exciting but exhausting. I had also started a brand new on-my-feet-all-day retail job and I was constantly sore. My legs and feet were always aching, begging for a break. But I powered through it because something about roller derby caught my heart.

Brand new pair of roller skates!
Due to a lack of protective gear and then a nasty virus I missed almost a month of practices, upon my return the meat class was preparing for a minimums test and I was not ready. I tried it anyway, failing about half of the requirements and watched my compatriots graduate and take their derby names and kick ass on the track.

A few weeks later we held a recruitment night and brought in a few handfuls of new fresh meat and I went back to basics with them. After I had put in three full months of hard work, I felt ready to take minimums again and began pestering the coaches to run them - I can only imagine how annoying I must've been but I'm admittedly very impatient and I wanted to go, go, go! I understood, though, that they would be running a big test for just a few of us considering most of the newer meat wasn't really ready yet. So I waited and practiced and waited and practiced. And did wall squats and planks and ran drills and practiced falling and learned to place hits. And every time I started getting frustrated and maybe just a little bit bored, I was treated to a practice with the vets. Getting a taste of pack work and hitting and blocking drills was just the motivation I needed to continue working my ass off and wait (albeit impatiently) for minimums.

For the last month I wasn't the only one chomping at the bit - the women who joined during that recruitment night in late July were more than ready for a chance to prove their skills. It was announced that testing would be coming up in November and many of us spent those weeks alternating worry with excitement.
Would we pass?
What skills should we focus on?
Who could we snag to help us develop that lacking technique?
What fancy hot pants will give me the best range of motion while still making me look cute?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Valerie's saga tomorrow!

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