Today’s healthy breakfast comprised Coco Pops, cake and Ribena. With sugar levels already through the roof it was all I could do not to explode before hitting our brand new training venue for guest coaching with 4 of the Severn Roller Torrent.
It was brilliant. After an hour and a half of some ace drills and skills coaching I was pretty sweaty and tired (and presumably sinking into a glucose come-down), but then was uttered the magic word: SCRIMMAGE. And lo, I learnt the meaning of ‘reserve energy’.
Now having previously only scrimmaged for 3 minutes of my life (1/3 of which was spent in the penalty box(!)), I was both excited and terrified – especially as my hand nominated me as jammer before I could stop it. I don’t know what I was thinking – I’ve never done anything like jamming before; jamming is everything that terrifies me. Not so much the gameplay, but everything that goes with it. The responsibility of scoring the points, securing lead jammer position, not fouling, having sufficient cardio to not die half way round the track. Shiiiiiit!
After a minor internal freak-out that I was finally about to do the thing I’ve been dreaming about for 6 months (what if I’m completely shit? What if I let my team down? I’M DEFINITELY JUST ABOUT TO DIE) I decided to just STFU and concentrate. And holy crap, there is so much to think about. Desperate not to waste my first jamming scrimmage in the penalty box, I made it my mission to be the cleanest damn player on the track. Unfortunately, I was trying so hard not to foul, I completely missed the opposing jammer getting lead, and after fighting my way through the pack, I spent the rest of the jam playing catchup. Not one to be defeated by my own stupid priorities, I skated fast and managed to force a call before I could lose any points, but craaaaaap it was so hard! I realised I really need to work on my overall fitness if I’m gonna do this sport, and I need to force my brain to work a hell of a lot faster if I’m gonna be any use on the track. Whoever said that derby is 80% played in your head was absolutely right – I need to get a whole lot better at planning my actions before I just DO a thing!
Despite my first time jamming being kinda frustrating, I learnt an absolute ton today. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all getting crazy frustrated about crossovers and a solid plow – the whole team has come such a long way in just a few months! After chatting to some of the girls we seem to be finding that our strengths and weaknesses are also really different from what we thought. For me, I always assumed that hitting was my best skill, but after fighting through the pack today I realised that actually, I can dodge a hit far better than I can give one, and in fact, I hit like a total girl haha!)
But enough words for today! I’m so happy, and exhausted, and pleased that I’ve finally found a team sport that I can completely immerse myself in without worrying about peripheral things like if I’m good enough, like if people will like me, like making sure I look or behave a certain way: no-one cares about that crap here. I think in looking for the perfect sport, I’ve actually found something even better – a roller derby team who are kind and genuine, and funny, and badass all at the same time.
Now I just need to fix my diet…