Time for a huge post about everything that has happened since my last post.
Let me start by talking about the Malmø Derby Festival. What an amazing experience! It was very much fun skating with and getting to know girls from other leagues here in Norway. I was also fortunate enough to get to play all three games the Nor Thugs played, so lots of bouting experience for me! I also participated in both of the mixed scrimmages, and got to skate with lots of great players from all over the nordic countries. The norwegian team, the Nor Thugs, came in third place out of four in the tournament. We lost against both Finland and Sweden, but managed to win against the danish team! Last year the Norwegian team came in forth place, so this shows that Norwegian roller derby is improving! I can’t wait to see what happens next year, and I seriously hope I’ll make the team again! So. Much. Fun!
The rest of the summer was kind of uneventful for me, derby-wise. I skated outdoors a couple of times and dreamt of being back in Trondheim at practice with the rest of my teammates.
When derby practices did resume after the vacation we had to skate outdoors for a couple of weeks, as the venues we use for practice were closed for different reasons until the 1st of september. That first weekend of september we kickstarted the season for real with an awesome bootcamp with trainers Mad Maloony and Ruby Rehab from Stockholm Roller Derby. It was one of the most tiresome weekends I can remember, but I also learned shitloads.
During that weekend I also celebrated my first Derbyversary! I’v skated for one year, imagine that!
The 14th of september, we played this seasons first bout against the fierce ladies from Dock City Rollers. We were certain that this would be our hardest bout yet. The predicted score was 98-200 in favor of Dock City. We were determined to do better than the predicted score, but we were prepared that we might lose. In the first half we played terrible. We were clumsy, we got a lot of penalties and committed stupid mistakes. By halftime the score was 59-131 in favor of Dock City. But, during the last five minutes of the first half we had started to play our game, and had slowly started to get some more points. We managed to continue that good streak in the second half, and after a nail biting last ten minutes we emerged victorious! Final score 205 – 194! That win is one of the best experiences ever, it is impossible to describe how happy I felt. After our win the entire team laid down on the track in a gigantic, sweaty, crying heap.
And if that is not all, I was named Best Blocker for our team! Holy crap! I can’t even try to explain how much that means to me. Huge! And also hearing my teammates tell me they think it was deserved as well. I am humbled and awed and happy and grateful. It’s a great feeling to have your hard work paying off! Now I’m supermotivated to continue my regime, go to all of the practices to gain the skills and go to the gym as I have been all summer to gain strenght and endurance. Team Norway next!
About two weeks ago the first Team Norway “gathering” took place. The trainers and management around Team Norway has already been selected, and they organized a gathering for all interested potential Team Norway players. The proper tryouts won’t be before january, but by having these gatherings everyone who’s interested in playing on Team Norway will have a chance to get to know other potential players, getting to know the trainers, gain experience in how to play with others than your teammates, and just have a good time and learn a lot.
Since I haven’t even played derby for a full year, my confidence in making the Team Norway roster isn’t exactly sky-high. But, on the other hand, derby is really in its infancy here in Norway. The sport started as late as 2010 here, and so far there is only two competing teams (that being said, both teams have been climbing rapidly on the european rankings lately). With me being on the A-roster of the highest ranked team here in Norway, there should be some chance for me at least. I know I’ll have to work my ass of, but I have one sliver of hope that I can make the team, and I’m going to hold on to that and work reallyreally hard.
The gathering was a lot of fun though! I saw it more like a kind of workshop/bootcamp, and that was what it felt like. The first day we did a lot of drills, most of them about cooperation in some way. It was a long day, 8 hours of derby, and everyone was exhausted at the end of it. The second day we were divided into two teams, black and white, and we spent the whole day scrimmaging. It was a full on scrimmage, with a complete ref and NSO crew, so they almost felt like bouts. We had time for two “bouts”. In the first one, the white team (my team!) won. We were unable to play through the whole second bout due to an injury, but the black team were quite ahead in the second one and would most probably have won.
The best part about that whole weekend was getting to know derby players from all over the country (one even came as far as from Texas!). It was also very valuable getting to play with new people, as you have to cooperate and communicate in a whole new way when you’re playing with people who’s not used to your style of play.
After this weekend, I must say that my motivation to make the Team Norway roster just became stronger. It was just so much fun! The final tryouts for the team isn’t until next january, so I have half a year to work on getting good enough for the team and to develop as a skater. A lot has happened for me during these last six months, so I’m sure a lot more can happen during the next six if I work hard. I can do this!
Ok, I’m seriously sorry for the lack of posting. It’s really stupid actually, now that stuff has actually happened in my derby life, I’ve stopped posting. Oh well, going to try and change that now.
Since my last post I’ve actually played four bouts (!!!!). One against Copenhagen’s B team, Kick Ass Cuties, one against Crime City Rollers B, one against Stockholm Roller Derby BSTRDS (B-team) and one bout against Oslo. The one against Oslo was very unofficial, and with both teams focusing on using players who had never bouted before, or who’s had little playing time.
Playing the first three bouts was amazing. I learned A LOT. But, weirdly enough, something also happened with my confidence. What I needed to work on became so much clearer, and I started comparing my self to everyone else. I became bummed about not playing as much as I wanted to. I also looked at the statistics after every game and noticed that I was almost always the one who was on the track the least. Even less than the ones I started fresh meat with. I’m sure that is because of coincidences though, if a player for instance gets a penalty they are registered as “on the track” although they’re not playing, and I didn’t get many penalties during those games. Still, I started thinking and feeling that I was the baddest player on the roster, and that I would probably not be picked for the next one. I became self-aware, and started being afraid of doing mistakes, which resulted in me becoming more passive (or at least it felt like that).
This probably sounds a lot worse than it was. I’m sure it wasn’t even noticeable. I just constantly felt that I could have done better, and that everyone else was doing better. I know that you should never start comparing yourself to others, you should only compare yourself to yourself. But I just couldn’t help it.
Anyway, the bout we played yesterday, against Oslo, really helped on my confidence. Suddenly I was one of the most experienced players on the team, and I had a lot more playing time. I was given more responsibility by being pivot a lot, and I was on the power lineup. When you play like, once every fifth jam, it’s so much harder to stay focused, you sit and wait a lot, and you almost get nervous before every jam you actually do play, and so you don’t feel that you did the best you could. But yesterday, I had the time and opportunity to really try out stuff, I got in some good hits, I made the jammer cut the track (the ref didn’t see it though, grr), I tried offensive blocking, and I basically found that I could do most of the stuff i wanted to do. I was also a part of some great accomplishments we did as a team, like one jam when we held the jammer for a full jam, and she never had an initial pass! And after the opposing team took the lead by two points, we just focused like shit, and then the opposing team did’t score at all for the remainder of the game, which was about six minutes.
All in all, it was a great game, and I feel good and optimistic about myself as a derby player again. I’m really looking forward to scrimmage tonight with this newfound confidence! Muahaha!
Sorry, for not blogging much lately, it’s a combination of me being really busy and having a writers block.
Anyways, bout coming up soon! This weekend actually, and I’m starting to get really nervous. Every time I see something related to the bout on Facebook, for example when they recently announced that the tickets were up for sale, I get crazy nervous and lots of butterflies in my stomach. It’s just getting so close and so real now. Imagine, in less than a week I will be skating around in front of maybe 500 people! Scary. (but good scary).
The last couple of weeks have been full of training and practice. In addition to derby practice, our league has a deal with the local Crossfit gym, so I have been going there on a introductory class two times a week as well. So it’s been training four to five times a week for at least a month now, which is a lot for me. I have come to discover that I love training this much though, I will definitely try to maintain this amount of exercise.
At derby practice, I’ve tried doing my very best, learning as much as possible and using every opportunity possible to skate. Being on the roster, I feel that I owe it to the team to be as good as possible. I’m never going to feel that I’m ready though. It’s always some things to get better at. But I guess that’s how it is in derby overall, you can never learn all there is to learn, there is always something new or something to perfect.
This week, our stupid practice venue has decided that it’s time for winter break, and everything is closed. We have managed to scrape together one practice. That means it’s only one practice left on skates before the bout! I’m sure that can explain some of my sudden surge of nervousness as well.
I’m sure everything will be great though, and that my first bout will be an awesome experience. What I fear the most is that I somehow manage to fuck everything up for the team, and be the reason for an eventual loss. But, I have to remember that we win as a team and lose as a team, everything does not depend on just one person. And, if I turn out to suck that much, they probably won’t put me in many jams.
I shall end this post with a picture of me playing actually! We played a couple of show-off jams during the break of a handball game recently, where I even played as a jammer! In front of an audience! Huge. It was kind of like a warm-up to the bout next week, at least I’ve played in front of an audience before.
Yeah, sorry for the unofficial christmas hiatus. There just hasn’t been much to write about during the holidays.
This week I returned to Trondheim and were able to return to derby practices again. My first ‘real’ derby practice this week was yesterday though, as the one on monday was a open training session for new, potential recruits, and I was ill (the cold) and sore (after being a bit too optimistic at the gym on monday), so I didn’t attend the practice on tuesday. But yesterday’s practice was awesome! We had intervals and endurance. Since I hadn’t practiced anything during christmas I thought my endurance would be at a low point, but the practice actually went well, and I didn’t feel I did that badly.
In about a week, they’re choosing the roster for our next two upcoming games. I’m really unsure of wether I will make the team or not. I get really optimistic when talking to some of our trainers who, of course, try to be really motivating and optimistic and say that anyone can make the team. But, if I think realistically, I know that there is a lot of great players who’s played for a lot longer than I have, and who have bouting experience and so on. And I really feel like all of my fellow fresh meats (although we’re not technically “fresh meat” anymore) are starting to get really good, and they may as well be picked in stead of me, for the few places left on the roster.
But, I’m going to try as hard as hell anyway. I’m going to show up at every goddamn practice, and I’m going to work as hard as I can. I will not forgive myself if I don’t at least try. I really want this, and i really really want to become good in this sport. Yesterday, during endurance, I realized through the pain that endurance was also fun as well. That has never happened to me in any other sport before. I’m in love.
Yeah, so I have my player photo up on the league’s webpage now. Call me shallow and superficial, but I love shit like this. I feel even more like an “official” member of the league now. I also got excited about lame stuff like wearing our team uniform for the photo. Seriously, calm your shit Rebecca, it’s just a shirt! But you know… uniforms.. 😀
Taking the photo was funny though. It’s weird, I used to be this huge camwhore, always posing and stuff when there was a camera around. I still have the tendencies. But now, when it was like, a proper photoshoot, I just froze and felt awkward. And I even had some ideas for poses and stuff in my head. I guess it had something to do with that I know that I’m not a model, so if I were to act like one I would feel like a wannabe or something… stupid, I know. I did manage to pull myself a bit together though! I figured that if a did exaggerated pose, or something funny I didn’t feel as stupid. So, since my name is Fatal Feline, i decided to growl like a cat and do a “claw” with my hand. All in all, I’m happy with my photo.
And without further ado… here’s the photo!
So, the day that was intended for scrimmage ended up not having a single scrimmage. First, we had to cancel the scrimmage against Bright Future due to lack of players and referees. And, during the day we were never enough people to have a scrimmage anyway; at the beginning of the day we didn’t have any referees, and at the end of the day we had too few players.
But, that didn’t stop the day from being totally awesome! Just being in that great sports hall we were in, with a beautiful wooden floor was worth it. It took a little getting used to on my part though. It was slippery! Poor Sassy KickAssy who had to put up with me stumbling around during the pyramid-excercise at warm-up. Embarrassing!
During the day we did a lot of pack exercises, how to be offensive and defensive and so on. As our numbers grew thinner we started practicing more individual stuff, for example turning around with a jump, turning around on one foot, and we also worked a bit in pairs and practiced some more “advanced” forms of blocking.
It was sad that we weren’t able to scrimmage, but I still had a great day and felt that I learned a lot.
Yesterday I attended my second advanced practice, and I figured I should write a bit about being at level 2.
The first advanced practice I attended was very different from what I’ve been used to at fresh meat practices. The tempo was different, and I kind of went from feeling pretty confident in my skating to not confident at all. But, when you start to actually play the game, there is a lot to take in, and the other girls said that it was perfectly natural to feel a bit confused at first. That being said, I still had tons of fun, and I just love the opportunity to actually be able to play some derby.
During that first advanced practice I attended, the vets were practicing for an upcoming bout, and us fresh meats who attended sort of just tagged along. Yesterdays practice were more aimed for us, so more were explained, and stuff was less confusing. I felt that I learned a lot, and also felt that I wasn’t half-bad at some of the exercises we did.
I must say, that from what I’ve experienced so far, that I seriously love this sport. From the little I’ve tried I find it incredibly fun and challenging, on a mental as well as a physical level.
This weekend I will experience my first scrimmage as well. On saturday, the league has organized a “scrimmage-day”, and this will be the first time the fresh meats who recently leveled up tries to scrimmage. And, at the end of the day, the fresh meats will play Bright Future, another derby league in our city, in an informal scrimmage. I’m so looking forward to that day! I’m sure it’ll be a great experience, and that I’ll learn a lot.
Oh and, apparently, I’m not half-bad at blogging either, so the league has asked me to blog for them at their website. So, if you’re norwegian or for some reason understand norwegian, be sure to check out my blogposts! Here is a link to the first one. And here is a link to my league’s webpage.
This week, level 1 trainings started. Now, we are able to make contact and learn to block!
“This is where the fun begins”, one of the trainers said. And damn, was she right! After the training on monday I think I for the first time really experienced the feeling of being “high on derby”. I was exhausted, I had developed a blister on my right foot, I was sweaty and disgusting, but as I was skating I just forgot all those things. The challenge of a new task, compared with the satisfaction of beginning to master it and the physical aspect of it is amazing. Absolutely everything we tried was fun. I remember thinking between different exercises “ow, my foot hurts” or “omg, I’m tired”, but then we started something new, and it was so fun that I just forgot all the pain and discomfort. What a great feeling! (though not so great the following day.. yay, muscle-soreness!) I can’t help thinking that if this is how I feel after a couple of level 1 practices, then I have so much more fun in store for me!
During the week we have tried our hands at positional blocking, leaning, skating transitions, different pack exercises, how to make walls, and we even got to try to do the 25 in 5! The 25 in 5 was a big surprise. Although we aren’t able to have a fully sized derby track in our fresh-meat practice venue, A LOT of us managed to skate over 30 rounds in 5 min, which I think should be about 25 rounds in the properly sized track. And on our first try! I think I managed about 34 myself. The 25 in 5 requirement definately seems more doable now, not as intimidating.
It feels great to start doing “proper” derby exercises, to start learning skills that are specific for derby, and not just skating in general. It is also great fun to start working closer together with the other fresh meats. There’s not much room for cooperation when learning your basic skating skills. Initially, you need help and direction from trainers, but after a while it just comes down to individual practice. But now, a lot more is about cooperation and team work. Blocking is hard to learn on your own. To skate with others in a pack, you need to cooperate.
I yearn for practice now. And I think about derby all the time. I’m certainly hooked, and look optimistically towards a future full of Roller Derby!
Talking about the future, our league also has an exiting future ahead. Yesterday, the WFTDA finally announced that Nidaros Roller Derby has been accepted as an apprentice league, as the first league in Norway! This is fantastic news, and I’m so proud and happy that I get to be a part of this league!