Day of derby

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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.

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Me in the middle.
Photo by: Ove Engvik.

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Life at advanced practices

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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.

Level 2 passed!

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Wohoooo!

Now I have passed all my minimum skill requirements, and get to scrimmage! Holyshitholyshitholyshit, I am so excited!

This evaluation actually went a lot better than the last one I think. But, that has probably something to do with level of nervousness. This time, I naturally was really nervous to begin with, but then I started having fun instead. And then, no shaking legs or beating heart could ruin my performance, as I felt it did the last time.

Oh yeah, time to reveal my name!

Fatal Feline #42.

I really like it. I’m dealing with this whole derby name business with a kind of superhero-approach. Like, what kind of superhero I would like to be, or what my name would be if I were a superhero. Fatal Feline alliterates beautifully, and it gives me just the right associations. Tough, dangerous and deadly, but also elegant, fast, beautiful, feminine. It’s also a bit like Femme Fatale. I have this thing for cats, and felines in general. Felines are just the coolest, most beautiful, most elegant and generally awesomest animals in the world.  I can sit for hours watching shows about the great cats. I’ve even spent several hours watching that Cats 101 show on Animal Planet. I’ve also heard several times that I have cat-like eyes, and that if I were to be an animal, it would be a cat or another feline (this is, by the way, the greatest compliment anyone can give me!!).

The number, 42, is just to celebrate my inner nerd. 42 is, according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Tomorrow will be my first advanced practice, and I’m looking forward to it with a mixture of glee and nervousness. What if I’ll look like a fool, what if I’m just reallyreally bad?  It will be great to get to know the veterans in the league more though. And start to really learn to play Roller Derby, not just skating techniques!

Now I’ve actually prepared a picture I could use to lighten up the text wall. This is me getting prepped for practice.

Mission accomplished!

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I just wanted to make a short blog post, just to say that I passed the 25 in 5! Yay! As I tend to feel when being evaluated, I felt I did terribly. It was a different floor to skate on, and I felt that I wasn’t as confident in my strides as I use to be. I also got a lot more tired afterwards today than I’ve been when we’ve done it in our other practice place. Which must mean that I worked more. My theory is that when skating on a new surface, I exert myself more somehow. I managed to scrape together just over 25 laps, 25 1/4 maybe. Once I’m more used to skating on different floors (and have more wheels to choose from) I’m sure I’ll do better.

But, what matters is that I passed! Now, the “easy” part remains, and soon I can call my self a real derby girl! Yay!

Evaluation time!

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It’s that time of the month again… time for evaluation!

So, next week we will be evaluated for being able to advance to level two, which will also complete our minimum skill requirements. That involves blocking, assists, skating in a pack and so on. AND the oh-so-scary 25 laps in 5 minutes! I find them the most scary at least. I think it has to do with the fact that it’s not something you can just do and then try again if you did poorly. If I miss on my first attempt at a hip check on evaluation, I can try again. But the 25 in 5… after doing it you’re probably tired, and discouraged (if you didn’t make it that is) and other people probably will need the track after you, so you can’t try again, at least not immediately. And, people will probably be watching and cheering for you, which is nice, but it makes it a little bit scary as well.

I’m also getting nervous by the fact that I haven’t really tried doing it on a full track before, and I’m scared the floor will be too different. For the 25 in 5, i forgot to mention, we are skating in another practice hall.

And the 25 in 5 is tomorrow, as that was the only time available for us to use the bigger venue. NERVES!

At least I can try again later during the week I think, if I fail. But I should be alright. I thought i did kind of well doing it in our smaller practice venue. It’s just easy to forget that confidence now that the evaluation is drawing closer.

And, if I make it tomorrow, the worst part for me is over, and I can face the other tests with confidence. Let’s just hope I don’t loose that confidence as well, as those tests draws nearer..

Bout: Nidaros vs Lahti!

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This saturday, I experienced my very first live roller derby bout. The bout was Nidaros Roller Derby against the Bay City Rollers from Lahti,Finland. Nidaros won, the score being 206-71.

I was an NSO at the bout, so I was sadly waaay to busy to watch any derby being played, but just experiencing the feel and the mood from the audience and the music and everything was amazing. Being an NSO was great fun, though a little stressful. The position I ended up having was Penalty Wrangler, who’s job it is to basically run around between the refs and the penalty trackers, making sure every single penalty is written down. Since the volume in the venue was so loud, I had to be relatively close to the refs to be able to hear anything at all. Which means I had to run around a lot. I also yelled quite a bit, since you have to confirm that you heard the penalty, and then relay the information to the trackers.  I must admit, I was pretty nervous the first few jams, and felt that I just didn’t hear anything. But I loosened up quickly, I felt myself improve, and I also got positive feedback after the bout from the head ref and the head NSO, which was great to hear!

The NSO’s doing our cheer: “Those in pink rule the rink!”
Foto by: Oddvar Engvik

Before the bout even started, I also took part in a demo of the rules, so that the audience would know what was going on. The average person does not know derby rules, and it’s much more fun being at a bout knowing what is going on. I was actually more nervous about the demo than the NSO’ing! The demo went okay I guess, though a little confusing. We were supposed to do one slow motion, halfway jam where they talked about the rules and stuff, and then another full jam where we played as well as we could. It ended up being just the first halfway jam, it was called off way to early because we thought we would do another, so the audience didn’t actually see any points being scored. Oh, well.  Here’s a picture of us doing the demo:

Foto by: Erlend Lånke Solbu

Now I’m just waiting excitedly for the video of the bout to be posted, so I can actually watch the game. I have, though, seen some clips on facebook, and I did see a little on the bout. And I cannot for the life of me understand how I’m supposed to catch up to these amazingly talented people we have in our league. I’m extremely motivated to make the team someday, especially after experiencing this. But they have years of experience and I have months. I imagine myself playing along side them and just dragging the whole team down. But, a lot can happen if I work hard, and I think that I’ll learn loads if I just get up to scrimmage level. One little goal at a time!

Here’s a picture of everyone. The players, the refs, the NSO’s and even some stormtroopers and other awesome shit (they were security at the bout).
Foto by: Oddvar Engvik

Level 1 and WFTDA

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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!

Water break at practice. Sorry for boring picture yet again, but it’s still better with something to lighten up the wall of text

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!

Reffing is hard!

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One of the requirements for advancing to level 2 in my league is that you have to participate on scrimmages as a ref at least twice. And, being as ambitious as I am, I took the challenge at the first possible scrimmage, which was today.

Since one of the newer refs are going to be an OPR (outside pack ref) at our next bout, we practiced that today. There are normally three OPR’s, and they skate on the outside of the track. Which means you have to skate around a lot, and often quite fast, as you have to keep up with the pack which have a much shorter way to skate than you have.

I got to practice my turn-around toe stop a lot! And at some high speeds too. And I think I got the whole skating pattern, and I managed to keep up with the pack as I was supposed to. I didn’t give any penalties though. I noticed that I may know the rules, and I know the hand-signals roughly, but I’m not so confident on the little things. I.e. for example what separates a minor from a major, and how much impact is needed before a penalty is due? I did, for example, notice some forearms here and there, but having your forearm touching another opponent is inevitable, so how much and how hard before it is a penalty?  I did read some more about rules after I came home though, to answer some of my questions, and plan to read some more so I’m even more prepared until the next time I can ref.

Another thing that’s hard is basically noticing stuff. When something happens in the pack, it happens fast, and you need a keen eye to be able to see everything that’s happening.Kudos to all refs.

Derby names

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Now that I’m level 1, I’ve started thinking about derby names again, since the day I advance to level 2 and get to pick my name now is getting closer. When I first found out I wanted to start doing derby I immediately started thinking about names, and created a long list with suggestions. Not to pick one of them, but to have an idea of what kind of name I wanted, and to have something to start from. I didn’t want to have absolutely no clue of what I wanted when the time to pick my name came. None of them felt truly right though.

When derby practice actually started, I was way to busy with that to even think about names. But now, other fresh meats have started talking about names and what to choose, and after advancing to level 1 I suddenly realized that the day I get to pick my name is getting much closer.

This morning I think I found my name though. It felt right immediately after I thought of it, and it’s not already taken ( I checked two evils), or has other names that is too similar.

But, I will not reveal it yet. I fully agree with my leagues policy that you have to earn your derby name, and therefore can’t pick one until you reach level 2. There is also the possibility that someone will come up with a better suggestion based on my style of skating or something like that. Nothing is for certain.

But, I’m just really happy that I have a suggestion that I’m this happy with. I was afraid  that I’d have to pick one that’s so-so, which is sad, considering you have your derby name for the rest of your (derby) life.

Now I can put all this name-pondering behind me, and really focus on getting better at playing roller derby, which is what’s really important!

Level 1!

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Yesterday, we had our first evaluation training, where we had the opportunity to advance  from level 0 to level 1. And I passed, hooray!

Before departing from home I was really nervous. But, when I arrived at our practice space my nerves had calmed down. At the evaluation we had three trainers who were assessing the skaters, so three were able to be evaluated at once. Of course I managed to be one of the very first three who were evaluated!

Overall, I felt that I didn’t do as well as I normally do. My T-stop with the “other foot” was a complete disaster in my opinion, and I felt that my juking was really clumsy. But, they were apparently good enough, and I didn’t even get a comment on those things. What I instead got some feedback on was that I have to use my left foot more during crossovers, and that I have to try not use my hands to push off on my thighs after a fall. But, as the trainer said, in a bout situation, you really just want to get back up after a fall as fast as possible, and then pushing your hands on your thighs is much faster. And crossovers will naturally improve as long as I keep practicing and skate more, and become even more comfortable on my skates. So, all in all, I’m really happy with my result!

I only wish there were some form of knowing how well you performed an exercise, not just “pass” or “not pass”, some sort of grading system.

In the end, I think almost everybody who tried advancing yesterday passed, so the trainers weren’t as strict as I thought they would be. I guess we’ll see when we start blocking who really deserved it and who’s safe on their skates. I do not plan on being nice, muhahahaha!

At derby practice