Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bringing The Movie To Life: Derby Dreams - Part 3

The mere concept of something can be thrilling, but when the day actually comes to take part in that event, all you want to do is run the other way. When I woke up the morning of the first official skills night, I was unenthused to say the least. I didn't completely dismiss the idea of going, but I was, well, scared. I didn't know anyone, I didn't know what the experience was going to be like and I didn't know if I'd be any good in comparison to the other girls. On top of all that, the practice area was in some obscure location that I was awfully hesitant to park my car in.

As the day progressed, my family and friends were far from encouraging. My friends were still skeptical of the sport all together and, naturally, my parents were freaked by the idea of me waltzing off to a sketchy area to meet people I didn't know. To be honest, the only thing really driving me to go was the fact that I just dropped a wad of cash on equipment.

When the time came to get in the car and go, my parents lovingly insisted on driving me. I had no problem being chauffeured particularly because I had no idea if there'd be anywhere to park. We hopped in the car and off we went. Thanks to a ridiculous amount of traffic my nerves had ample time to formulate a stomachache. It didn't help that when we pulled up to the location it looked more like an abandoned building hidden on a dark street corner than a roller derby practice arena. (Not that I even knew what one looked like.) I took a deep breath, said "fuck it" and hopped out of the car and into the building with my gear bag. You're not going to believe what I saw when I went in.

A group of about 30 girls skating around the room. Yes, my judgmental side had gotten the better of me, yet again. A super smiley lady greeted me at the door and waved me over to fill out my insurance information before hopping on the track. We did some warm-up laps and stretched before moving on to a whole lot of drills. We covered everything from stopping techniques to blocking. I left super sweaty (gross, I know), pretty sore and absolutely elated.

I was hooked. Not only was I taken aback by how damn nice everyone was but the sport is addicting. As for the whole tryout part, I felt pretty good about my chances. There were a handful of girls who were far better skaters but far more of them that I considered to be below my skill level.

Later that week I scheduled a private lesson with an instructor from the rink I'd visited the week prior. The original guy I worked with was great, but I was looking for someone a little more, er - relatable. The rink set me up with a guy who does dance skating. There's no way to describe the guy other than cool. He was laid back, extremely talented and a great teacher. We worked on just about everything the derby girls taught me during the skills night. He helped me get some extra speed using my crossovers, gave me some stopping tips and even got me doing this four-point turn concept. It's this method for turning that, during the skills night, I found extremely complicated. It's a combination of steps that I just wasn't able to put together and couldn't even execute without falling. Thanks to my new teacher's dance skills, he had me turn with a little finesse in no time. Yup, I think it's safe to say that I have a solid chance of becoming a derby girl!

Check back soon for more!
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