Monday, May 26, 2008

Fans of The Fall

So Coach Urkin's agenda worked in our favor tonight: we practiced doing different kinds of falls. You'd be surprised at how much work skating across the floor back and forth and falling on one knee, two knees, sliding on your bum and falling on all fours is.

Crossing-over and skating in a pack is getting easier. What makes me kind of nervous is that, save for the falling exercise, I haven't really fallen yet on the rink. During drills on the carpet where we have to balance on one leg I fall over head-first like it's my job. Knock on wood I guess.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If you thought open mic night was Freak Night..

You've never been to "Adult Night" at Rollerland. I suppose my favorite part about this Wednesday evening event is the regulars.

First and foremost there's Repeat Offender, a man in his 70s, I imagine, who skates backwards and attempts to lure you under his spell with his stone cold stare. The most uncomfortable part is that he skates backwards the whole time, so while you're trying to maneuver around the rink you're actually getting closer and closer to a frontal view of his swanky old-man hips and skating skills.

Next there's the Sexy Cougar-Dancers, who aren't terribly sexy at all, but they are dedicated. These are the women who undoubtedly frequented the rinks in the 1970s and still have all of the disco moves that will continue to live on because of them. I actually really like this category; they're fun, they won't bother you and the majority of them come alone and are in their own world the whole time. That's kind of respectable.

Then Father-Son. Father-Son is a self-explanatory pair who mostly baffle me. Both have quaft, parted-down-the-middle hair and pay the extra $3 for rollerblades, so you know they mean business. They have a tendency to start "the clap" during songs such as anything by Informer or Vanilla Ice. Sometimes AC/DC.

My favorite regular is a little lady who must be in her seventies. Not only is she as cute as a button, she's also a total badass on her skates. During the "Fast Skate" she lapped me several times and usually beats the dudes on blades. The best part, though, is that for the duration of the race, she isn't smug-looking, but has this totally overjoyed look on her face, like, "I'm beating you! It's surprising me!"

There are a few others but those are the most-frequent regulars. I love coercing friends into coming out to rollerskate for the first time, because even if they can't manage to stay on their feet, Rollerland is no doubt the best place to people watch on Wednesday nights in Fort Collins.

Practice was cancelled Thursday because storms were raging all over northern Colorado. I have the weekend off, Old Time Relijun is playing in Denver tonight and I am reading an awesome book. It's summer, too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday's practice

Just when I thought that I would never have to face it again, I stood corrected: the obstacle course had returned. This time, badder than ever. The rest of the "white belts" (beginners) and I went through each station over and over, with a derby sister (mine was Laura Mangles Wilder) steering behind us. I had a really hard time putting all of my body weight on my front leg when doing the cone exercises. Lucky for me, we got to do those for the last half-hour of practice. In actuality it probably was good, because I noticed that sometimes my knees bump together like I'm pigeon-toed.

Everyone was way sweatier than Monday. The white belts got to sit on the wall and watch the last part of the green/brown/black belts' practice. A few of the girls' legs were the equivalent to my entire body height. We decided that those girls would be the ones to kill us. One girl in particular who was probably 5'9 and the most graceful person on the rink. Her elbows popped the others on the tops of their heads, and her cross-overs were completely enviable. Ghetto Gorgeous, the other coach, acknowledged our gawks in her direction. "She couldn't even SKATE when she got here," she said. Little did Ghetto know that that statement was so full of hope for the rest of the white belts and I- knobby knees and all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Practice Started Yesterday!

How I acquired my gear:

Helmet: My friend Anthony promised he'd send me his old skateboard helmet in the mail. It arrived the day I returned from school, and I anxiously opened it- only to find that he had covered it in transparent porno stickers. He also took the time to include a money sign and the phrases "skate or die!" and "no fat dudes." I left the latter attached.

Knee/elbow/wrist pads: My awesome aunt bought me a set and sent a package to me which came just in time! I look goofy in everything naturally and I had some difficulty with my wrist pads (i.e. I had them on backwards for half of practice), but I'm really lucky to have such a great aunt.

Mouth guard: I stopped at Sports Authority and went home to boil my mouth guard. It was kind of weird because I've never actually owned my own; I used to play with my brother's when I was younger (i.e. stick it in dirt when he wasn't around) and I always sort of envied the fact that he had to have one. No longer: even after boiling that sucker it still fits me wonky and while I'm one of the shortest girls on the team I have one of the biggest mouth guards. Probably going to fix that sometime soon.

total cost (not including skates yet): $105.36
($5.36 for the mouth guard, $100 for the fees)

Practice began after all of the paperwork was in. We warmed up a bit and then started drills- which was the majority of what we did. We balanced on one leg, did the "grape vine" (which reminded me of intramural basketball practice when I was twelve), hopped on one foot, and walked while criss-crossing our legs- all on rollerskates.

The majority of the drills revolved around squats- you know, bending your legs in a chair-sitting position and holding it for a specific fragment of time. Urkin Jerkin', our coach, warned us in advance that our asses were going to hurt this week. If you think that squats are difficult to do without support for like, a minute, then I encourage you to attempt them while wearing rollerskates. It will open your eyes.

Urkin paired us each up with a derby alumna for a few of the drills. My Derby Sister was Iona Switchblade, who's been on the derby team since it began three years ago in Fort Collins. Iona helped me during some of the trickier drills, including one where we did "cross-overs" (crossing our right legs over on the turns) and formations (everyone is in single-file with their right hand on the person directly in front of her; it's like an Indian Run done backwards...and on rollerskates). Some of the exercises were confusing but after awhile I started to get comfortable.

At the end of practice we took off the skates and did jumping, more squats, jump-squat-push-ups and sprints. And yes, my ass hurts. But it's totally worth it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dun dun dun...

I scored a job as a nanny for the summer. The family is really nice so far and the kids are pretty spectacular. Prior to the interview I told myself that I wasn't going to tell them about my hobby, because I thought that they were going to be concerned that I'm a bruiser or something (I am).

Anyway, after our follow-up meeting this past weekend I feel pretty confident that we have both found the right matches for each other.

Family: Do you have any other commitments for this summer?
Me: Wellll...not really. I guess I've been rollerskating a lot..

They were intrigued. I told them all about the Fort Collins roller derby team and Tammy suggested that I take the kids to Rollerland sometime. So fun! Rollerskating city, population me and my charges.

Friday, May 2, 2008

the beginnin'

So here's the deal: I'm twenny, I'm a freshman in college (took a year off) and I just made the Fort Collins roller derby team, FoCo Girls Gone Derby. I figured I'd keep track of my progress or something because I'm starting off at the very bottom of the chain.

A few weeks ago tryouts were held at Rollerland. The coaches watched off to the side as we tried 'crossing over' when turning, did several stops (hockey stops- not my forte!!) and then an obstacle course- which I was not even kind of expecting. All of the potential derby girls skated off together, maneuvering around orange cones without lifting our legs, jumping over hockey sticks and, last but not least: skating underneath a limbo stick, squatting as low as we could. In addition to sweating buckets I had a blast, was a little sore and am more than excited about practices starting May 19th.

If you don't know what roller derby is, Wikipedia it! Keep reading this little guy as I continue my journey towards bouting in derby tournaments and registering my official derby name..I've got a long way to go.