Finally got the pics.
There were 2 days of derby. 2 days of amazing action. I played 4 bouts in 28 hours.
Bout 1 = against the Killbillies. They are a very physical team. They hit and hit hard. And hit freqently. Their jammers are wiry and wiggly and hit as hard as their blockers. I jammed. (I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a jammer) But I jammed three jams. And I mostly was intending to just be a body and distract their blockers while my blockers kept their jammer from scoring too much. 2nd
Except their jammer got a penalty. And I had to work for it. And then the 2nd jam – I. GOT. LEAD. My teammates told me at the start of that jam that I’d get lead and I DID!!!
If you’re in any way aware of what happens in derby – that is a BIG thing for me. I got through the pack, I got lead, and I skated past my team and screamed as loud as I could… “I GOT LEAD!!!” I can’t even explain how fucking INCREDIBLE that felt. How EMPOWERING. How AMAZING. I got lead. I scored points. I called off the fucking JAM!
For this 255lb, non-athletic, feels like the last one picked for every sport, felt like she was going into the tournament as a liability, took me 3 years to fucking benchmark skater… HOLY FUCK I GOT LEAD!!!
If you’re new to derby… if you feel like you can’t do it… if you wonder if it’s worth it… that moment..that jam… made EVERY SINGLE PAIN worth it. The high I got when I broke through that pack, the feeling of being on top of the world… that was worth every moment, every struggle, and each of the 3 concussions I got.
Don’t quit. You’ll get there. I didn’t think I’d ever make it to the point of getting lead jammer. And I did.
And then the rest of the tournament happened. The 2nd game was good. I don’t remember any highlights except I enjoyed playing and I hurt more than I did the first time. All good.
Game three… 8.30am Sunday. Who does this? 8.30am? Seriously? I was feeling less a liability but still exhausted and wondered how I’d make it through the bout. Legs hurt. Ankles hurt. All the pains and cramps that I’ve suffered with in the last 6 months or so were there. And I worked through it. It was a good bout overall.
Bout 4? That… OMG.
We lost players. We had 6 players. You can’t play with 6 players. That’s 1 line and 2 jammers. It was unsafe. So we put a general call out to any and all players who might want to skate with us.
We ended up with 14? 15? on the bench. I lost track. But it meant we played every 3 jams. We sat for a few minutes. It was weird.
I found my line. Skimo and a couple others who’s names I’ve lost in derby high and derby crash.
We did awesome together. We found a groove and worked it. It wasn’t *always* effective, but I felt like I learned and grew as a blocker. I was able to push myself and try new things and work harder and my skills increased immensely.
My biggest success came as a result of Jeneral Carnage.
The first jam she was jamming and I was on the line… and she came up to me and hit me HARD. I fell, she jumped over me, stepped on my pinky finger and pulled a back blocking penalty. Not my intention… she just hit me THAT HARD.
Timing on the jams meant that it felt like every other time I was out on the track, she was my opposing blocker. The first time she showed up behind me after the back block…. I tried to avoid her. She’s strong, she’s fast and she’s a hard hitter.
Then I made a decision. It’s my spot. You can’t HAVE my spot. I am not giving UP my spot.
And once I made that decision, she didn’t knock me over again.
It’s not that she didn’t try. She did. And she pushed HARD against my line. But we held her. Maybe not for long, but we did. I know there was at least once or twice where she hit me and I didn’t move. Screw that. You’re strong. You’re hard. You’re better than me but I WILL NOT MOVE.
And I didn’t.
I didn’t care about the score. What I cared about was that if Jeneral Carnage was jamming and tried to get past me, or move me out of my spot… I was NOT letting it happen. And by the end of the bout, I think she was trying me less… but I can’t remember, it all started to be a blur at the end.
I succeeded at my goal for that bout.
Last amazing thing that happened? Right at the end… last jam of the game… and I’m the blocker on the inside line. Jammer is coming up fast. I get in the way on the apex of the inside line… my fellow blocker pushes me closer to the line and just as I can sorta “feel” the jammer trying to jump the apex and get past me? I stuck my ass out.
I hit in just the right spot to hurt me and watching her on the track after it “appeared” that I hurt her. I found out later that her attempts to get up, then fall down, then get up, then fall down were more of a communciation issue with her bench. I haven’t talked to her but I have talked to her coach and another player and she wasn’t hurt (at least not enough to worry about – we all take hard hits).
But I stopped an apex jump with my ass. Clean hit. It worked. It was awesome.
Fuck the weekend was amazing. If I stop and think about it… I’m still on a high. I’m still amazed at how I felt going in and how I felt coming out. I feel like I challenged myself, like I increased my skill, like I grew in leaps and bounds this weekend. It was SO amazing.
And tonight… I worked out. I think I’m excited to be fit and strong and get better at roller derby. I’ll add a picture to this as soon as one is posted that I like (there is one, but really it shows the jammer breaking through me and teammates and that’s not the one I want to share with the world. One with the star on my head would be amazing)
But life… life was amazing this weekend.
And the derby crash is real. Really real.
Fuck it. I’ll post the one picture of me and replace it later 😛 I do wonder what CeeCee was thinking at that moment though.. 😉
All photos by Herb Martin