MDJ | Jan

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Monday 2/3/2020:

This was my first practice back on skates. I'm still having some pain from a rib injury that I sustained from coughing (of all things). After two weeks or more of missed practices, though, I was desperate to get wheels under me. I did not participate in warm-ups or any drills, but instead skated more leisurely around the outside of the track with the Skate School crew that was present. Emerson and I did do one modified drill on our own: we skated outside of the track for five minutes in a kind of "mock 27 in 5."

"27/5" or "27 in 5," is a skills test that all derby players must pass. Normally, we would skate as fast and efficiently as possible, within the track boundaries, for five minutes, in an attempt to achieve 27 or more complete laps. We skated much less vigorously, and each had to stop once or twice, but we both achieved 16 laps around the outside of the track boundary in our five minute time.

It definitely felt good to participate in practice again, even in such a limited capacity. I love watching my teammates grow and meet their goals. Somebody has a breakthrough or a momentous achievement at almost every practice, and it's invigorating. The happiness and determination when we're skating as a "family" is palpable and infectious. While I always end up sleeping soundly after a skate, unwinding from a good practice is simultaneously wonderful and tedious. Sometimes I'm up way too late on that "derby high." (Monday night was one of those nights)

Wednesday 2/5/2020:

On Wednesday, I was finally able to "get out of my own head," and feel excited about practice again. However, I was still lazy about getting my gear ready. There's a lot of gear and "stuff" that we need and use at each practice.

I carry my gear in a rolling bag made by Zuca. Zuca makes bags for skates and gear, as well as others. When I pack my bag for practice, I start with my helmet. I put a clean bandana and my wrist guards inside my helmet, and put my helmet in my bag, top-down. With my helmet slid all the way to the back of my bag, I can fit my elbow pads in front of it. They sit upright, with the shells/caps facing forward. I lay my knee pads on top of all of that, facing outward in opposite directions to be the most space efficient. Not everyone wears padded shorts in roller derby, but I usually do! I fold those once and slide them in on top of my knee pads. My bag has lots of smaller pockets, and I use those for my water bottle, SISU mouth guard, whistle, lip balm, markers, towel, extra socks, duct tape, tools... and anything else that could be useful during practice. Everyone carries something a little different in their derby bag!

I challenge my other Derby Journal writers to expose what's in their bags!!

After practice, pads tend to be a little sweaty on the inside. It isn't glamorous, but it's a part of the derby lifestyle. I try to always take my pads out of my bag between practices and allow them to dry out and "de-funk," by the dehumidifier. Then, before the next practice, I check to make sure that everything is dry and undamaged as I pack it all back into my bag.

Once I was able to collect my things and get moving this Wednesday, Emerson and I rode into August with Bae Harbor Butcher. I elected to skip warm-ups again on Wednesday, because I'm still having quite a lot of pain in my ribs. I did skate, though! This practice, I worked at my own pace. I practiced transitions (180 degree turns while moving), and turn & toe stops (180 degree turns, followed by a toe stop) with the group, and then continued to work on my left-hand/counterclockwise transitions while everyone started learning to hop. Hopping with swollen rib cartilage isn't the greatest time to be had.

I took my gear off after the group finished jumping drills (jumping over 6" cones while skating forward), and used my newest toy, a Canon EOS DSLR camera, to document practice for my teammates. I didn't stay for the Derby Basic portion of practice on Wednesday, but I'm hoping that I can meet my new personal goal of being mentally ready for contact when the next Derby Basic session begins, likely in March. Instead, Bae, Emerson, and I enjoyed some "breakfast for dinner," at Ihop on our way home.

The league has a practice scheduled for Sunday 2/9 that sounds fun and interesting. I hope to attend, but I may not be able to. Wishing everyone reading a lovely [week]! I look forward to writing next week's entry!


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