Never say Never

I WILL NEVER PLAY ROLLER DERBY AGAIN AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

Tonight I made a tough decision. I say it was tough. It wasn’t really.

It was a snap decision, and as soon as I said it out loud it was like ripping off a plaster.

I won’t be bouting in September. I’m not going to play roller derby for a very long time. I’m not necessarily retiring from the sport. I’m just calling an official review.

I got hit in the face at practice tonight, twice. The second time I bust my lip and hurt my teeth. THE teeth. My poorly, dislodged-only-two-months-ago teeth. God I could have punched myself in the face I felt so frustrated over it. Why did I risk this?

It was completely unintentional of course, no one was out to get me. We were trying new stuff and my stupid face got in the way. But it really shook me.

I ran off crying like a MASSIVE GIRL, followed by our lovely ref Nick who calmed me down before watching me carefully remove my mouthguard and informing me everything looked o.k.

My lip had bled, I’d tasted the blood and touched it with my fingers… and FREAKED. I know us derby girls are tough – but there’s tough and then there’s just stupid. I am too superficial to lose two front teeth, so I’m throwing the towel in.

I know it seems like I’m being a princess (as Terri would say), but I don’t care.

Sven said I’m welcome back in the zebra huddle… it’s now my safe place.

I want my stripes back, now and for good.

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Look at my sexy fat lip :-/

Scrim time

This weekend has been a busy one.

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The NRG A and B team took on Liverpool’s A and B team in Liverpool. I announced both bouts with Manc Zappa, lovely lady – same dry sense of humour as me – we did a super job and I had a blast. NRG won both bouts, and scored 210 in both. WITCHCRAFT.

Then Sunday was the first co-ed training we’ve done in ages. Playing against the TAF I did wonder if I chose the right session to return to scrimmaging. Took a couple of face hits – completely unintentional of course – but these things happen when you’re pushing it. First thought was OH MY GOD MY TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETH. But they survived.

Felt weird not reffing, but I need to get my head back in the game in the run up to the MMR bout. Have to admit though, I’m looking forward to the final whistle of that bout, signalling my return to stripes. I want to learn everything I can and get in a closed bout by the end of the year.

WOW. You notice it when you’re back to normal training. JEES. I thought I’d kept my fitness up but two pops at jamming (in directed scrims… still not feeling totally ok with playing derby “proper” yet) and I was POOPED.

Good job I’m giving myself a solid month to train up for the MMR bout in September. Hope that it is enough to get me somewhere back up to where I was – skills wise.

Joined in with drills, and a bit of directed scrims, then reffed the proper scrims on both Wednesday and Thursdays sessions. Got some nice hugs and words from the girls who were glad to see me back jamming again… I have missed it, but I’m also aware I’m now two months behind everyone else. Playing catch-up is going to SUCK.

Derby or Die

Two months off playing competitive roller derby and tonight I’m back “on skates”.

Having dislodged two teeth, my dentist said it wasn’t advisable to mould a mouthguard when my teeth were still settling… and also to play a sport where you get banged about. So I spent the past two months training as a ref and generally working on the admin side of roller derby.

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This morning I moulded my mouthguard, bought for me by the wonderful MMR girls, Terri, Ella and Moose. I was slightly worried I’d end up pulling teeth out when I tried to remove it but they are FINE.

Training tonight. Nervous but excited. And sad to be (temporarily) leaving Team Zebra. I’m in training til the bout against MMR in September… and then I’m headed back to reffing for about 6 months.

Blow my whistle

Fox 40 has arrived. It is BEAUTIFUL.

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Colleagues at work have been on the emotional rollercoaster with me since I ordered it on the 6th. “Is it here yet Karen?” “NO, NO IT IS NOT”. But today it was. I’ve been told I’m not allowed to blow it in the office though. Bloody spoil-sports.

Tomorrow I’m allowed to join in with derby drills again. It feels weird. I emailed Sven to tell him, and he said he will love me a little less whilst I’m out of stripes, but promises to love me again when I return. I’m a bit nervous. I’ve kept up my fitness, but you miss a session you miss a LOT in derby and I haven’t skated with the girls since mid-June.

Handsignals – the basics

Helsinki Roller Derby ref squad explaining the basic handsignals in roller derby reffing.

Tonight I should be at NRG skills training. Instead I’m spending the evening watching reffing clips on youtube and practicing handsignals. They’re SURPRISINGLY HARD to remember – particularly when you’re trying to say things, blow a whistle, and keep skating at the same time.

This is one of the best videos I found for the handsignals, so I thought I’d share. If you know a better one, please please share it!

Pink or Blue?

Coaching meeting and skate practice today. Talked about some reffing stuff in the meeting – was nice to actually have a steer on it from the off-set rather than just having to minute *speak to Sven about this*.

Reffed the boys, then the girls. Called some stuff. It was good. Starting to get my voice. Still find it so so so much easier to ref the girls. Called a false start and a return to bench on the girls and they just take it. Love that. It helps that they know why I’m learning to ref and want to support me in it.

A month or so ago we did anonymous feedback sheets. Pink for positive and blue for the bits you need to work on. Nearly all my blue ones said that I need to work on my rules and derby knowledge.

They were so right.

If I had to write my own blue sheets it would say “grow some balls” – I pause too long with the guys. I need to just see it and call it.

Tooth Update 3 of 500

Dentist said things are looking much better than he expected. No colour change, no lumps.

He said I may still need work on them – but that he was feeling a lot more positive about them.

He said I can mould my new mouthguard on the 15th and get back on skates and in training for our bout against the MMR on 22nd September. Nearly hugged him.

So I told my Captain, and gave her my action plan. I like plans.

Now til 15th August – ref.
15th and 16th August – SKATE
17th August – ref (boy practice, and those guys are cray-cray)
18th August – announce at Liverpool bout. ANNOUNCE. Check me out!!
Then skate skate skate til 22nd September (MMR bout)
Then ref til the New Year.

I want to ref a closed bout by the end of the year, and ref an open bout in 2013. I’m aware those are pretty big targets, but I like to aim high.

WINNING

You know there are certain people in your life that you go to for specific things… and you trust them implicitly to know what you’re asking of them?

Had that thing tonight where I was right on something that they were wrong on, two of those people that are NEVER wrong on rules… and I said “actually…” and was RIGHT.

Yep. This is just me bragging. But man. I’m well chuffed.

(Also corrected a ref on a verbal cue, and a skater on the rules of a stop block… I’m aware pride comes before a fall, but I wear knee pads so it’s o.k.)