A Slab Of Fresh Meat, A Pinch Of Memory Loss & A Dash Of Durometer
It was Fresh Meat day!!!!!! Yes yes yes!!!!
I had been waiting all month for this day and it was finally here. I was going to one of the first induction days with The South West Angels of Terror to see if I liked Derby! (and not just wearing the fishnet tights) If I did I would go on to attend their 12 week training course and become a proper Derby Girl!
I was scared, excited, anxious and ecstatic but overall my feelings were buzzing! That day I felt electric like I had an energy running through me! (no Redbull required!)
It’s usual before I go for a run, go to the gym or do any sort of exercise, that I start to get pepped up when I put my Nike Drifit capris and kit on! My body must start to prepare itself for what’s ahead (or what I am going to put it through more like!) Today this happened more-so and by the time I had to leave for Fresh Meat, It was almost like I was on Speed! (Never done speed but I think it must be like this!) I was so excited I was nearly exploding.
*Note: I have learnt this happens to me a lot when attending Derby as my team mates have experienced various forms of me running round and jumping up and down like a little kid with a new lollypop! I try not to let it spill out too much but inevitably it overflows into the wider world and onto my Derby teammates! (Sorry guys!)
Now for some reason my mind is clear about the days leading up to this event but it’s a bit strangely it’s a bit foggy here! The only thing I can put this down to is pure adrenalin fog! I don’t remember what it was like to walk in, put my pads on, what we did first, who I met or what we talked about! Bit unhelpful really as this is a blog to talk about my experiences as a rookie, but you will probably have picked up on by now, I am very honest and will tell it as it happened!……..
So what do I remember????
Putting my new skates on and trying them out? Nope! Trying out my pads with the pink stars? Nope. How about feeling like a Derby Girl with the proper kit on? Nope Nope Nope! Nothing! Must have been nerves, or excitement! Totally gone from my memory bank! One day in the future when we can plug in our brains into a memory bank I would like to download the day and see what it was like! Or if anyone can enlighten me who was there on that day!
This I do recall!
Every S.W.A.T girl was told to pick a partner. Meeting Flay Wray, Skater no.1912. Flay was a tall elegant skater who I’d met briefly at the Recreational skate. She wore a bubble gum pink helmet with flames on that matched her skates. Totally yummy design! We were told to skate around in pairs and taught about the T-stop. I knew about this from my You Tube experiences! Earlier in my blogs I explained I had to teach myself to stop as I was frequently crashing into benches, seagulls and old people along the seafront wearing my outdoor skates, so I had experience of the said T-stop outside.
Trying it out on the sports hall floor with my indoor wheels was nothing other than dreamy! Instead of juddering to a stop as I had done at the rec skate, wearing my outdoor skates, I now glided gracefully(ish) to a stop! What a result! It was so much easier. This was my first experience of kit geekery.
Derby Dictionary: KIT GEEK
Description:- Someone who is passionate (to the point of obsession) about Derby kit and finding the right tools for the job. This, in my experience so far, is most Derby Girls! Always an upgrade needed! This person can happily talk for hours about Derbyness and bore the socks off anyone not from the world of Derby! Conversations in my experience are best executed between fellow Derby Geeks to avoid loss of friendship or in some cases strangulation by non Derby related friends!
So why were these wheels so different I wondered? I was soon to discover the world of the Durometer (how wheel squidge is measured) the higher the Durometer number of the wheel, the harder it is, making it faster. The lower the number the more squidge it has making it more grippy. Very low Durometers are used on outdoor skates (e.g 79’s) whereas my new indoor skates were a 94a.
I remember Vampy saying that some of the girls favoured grippier wheels in one of the sports halls they used for training as the floor was more slippery. This made much more sense to me now (little did I know at the time that the simple Durometer was going to play a big part in my wheel obsession as I am passionate about getting the right tool for the job!
My past as a graduate, BA (hons) in Contemporary Craft and Design, had programmed me to appreciate materials. The manipulation of substances to form the best possible end product had made me a little obsessive about design, materials and use (and I don’t mind admitting it! I was a bit like the equivalent in the design & materials world to a train spotter without the anorak)
Many an hour was spent at Uni visiting new process plants and experimenting with various moulds and materials to create what was in my head. Little did I know then, my knowledge would help me in the world of Derby geekery!
The next thing Flay and I tried when skating round the track was a plough stop. This is somewhat like skiing where you stop by pressing your skates into a triangle shape, back heal out, toes in towards each other and press outwards. The force dependent on pressure, makes you stop. This took a bit of mastering as my toes kept hitting each other and tripping me up! After a bit of practice and shifting in weight I realised that the skates could bring me to a convenient stop. So the first thing we learnt was how to stop and I had achieved this with help from a proper Derby Girl (which I thought was awesome!)
Something I do recall was being introduced to our Fresh Meat trainer S.Mousey (Danger S.Mouse player no. 1/2) and she was to play a big part in my early Derby life! Her coaching skills were to get me through Fresh meat (hopefully!) I do remember this day being a lot of fun and a real taster of Derby, meeting and skating with the girls and being told what lay ahead if we were to come back!
The final task of the day was to take up the track. This had been marked out in an oval and defined using masking tape. At the beginning of every training session, it’s laid by our fabulous (and patient) Ref ‘Tee Hee’ no.LOL) We all got onto our hands and knees and started to peel up the tape in another team building ritual (one of many derby rituals that are done religiously!)
I remember thinking how lovely it was to have knee pads on as I could pull myself across the floor on them. To my dismay though I looked down and all my pink stars had been rubbed off!!!! Where had they gone?! I sheepishly looked behind me expecting to see a pink trail across the shiny sports hall floor, but the pinkness was nowhere to be seen! The fairies must have taken them I thought! I have no idea where they went, but I came to the conclusion that as Derby Girls spend a lot of time skidding on their knees, they wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. I have to say though I was a little disappointed as I paid extra for the pink staryness!!!!! Take note TSG: Tougher printing materials needed maybe? Just because were girls who like pink stars, doesn’t mean we don’t need them to be as tough as us!
This first session although hazy with excitement, fear and adrenaline, had taught me something that I do remember though, that Derby would be in my life for a very very long time!
Speak next week!
Flash Bo-Dash xxx
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