Dusty, Busty, Musty Old English Teachers, The Stresses Of A Ref And Looking Like Wallace & Grommit!



Dusty, Busty, Musty Old English Teachers, The Stresses Of A Ref And Looking Like Wallace & Grommit!

This is my 11th Blog for Roller Derby UK. That’s about 15000 words so far! Nearly enough for my book! (I like to aim high) Just maybe!?

New Best Seller!?!!? (does my arm look big in this!?)

I never thought that I would actually enjoy writing every week. I guess it helps to be passionate about the subject, but to be honest with you, I was put off taking my English education any further than the school gates when I was younger. My best friend and I spent most of the time shut in the stationary cupboard by our English teacher!

She thought she was punishing us but we didn’t half have fun in that cupboard which became our second home! There was a T.V (which didn’t work, much to our dismay, as our lesson was bang on neighbours time after lunch) There was also a window so pretending we had been kidnapped, we wrote messages on scraps of paper for the gardeners outside whilst looking forlorn!

One thing that I wouldn’t swap for the world, was how much of a solid friendship could be build in a stationary cupboard, so thank you Mrs B for the excellent lessons in comeradery and how sticking together through thick and thin, laughing together right in the face of adversity, can strengthen you more than you know! Friends that play together, stay together.

This concept of fun in English and our English lessons seemed to have been missed when Mrs B was trained how to teach. I remember being singled out in class and laughed at by her and the other children when we were told to bring in a book by a poet that we liked. I took in my Spike Milligan poetry. This apparently, according to her WAS NOT REAL POETRY and to GO AWAY AND FIND A PROPER POET! at the time we were learning about old fuddy duddy, dusty, stale poetry that no one could relate to, or understand. We all hated it and dreaded the lessons. Now I know she was wrong, very wrong, not just a bit wrong but as wrong as the wrongest person could be! (with bells on)

At that age you believe what your teachers tell you and I left that day feeling stupid, intimidated and undermined. This made the stationary cupboard even more appealing, so hanging out in there seemed like a better option all round really.

I’m still best friends with my stationary friend (and we still laugh in the face of adversity together to this day)

A Silly Poem

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I’ll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B?

By Spike Milligan (1918-2002)

Laughing in the face of adversity is important in Derby because it’s hard. You will experience tough situations with your team mates where you don’t agree. Whether it’s about a rule, tactic or move, everything you do makes you stronger, tougher and a better Derby player. You’re in a team now and you get through it just like a family does. How you deal with it also makes you a tougher, stronger and better Derby player on and off the track. It brings you closer to your team mates and helps you move forward into the battle together.

I was amazed at how much talking goes on in Derby and how much of a mental twist it can create, sometimes when your not looking.

When you see Roller Derby for the first time it looks exciting, but also energetic, fast and rough. I had no idea there were so many technical ways to play it and how much talking, pontificating and sometimes heated discussion goes on behind the scenes. I sometimes wonder whether this is because we’re women? Du Du Duuuuuu! (dramatic music… possible sexist comment …from a women?!!)

If you have been in any sort of a relationship, you realise how much talking, thinking and questioning a women does compared to a man. They say that a woman speaks 20 000 words a day against a mans 7 000 (broadly speaking of course as I expect stat man doing his announcing would have something to say about this one and a woman working in a library may fudge the statistic somewhat!)

After being around Derby players enough now I realise that’s how we become better players as individuals and become the best our team can be. We battle it out on the track physically but also go head to head into battles mentally. This makes us stronger as a team and in the end we always end up laughing in the face of adversity.

I do sometimes feel sorry for our main ref who is sometimes the only man to even the hormones out in the room. His real life wife is generally playing too, but he must feel sometimes like he has 20 others too! This is one of the reasons why I hold massive respect for the refs in Derby! (yes before you say it, I know there are female refs too but generally that’s the set up in our training and I am just making a point here about my own personal experiences to date!)

So about that Fresh Meat I was attending with S.W.A.T!………………It was going really well. I had upped my training to include 2 extra days a week (above the allocated Fresh Meat day) as we were now allowed to train with the big girls for two more days a week! This I found invaluable as gradually we learnt more skills. We were introduced to more aspects of the game and we were building up to hitting (as I mentioned in Blog no.10)

This part still filled me with fear to be honest. I seemed to be good at the skating stuff, agility, endurance etc when skating alone, but hitting was another thing altogether and actually coming into contact with someone. Firstly in Fresh meat we had a session when we had to kick each others skates while skating in a pack (a pack is what it’s called when you see the Derby Players skating around the track close to one another in Derby stance) This technique sounds awful but like most Fresh Meat sessions this was to get us used to something beneficial for future use and to introduce us to what it feels like to be skating close to another Derby player. At the end of the day this is a very big part in the game!

By this time we needed mouth guards. This was getting serious now! I remember having a lot of fun with this part of the game when I had to purchase one!

I ended up, not with a gummy pair of teeth from Tescos, but a lovely white Protech Dent one from 5thBlocker Skates in Glasgow. At the time I couldn’t find a white one for love nor money but I found a pack of 2 here (cheaper if you buy a 2 pack and split with a Fresh Meat team mate!) The guy sent them down in less than 24 hrs! now that’s service. I had fun moulding it to my teeth (you need to pour boiling water on to it and then press it around your teeth for the perfect fit. I fitted mine first time, but some of the girls had to give it a couple of goes, which is fine as it just goes floppy again every time you make it hot! I do love my mouth guard and it’s a perfect fit but sometimes I do see myself in photos and think I look like Wallace or Grommit with an Ardman smile! Maybe a purple one next time in team colours or a metallic gold one! ……..Now your talking!

So back to the hitting. We started doing what’s called Hip Checks gradually knowing what it was like to feel another player make contact with you. You swing your hip out and back in to your opponent as it’s a weak point and can shift them off balance if done correctly. I did find that my brief brush with Burlesque dancing helped here as its a lot like the hip pop that you learn. I told this to Nursey (Nurse Grudge) and I got “The Look”. I get that a lot in Derby now! Kind of a sideways Are you for real? kind of a look!

My Freshies and I did have a laugh when we tried this at first as we were all missing each other when we tried to swoop in. Timing and balance is everything! Gradually one out of several hits we would get it right and when you do, you can feel the power that this move has.

 

 

We had a long way to go but we were all feeling just a little more Derby after that session! We left with a grin on our faces and a spring in our step.  Yet again our Fresh Meat session had made our week which was becoming a regular occurrence!

Next week I’ll start to tell you about the elusive Derby name and how we all started to wonder who we would become!

Derby Love! (to everyone reading my blog, my team, family and friends and everyone I met shooting Scartoon Network with Roller Derby City last week!)

Chat Soon.

Flash Bo-Dash





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