Our last bout (of the season)
Last night was my derby team’s last home bout of the season. I’m kid of sad I didn’t get to skate in it–I was working as a penalty tracker instead, due to my lack of uniform and swollen knee from a practice earlier in the week–but it was a proud game. We were playing our first WFTDA-ranked team (WFTDA = Women’s Flat Track Derby Association; teams in that ranking are recognized by the association as being teams that play by the rules, rather than teams that are just starting out or are in the sport more for the theatrics commonly associated with it than for the athleticism). I’m not entirely sure on the final score, but I know we won by almost 100 points! Granted, our team is not a WFTDA team, although that is our goal, so playing this team was a big step in that direction. As such, we were getting tossed into the penalty box left and right. All the hype about how good that team is and how hard they hit had some of our players pretty psyched out, but they all came together and stomped it! Although that was our last bout of the season, we will still be participating in scrimmages until the new season begins in February 2013.
I didn’t know about the scrimmages until last night. Given that I am relatively new to the sport, this excites me, because people I know have been bugging me ever since I started, wanting to know when I will be playing, and not understanding that, because I was “fresh meat”–and subsequently took a two-month-long leave of absence due to being inundated with work, trying to move, and update my skates and gear–I didn’t really have enough practices in me to qualify for bouting. Now that there will be scrimmages, I can finally play, and invite people to watch. Hopefully I won’t get horribly inured or something in my first scrimmage.
When I first joined the team back in February, my goal was to become a jammer. Finally, a few weeks ago, we were having practice and all but one of our jammers skipped that night, leaving only one exhausted jammer to do all the drills. Oh, in case you don’t know what a jammer is, it’s the skater everyone is “after.” In bouts, she wears a star on her helmet, and her job, along with the opposing jammer, is to “break through” the pack of skaters and make laps around skaters of the opposing team. The first jammer to break through the pack without being knocked out of bounds becomes “lead jammer,” which gives her the sole ability to “call off” the jam. After the initial lap around, the jammer gains a point for her team for every opposing teammate she passes, including ones who are sitting in the penalty box. Typically, jammers are relatively small girls; they have to be fast, and able to break through “walls” of big, tough chicks.
I went off on a tangent there. So, the practice where I became a jammer was one where only one of our team’s jammers showed up, and we were doing a drill that was basically leaving only her to jam every time (in bouts, jammers typically rotate, to avoid exhaustion). I was blocking for the first half of practice drills, and, after looking at our jammer and noticing the excessive amount of pink-faced huffing she was doing, said to our coach, “I wanna try to jam one round!”
“Well, I’m sure Slam would like a break, if you want; just ask her.”
I ended up getting to jam for the rest of practice–rotating with Slam, of course. It was a blast. For all subsequent practices, that has been my position. Now I just need to get my endurance up by running in my free time, but, since I’m such a wimp when it comes to heat, and since I live in Florida and we are nearing the end of a record-breaking hot summer, I will wait until it cools off a bit to try that, since there’s no way I’m motivated enough to wake up before the sun rises on my day off, when I have to be up at 5 AM for work al week.