This weekend the Light City Derby women’s team will compete in the Great Southern Slam (TGSS). I was reluctant to nominate myself for the team as last time the team was put together the captain took a personal dislike to me and blocked me on Facebook. Most team communication was over Facebook so I couldn’t read any posts she started as captain. I also couldn’t read any comments she made. I assume she made quite a few as conversations would suddenly stop making sense as I was reading them. In the end, I quietly withdrew myself from the team and spent last TGSS cheering the team on from the sidelines.
There are other reasons too. A big one is that I find it hard to connect with some of the women in my club. I guess I don’t connect with some of the men either but I don’t expect to whereas I feel a kind of emptiness when a group of women are standing nearby and I’m too shy to join them. I don’t come across as shy so I it must look like I’m snubbing them and so the cycle continues.
Anyway, I did put my hand up and I did make the team so here we are eight weeks later anxiously counting down the days to the first game.
I had a few goals coming into this eight week period:
1. Do an off skates work out 5 nights per week
2. Shift from using my shoulders to hit to using my hips
3. Be a calm voice providing reassurance and advice on the track.
I achieved none of those goals.
Instead, I watched some women around me blossom. I’d like to share four of them with you.
Kodeine Kitty #55
Kitty applied herself wholeheartedly to training (even training with various leagues in the UK while on a short holiday). She committed 100% to every drill – sometimes literally 110% and we had to tell her to stop chasing the poor terrified jammer and reset for the next drill. She also took on a leadership role as co-captain of the team and made herself available to me to talk about managing the blockers. In that time, her offensive blocking (and blocking in general) amped up amazingly. I love this woman’s attitude and I’m privileged to have watched it pay off. If you come to watch us on the weekend, keep an eye on Kitty whenever offensive blocking is needed and watch her spring into action.
Gotchu also took on a leadership role as co-captain. She is a generally reserved person and a newish member to the league but she took on the role with gusto, chairing a meeting with us all to get us all aligned on goals and constantly communicating with us all on Facebook. Gotchu was already a great jammer (and blocker incidentally) and she maintained this throughout the training period. If you’re coming to watch us you won’t be able to keep your eyes off Gotchu when she jams.
Bad Wolf #221B
Wolfie is the sixth reserve for the team and because of this basically never had a chance of getting a go on the day so she had no reason to commit herself to the team. I think in the end she attended more training sessions in the last eight weeks than any other woman on the roster. I love playing with her on the track. She’s fierce, fast and switched on. I’m bloody glad that she’s a Reggie so I get to play with her in home team games. If you’re coming to watch us this weekend you’ll miss out on admiring her skills this time so make sure you attend the Regimental Rollers vs Medic Mayhem game on 25 June 2016.
Billie Verdin #8
Ah Billie, she holds a special place in my heart. Billie and I aren’t even really friends. We don’t have each other’s mobile numbers and we have probably only ever PMed each other a handful of times. We don’t hang out together outside of derby and we don’t have deep and meaningfuls after training. Billie comes across as fiery (I guess aggressive to some people) and I think some people might even be a bit afraid of her. I got to know her when we both went to men’s nationals a few years ago and she is a passionate, empathetic woman. I feel protective of her and see her as a kind of little sister at training. A friend and teammate told her eight weeks ago that if she wanted to be competitive at TGSS she needed to stop being a “lazy bitch”. I certainly don’t endorse this kind of “motivation” but it worked. Billie brought an intensity to training that I’m in awe of. She refused to call off any jam, building her endurance and resilience. She purposely avoided taking easy gaps, instead constantly challenging herself to get around the most high level blockers in our league. And her development reflected this. I’ve never seen any established player improve so much in eight weeks. She achieved all this while still hanging on to her habit of dragging her toe behind her to stop. So, let’s just say I’m 99% blown away and 1% highly irritated. If you’re coming to watch us, sit close to the line so you can enjoy Billie’s mad skills and also her running commentary.
Photos by Wolfie.
Who inspires you? Comment below.