Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moving by Micro-Steps...

Yes, moving to 'dork-dom,' micro-steps at a time.
“Humbling” is the word that continues to characterize my derby experiences thus far.

And last night was no exception as I arrived for our short practice night, tired but ready to give what I had. It was a nice change from the feeling last practice when I was simply dreading going, fighting myself all the way until arriving and, get this, having a great time. But this night I was in better spirits and arrived ready to go.

Of course, the night of our short practice is also the night that the Brats and the Bombers are practicing at the rink too so my family was all in attendance. With our vast and varied schedules, it was kind of nice to all be in the same place, if but for a little while. And as I geared up (I’m getting faster!) and headed to the floor, my wife joined me for a few laps (okay, she lapped me a few times) while she tried out a different pair of skates.

This was one of the more humbling moments of the evening as we attempted to carry on a bit of a quick conversation, catching up on our respective days as we skated. My wife was smooth and fluid and probably could have juggled chainsaws without batting an eye as we coasted our way around the track. I, on the other hand, was focused and still ended up feeling like Bambi stepping out onto the frozen lake, my legs constantly threatening to slip out from underneath me. It required Cracker Jack concentration for me to stay on task.

And when I got cocky, thinking I could actually carry on a conversation at the same time, well, let’s just say that FallRisk lived up to his name.

Soon after warm-ups, which for me are still just trying to limp around the track as many times as possible and with as little embarrassment as possible, and some stretching (I’m not entirely sure my body was ever meant to bend some of the ways that Malice asks us to), ProseHack skated over with a new implement of torture.

This tool was essentially something of a long, day-glo padded stick that left me feeling like a really happy Darth Maul. In actuality, it was two pool floats strapped together around some type of dowel or pole and it was to be used to help us develop our crossovers. I’m sure it’s a great tool and I did my best with it but, c’mon; did I really need help in looking any goofier than I already do?

But I tried, skating around and doing my best to keep the pole parallel to the track on the turns but still found it to be pretty difficult. I think part of me was more worried about dropping the pole and skewering myself on it. Of course, I’d have to be going somewhat fast for that to happen and, well, let’s just say that that’s not an issue just yet.

And soon, we were brought into the fold of the bigs, providing human obstacles for them to skate around and then getting to do it ourselves as well, learning to keep our pack together and to communicate. I learned that I have a long ways to go on all fronts but the opportunity to try was nice and worthwhile. And it was nice to show that we have some semblance of intimidation, skating past a tucked and rolled Vorpal who feared for his life with us rookies rolling by.
Lastly, Padron pulled us all together for a big pack drill, challenging us to work on staying together, keeping our feet, and, to some degree, working together. Told to ensure that we were touching two people at all times, things started off okay but, after some time when he began calling random skaters to skate to the front, things began to get shaky. And when Small Block, who had in essence become my tow truck as I languished at the back of the pack, was called up, I quickly succumbed to trying to overcompensate for my lack of speed and busted.

But it was a graceful bust, if I do say so myself.

And the rest of the night, what was left of it, largely found us on the sidelines, learning some strategy from the bigs while they fleshed things out. Even in those moments I found myself humbled, scratching my head at all the intricacies of this seemingly simple game that I at one time through I understood.

Yes, I’ve got a long ways to go but, one practice at a time, I’m getting better and better. In some ways, they’re micro-steps but they’re micro-steps in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for right now.

Maybe one day I’ll be the one lapping my wife…

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