Friday, January 4, 2013

We Got Skills!

"You want us to do what?!"
I really hate the way my mind works.

I’d spent the better part of the day dreading the coming of practice that night. I’d moaned and groaned internally before finally giving voice to it as I shared a few moments with my family at the house before we all headed out to go.

“I just don’t feel like going,” I pleaded.

“Well, you just need to figure out whether or not you’re going to do it and do it or do something different and help from the sidelines,” retorted my wife, in her direct fashion.

Listening to her wisdom (remember that fellas, listen to your wives and significant others!) I reluctantly, grumbling, pulled on my shorts and way-cool “FallRisk” t-shirt (a Christmas gift) and joined the fam on our way to practice.

And damn it if I’m not glad I did.

I’d later share with my wife my frustration over the angst that my mind puts myself through in getting to practice. I’m not sure whether or not it’s anxiety, fatigue, fear, or whatever but just about everything within me resists getting my ass to practice. But once I’m there? Well, I actually do have fun sometimes.

And this night much of that credit goes to ProseHack who decided that, since it was the beginning of the year, to put us through our paces and do some assessment. Now, my early inclination was to assert that I in fact could save her some time in determining my skills; I simply have none.

Turns out I might have spoken a bit out of turn.

Because I think all three of we rookies surprised ourselves as we were ran through varying skills from knee drops, double knee drops (yes, to the uninitiated, there is a difference), T-stops, snowplows (yeah, I still can’t do those, stepping, and skating backwards as well as in a non-derby direction (which is simply evil and wrong). And while there were some challenges (that non derby-direction skating, snowplows, and skating backward continue to be the bane of my existence) there were actually a few small triumphs as well.

For one, knee drops are a cakewalk. Sign me up for intentionally falling down and getting up any day. Perhaps it’s the massive amount of experience I’ve already had in falling and needing to get back up but these I rocked, if I do say so myself.

But the most compelling thing we were asked to do was, at the outset, the most challenging.
“You’re not gonna like this, FallRisk,” said ProseHack, with a wicked glimmer in her eye.
And while the concept of it was a little intimidating, the results were surprisingly positive. What we were asked to do was, initially, from a standing position, jump. Sounds simple, right? I mean, toddlers do this; why not us? Oh, I forgot; we’re on skates! Skates, people!

And sure enough, FallRisk’s first attempt found him practicing his well-honed skill of getting back up off the floor again. But the second, third, and attempts beyond found growing confidence and greater air with each leap. The same, minus the fall (my fellow rookies continue to show me up!) was to be said for Trouble and Wil Power as they hopped, hopped, hopped alongside me, the three of us looking like a deranged application line for the Easter bunny.

But then the challenge deepened.

“It’s actually easier this way,” said ProseHack, that glimmer in her eye winking at us, as she illustrated what she wanted us to do next, which was making those jumps while rolling.

Sure, we can do that.

But we did! No falls and only one slight moment of sheer terror as the confidence continued to build and we finally took a break with some renewed fervor in our hearts and spirits.

At least that’s how I felt. Even as I lamented yesterday on my frustrations of the sport, running through these various skills test to see what I really am capable of, which is so far from where I was just a few months ago, really helped to provide a sort of adrenaline boost to my self-confidence and self-esteem. And, as we finished out the evening watching a spirited scrimmage among the bigs, it reminded me that we were slowly getting closer and closer to our goal of joining their ranks one day.

I’m sure I’ll have more moments of frustration and discouragement but, for today, I’m gonna bask in the glory of getting my skates up off the ground, on purpose…J


  1. You all did so well last night! And the jumping thing, well, I owe Pimp Squeak (of the Hitmen of Manatee County) a great deal of gratitude. When he coached the Bradentucky Bombers I too was afraid to do some things. He had set up some orange cones that were about ten to twelve inches high for the skaters to jump over. I was NOT going to do it. Then he told me if I didn't do it, I should take my skates off and leave practice. So I sucked it up and did what I was told. Much to my surprise, I could do it! More than that, I liked it! Yes, I fell a few times, but it was thrilling and changed my confidence in a huge, huge way! I figured if I could go airborne, I could do anything. Good job stepping out of your comfort zone last night. Now we can learn the fun stuff!

  2. It was a good push, for sure! And it was one I'm glad you gave us. I'm definitely (and it's not like you haven't realized this yet but...) someone who needs those little pushes, those little challenges and friendly nudges. And that was a pretty fun one. And it's like I said on someone else's FB post today, I'd much rather jump any day rather than skate the wrong way; that's just ridiculous!