Sunday, September 29, 2013

Duct Tape...you can never have enough

What's this?  
It's the start of something big!
 
We had to go another day without a formal practice, but that's okay.  Monday night was our first night at the warehouse (seriously...we need a cool name for our clubhouse!).  We swept, measured, chalked and one of us even did some patchwork on the concrete floor all night!
But, it's a big job.  It carried over into Friday's practice.  More patchwork for Concrete Jen...

...official taping of the track for me and Lynne.

Although the floor is still not exactly dust free (I think we're gonna need a little mopping action before official practices can start), and there was a lot of wet concrete to dodge, those of us who were there that night (50% of the group was 'the Jens'!) couldn't help but throw our gear on!
Of course, someone had to keep patching the floor! 
(Sorry, Jen! But you're a beast with the 'crete!)
There are some challenging areas of the floor, but we figure it will just make us better skaters if we can skate on these crazy floors!  We have so much room, compared to where we've been that I am chomping at the bit to get back in there and have a 'real' practice!  One where we get there, gear up and start practice.  Not one where we get there, sweep the entire floor and/or mark out a rough area of track and then start practice.  
This is going to be heaven!  
What I love about this group is that even when only a handful of us are there, and we are forced to be quiet because they are recording a jazz concert for the community television station in the room next to us, we still have a blast!  Even though we are in a dust cloud, and rolling out roll after roll of duct tape on our hands and knees, and patching up cracks in the floor...we still have a blast!  
Silent roller skate dance party, while listening to some kick ass jazz next door?  
Yes, please!
(sorry, no video or pictures of that...you'll have to take my word that it was magical!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drum roll, please...

Here she is...Miss Amer....wait...
IT'S OUR NEW HOME!
Last night's practice was not a practice at all.  Well, that's not entirely true, actually!  We had a lot of practice laying a flat track roller derby track!  Our new building is awesome (located with the help of Laura, team realtor.)  It's also challenging.  There is plenty of room for the track with loads of extra space; however, it is also split down the middle with large metal support beams.  Not a big deal, we just have to measure the track and re-measure the track until we get it in a position where there are no poles directly in the track.  That doesn't seem too tricky, except that the floor isn't particularly smooth in a few places, so we'd also like to use the smoothest area of the floor.
I am not complaining!  
I really hope it doesn't seem like I am because I am so thrilled to finally feel like we can stop wandering the streets of Cape Cod in search of a place to dig our heels, or rather, dig our toe stops in!

So, I spoke of some rough patches on the floors...
Luckily, we have Jen (DreamReaver)!  Our very own concrete girl!

We still have some work to do...like more patch work on the floor, officially laying our permanent track (right now, it's still just a chalk outline), and making it our cozy home.
We're already comfortable having snack time!

In other, personal news:  due to my visiting family, resulting in major lack of skate time, I have not skated in a week.  I couldn't go another week, so Kristy (Gutsy Flora) and I went to a park for some outdoor skating before we set off to clean up the warehouse (we need a cool name for our club house!).  The basketball courts were full, so we decided to skate the trails.  A mile and a half, she thinks, we skated.  However, it was full of hills!  Going up I was reminded how out of shape I have become.  Sad.  Going down the hills...as in 'this plow stop is not working and I'm completely out of control'...was particularly frightening for me.  But I did okay.  Until the very last hill...that ended in a curve...that would most definitely be my demise.
So, I threw myself off the trail and onto the soft, cool, grassy shoulder.  Ahhh! I survived with just a few grass stains on my right knee pad and penguin knee-hi.  In the meantime, Kristy was curious why I was no longer behind her!  When I caught up and we began our last few yards of trail, I realized the my sweatshirt pouch was emptied of my keys and sunglasses!  Back up the hill...
I found my keys, so perfectly resting in the grass as if I had set them there myself, next to my glasses.  Nothing was broken...on me or my sunglasses!

It will be nice not to have to search out a place to skate.  It will be nice not wondering if there will be enough room for everyone to skate at once.  It will be nice to not have to mop up puddles with spare diapers.  And, it will be nice to not feel like I've been changing oil filters all day, when practice is over.  
I am happy...this team is happy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Derby: it's taking over.


My life really has become 50% work, 40% roller derby, 10% everything else (sorry Hubby!). 
My awesome new helmet decal!!
Obviously, work takes up most of my time...it's how I am able to eat, play, and have a roof over my head.  But, when I say that it is what allows me to 'play', I mean, I would do whatever I had to do, to pay for roller derby!  It's such a huge part of my life right now, I am swimming in it!  Work is just a necessity to continue along this road.

I was elected head of the training committee some time ago.  I was shocked and flattered...and scared to death.
 How am I going to lead this group?  I have no more experience than any of them; and, less skating ability than some.  I was co-captain of my school's colorguard until my senior year when I was (finally!) captain, but that is my only experience leading a team.  I mean, I've had supervisor positions at a number of my jobs, but it is a whole other ball game trying to lead a group/team in a sport that is totally new to me and everyone involved.
So, as a team, we pull together.  I think they are all doing a fabulous job of encouraging (and humoring) me.  It is obvious that our team spirit and mentality is spot on!  I really am just there to make sure there is some structure and plan, and that things go relatively smoothly for each 2 hour practice.
Everyone pitches in, and I love it when I am stuck trying to explain yet another drill that I have no right teaching and someone else is able to step up and offer some guidance.
It's a family...no one sinks; no one flounders.

The usual state of our space at the start of practice.
We're still in our cozy little 'boat hanger' at the harbor.  The past few practices, we've pulled up to a nearly empty building.  All we need to do is sweep up the dirt and we're good to go.
 But then we get some rain, and puddles form.  So, what do we do?
 We pull out whatever absorbent things we have in our cars...even if it's a couple diapers or a dog blanket.  Unfortunately, there's oil mixed in that water sometimes, so no dogs will be using that blanket again.
Our last practice was a challenge.  Two big puddles, two parked cars, a huge fork lift they use to move boats, and a golf cart missing its two front wheels.  But, we pressed on.  We swept around the puddles.  The blanket from last practice was still balled up in the corner...so we used it again.  We put a call out to one of the girls, still on her way in, to pick up some paper towels (we totally should have shot some video to send to Viva paper towels...amazing!!).  And, Voila! a clean(-ish), dry floor.  Skating around cars has become the norm for us, so it was 'game on'.

I am a planner.  I try to have practices mapped out when I get there so we can lace up, warm up, and get crackin'.  Well, we had a new skater this time, and I felt bad that she was not getting much actual skating in, so we decided to switch it up...which, I will admit, threw me off a little.  But, once again, we pulled together and made it happen.  No grumbles, no pissy mood changes.  Instead, when asked for it, I threw in a 30 second dance party.  A required addition to all future practices, I think.

We are so new, sometimes it amazes me when I see how far we have all progressed as skaters.  Our practices are structured and we have clear goals for the evening so that we can get the most out of our time together, and that makes me so proud and happy.  But now we are at a point where I have to evolve as a practice leader to accommodate new skaters.  This will be challenging for me, but I have to think about that day when I'm actually bouting.  The day when I am forced at every turn, to think quick on my feet...to adjust accordingly to every situation.  Jams are not 'planned out'...sure, you can have your strategy, but you can not predict what that other team will do.  You can't even predict what your own team will do!  

And this is just another example of how roller derby and it's challenges are turning me into one hell of a strong and focused person!  Sure, it may seem like it's taking over my life; but, I'm okay with that.  Because it's transforming my life into something amazing!