New Team, New Gear, New Rules

NEW TEAM

So, I’ve officially been a High Roller for a scant few weeks. How am I liking it? Simply put, it’s AWESOME:

  • When I was a Meatie, this team’s practices were the most intimidating for me to attend. There are a lot of really, really good skaters who have a lot of experience, and they tended to run more athletically-challenging practices. There were times when I left feeling like The Most Hopeless Skater Ever, but in retrospect, that had more to do with My Dumb Feels than anything the team said or did. Now that I’m actually a member of the team, it’s gotten less scary. It’s amazing how much your perspective can change, just by simply knowing that your team has chosen you, believes in you, and wants you to succeed.
  • We’ve been digging into strategy at a level that we didn’t on Fresh Meat, and have worked on unique plays and strategies. It’s really smart thinking, and it’s really exciting. I had a massive nerd moment about this a few days ago: awhile back, I’d thought up a strategy that seemed to me like it should work, and then lo and behold, while I was reviewing my team’s new strategies, one of them was the same strategy I’d thought up on my own weeks ago. Hey, maybe I’m not so dumb, after all! 😉
  • It’s a pleasant surprise how quickly you can come to love your team and feel like a part of it. In less than a month, I’ve gone from shocked-and-befuddled to head-over-heels with adoration for my team. Everyone has been super-welcoming, and I’m constantly impressed by and grateful for the supportive practice environment they create. Going in, I had my worries about being the introverted and not-very-outgoing New Person in a group of people who’ve skated together for ages, but these ladies have made it easy.
  • It’s really weird to be able to say, “my team,” without any reservations or hesitation. It’s also a really, really good feeling.

NEW GEAR

Seeing as my heels slide around like crazy inside my skate boots–which I bought used, so lord only knows how old they actually are–I took the plunge and put in for a not-so-little draft present for myself: Antik AR-1s. I have a large, wide foot (Size 11 in street shoes) with pretty narrow heels, so I’ve had my share of weird boot-sizing debacles and attempts at crazy lacing techniques, to try and get that heel snug without crushing the life out of the front of my foot. After trying on several different boots, I really liked how cuddly-close the AR-1 felt all the way around my foot.

I just got the new boots–along with DA-45 Avenger plates–this past Sunday, and it’s definitely an adjustment. The plates are mounted a little further back than my old ones, so I feel that when I skate hard, and there are definite aches and pains, and tying and re-tying of skate laces to try and adjust. I can tell they’re going to be worlds better once I get used to them, but right now, they feel kind of strange and a little bit scary. And I have a weird temptation to go stick with the old ones, even though I know they’re a bad fit, just because their familiarity is comforting.

Yeah, it kind of sounds like the last bad relationship I was in, but a derby player spends a lot of time with her skates, and much like a relationship, a good fit can make your entire experience better, and a bad fit can make everything seem hopeless. Everyone’s assuring me that I’ll love the Antiks after a couple of weeks of break-in, so I’ll just have to deal with feeling slightly wonky for a bit longer.

NEW RULES

Now that we’ve had an actual bout with the new WFTDA ruleset, I have to say: THUMBS. UP. I love the one-whistle start. I appreciate the fact that, when I hear a ref call out my color and number, I know I’m supposed to go to the penalty box, because there are no more minor penalties. There have been a few changes and hiccups as the interpretations of the new rules have taken shape, and a few frustrations to go with, but I think things are going to smooth out quite a bit for skaters, once we get used to things.

I thought the rules changes would be great from a fan perspective, too, and it was great to have proof of that at the Portland vs. Seattle 4×4–my boyfriend, who’s seen several bouts before, liked the rules changes and thought they helped keep the game moving. Even better, a friend of ours who was watching derby for the first time LOVED the bout, and he also seemed to pick up on the rules without any real trouble. Boyfriend said that he didn’t quite understand things after attending his first bout under the old rules, so I take it as a good sign that a newbie had an easier time understanding the game under the new rules.

P.S. My team’s bout at the 4×4 has been lauded by more than a few people as the best bout of the night. That was for good reason, too: my teammates were awesome, and I couldn’t have been prouder of them! I can’t wait for the day when I get to bout with them. ❤

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