- 21/08/2011PRW vs Croydon Roller Derby - Closed Door
- 03/09/2011PRW host first mixed scrim!
- 06/11/2011PRW vs Oxford Roller Derby - Closed Door
- 19/11/2011Mixed B-team vs Stockholm - Mixed Scrim
During November, Newton’s Law and Mr. Soft left behind the salty air of Portsmouth to head up to the big smog to practice with Southern Discomfort – the men’s roller derby team in London. Wenches were worried that we’d return with missing limbs and would no longer be able to ref for them. We were more worried that if we enjoyed it how would we be able to manage the commute to regularly attend practice.
We arrived to a hall of skating guys, which was an unusual sight seeing as we’re used to being outnumbered by ladies. After a few laps to get used to the floor and a warm up we were straight into practicing skating techniques and drills. The months of reffing and practicing with the Wenches meant we were able to jump right into it and use some tactics that we had seen whilst training with the Wenches. Near the end of the session we played a few practice bouts.
So what did we think…. We loved it!
Although we have always been a part of the Wench team, we’ve never been as much a part of the sport. Since then, we’ve been more actively taking part with training, rather than just reffing.
Roller derby definately isn’t just for the ladies! The club needs more men to be refferees and to help with officiating: You don’t have to be on the track to be a part of the team. The Wenches are really welcoming and treat their refs and NSOs the same as all other team members. This is really fortunate for us as we have heard that some teams aren’t very welcoming to their refs. If we can get together enough men, then we could just maybe start an all men’s club in Portmouth. We already have some damn good coaches to get a men’s team off to a good start. In the meantime, it goes without saying that we’ll be going back to London early next year to train again. And hopefully on a regular basis.
We’re almost halfway through the PRW’s first freshmeat course. We asked a couple of them to share their experiences…
I was the type of girl that never got along with girls….. Until Derby! I see it now, I didn’t like girls because of family and childhood friendships. But Derby is now my family! A group of strong women, no matter their circumstance, who are like minded and know how it feels to always be on the outside looking in. Now we are the “In”. When I practice, I always leave thinking “how can I do that better next time?”. I must annoy the Wench/ling family as I am always asking questions…. I used to have “Role Models” and these were famous girls, skinny girls and so on. Now I have Role Models and these are real women who have worked hard to get where they are. They are the sort of woman I now strive to be! Myself basically
The last time I owned quad skates I was 6, they were teenage mutant ninja turtles, green with hot pink wheels.
It has been 18 years since I owned those skates and whilst I have dabbled with inlines as a teenager it’s safe to say that ‘fresh meat’ described me perfectly.
I turned up to training with butterflies in my stomach but after strapping on my skates they disappeared.
Fresh meat training is challenging, frustrating, engaging, hard, fun and exhausting, but with time things that seemed hard get easier, fitness levels increases, ‘practise (and practise and practise) makes perfect’, and, as I have learned you can never be too low. The feeling of accomplishing that stop/fall/block that you have been practising on-skates/off-skates at training/work/home is a very happy awesome one:- if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it!
Our fresh meat coaches are skilled, supportive, patient and friendly and no matter what your skill level they incorporate this in all sessions. Training is varied, skills are developed and incorporated as skaters progress with the different elements of roller derby complementing and slotting into place. I am 10 weeks into the course and training is still the best day of the week!!
The ladies I skate with, my fellow wenchlings, are enthusiastic, dedicated and supportive. We are a team, a family and I look forward to when we graduate and are ready to join the league.
Someone once told me you know you are in love when you fall asleep and wake up thinking of (that person), I don’t think I could explain how I feel about roller derby any other way. To me roller derby isn’t just a sport, it has been incorporated into my everyday life. Train harder, skate faster, be the best you can be.
Tuesday 22nd November: Fracture clinic appointment. Consultant is clearly insane and babbles nonsense for the entire 5 minutes I’m with him. Manhandles my ankle and declares I can wear my aircast and partially weight bear. Nurse saws off my cast and it appears my left leg has been replaced with a pencil with a small wet tea-bag hanging off it, there is a huge 1.5” difference in calf size. Upload picture of my mismatched legs to facebook, am told it resembles a ‘saveloy and a chipolata’ and a ‘cucumber and a spring onion’. They’re not wrong.
Friday 25th November: First physio session after a poor nights sleep fearing the worst from today’s appointment i.e. you’ll never skate again. Instead told I might be off skates until February, which pretty much feels like forever. Oscillate wildly between wanting to prove risk-adverse health professionals wrong and I can get strong quicker, to total despair and wanting to ‘pack up my toys and go home’ and leave derby altogether. Spend part of the evening crying before bucking self up enough to coach the Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Feel more positive after basking in the glow of my amazing team.
Monday 28th November: Back to work today, I sat at my desk for 3 hours. After 5 weeks it feels wonderful, like I’m a human again and not a useless potato. I took the plunge and went swimming tonight, getting in and out of the pool whilst on crutches was hair raising to say the least. Creeping along on crutches at a snail pace, I reached the bench at the side of the room, slipped off my cast and bum shuffled right across the floor to the water (there is no such thing as dignity when you have a broken ankle.)
Between avoiding dive-bombing toss-pots and keeping a paranoid eye on my cast and crutches (lest one of the toss-pots should take a fancy to it), I felt glorious. Like I was powerful again and not broken. Like I was taking the first big step back to the track. I swam for an hour as fast as my wasted leg could carry me.
Tuesday 29th November: Waiting at the bus stop this morning a crazy old German guy walks up, laughing so hard that this glasses almost fall of his face, forcing out between breaths “zat’s not you is it? Zat’s not you!” It takes me some seconds to realise that I’m sat next to a movie poster for Happy Feet 2. “No,” I reply, “I guess my foot is pretty sad.” He guffaws more, leaning onto his thighs for support from his laughter. Thanks old man, thanks a lot. Had he stopped to listen I’d have told him my foot will be a whole lot happier once I’ve got a size-6 Riedell strapped to it, or come to think about it, rammed sharply up his backside…
Friday 2nd December: My 25th birthday. The birthday fairy didn’t bring me a new leg, everything else is irrelevant.
Tuesday 6th December: The 6-week mark. 6 weeks since I first saw the orthopaedic consultant who sentenced me to 6 weeks in a cast. X-ray was taken, and low and behold those two interlacing cracks showed up grey and ghastly, right where they were 6 weeks ago. Despair almost felled me until the consultant told me it was actually healed, I no longer had to wear a cast, would be cycling in two weeks and most importantly… skating in a month!
“The cracks? They’ll fill in over the next couple of weeks”. Comforting.
The bad news, as I discovered trying to walk, was that my ligaments were torn. Resign myself to a limp which gets me more stares than hopping in a cast did. They don’t know they’re looking at a rollergirl taking the long walk back to the track.
One month, I can handle that.
Our own RIP McMurphy speaks openly about coping with a physical set back…
Sunday 23rd October: Today we had a visiting coach from London Rockin’ Rollers, Smirkules. Feeling the most strong, agile, lean and athletically capable than I ever have in my entire life and enjoy launching myself into the drills. Start a scrimmage, get pushed out of bounds, bright white flash of pain and can’t remember how I came to be on the floor. Cannot move ankle or place weight on it. Know something is wrong, very wrong. Dismiss as a sprain, and pray that I’ll be healed before the mixed team bout against Stockholm B-team coming up. Pray so hard it blocks out the nagging feeling of doom.
Monday 24th October: Got up for work, hop to the chest of drawers pass the mirror. Catch sight of a horribly misshapen and blackened balloon attached to my leg. Realise it’s my own ankle. Begin panic attack. Scream at husband to get me a bucket because I’m going to be sick. Husband gets bucket. Scream at him some more for the sake of screaming. Feels like a heart attack, know my ankle is broken. Trip to minor injuries confirms my fear. Spiral fracture of the left fibula. Feel overwhelmed with pain, the pain in knowing I can’t skate. The pain in knowing the 6-days-a-week intense training regime I had myself under has been pointless. Get given a 5-week sick note, life is over.
Tuesday 25th October: Jeremy Kyle is on three times a day. What kind of hell is this?
Friday 28th October: Fell down the stairs trying to answer the door to the postman today. I just lay on the floor whilst the ‘Sorry you were out’ card floated down 6-feet from me. Things improved in the evening. Husband drove to Brighton to pick up a ‘leg caddy’ from a Brighton Rocker friend, this strange raised scooter now enables me to move around my house without risking my life on crutches and repeating this morning’s accident. Feel love and thankfulness for the derby community. Consider going into business supplying disability equipment for broken roller girls, think it might make me a fortune.
Monday 31st October: Team mate Lady Von Whack ‘n’ Smack visits. Shows me that the wenches who went to Sk8 Heaven have collected ‘get well wishes’ from all of the international coaches there. Particularly touched by Betty Ford Galaxy’s message telling me she broke her ankle in year 1 and is now on her 8th season. Maybe I can come back?
Wednesday 2nd November: Still not allowed to go to work. Bored. Borderline depressed. Having nothing to do makes me feel like I’m dead. Realise I’ve spent the last year structuring my whole life around roller derby, without cross training to do, I’ve begun to have an existential crisis. There is no purpose to my life outside the healing of a broken bone.
Friday 4th November: Minimum skills testing tonight for the Portsmouth Roller Wenches. I’m leading the session and have to do it from a wheel chair. In a bizarre double booking it is also our belated Halloween Fundraiser. Think the bloody bandages of my costume and my erratic wheelchair driving may be distracting our girls, but we achieve lots of passes regardless. Letchy man at fundraiser goes a step too far. Knee him in the crotch with my broken leg. You can take the girl out of derby but you can’t take the derby out of the girl…
Sunday 6th November: Portsmouth Roller Wenches have a closed bout. I volunteered to Line Manage seeing as I can no longer captain. Putting on my bout top feels wrong but I do so anyway, avoiding the mirror. See my girls whirling round and around and around, racking up points. Feel a horrible hollow twisting feeling in my gut intermixed with happiness and joy at our win. Guilt and self-pity, happiness and pride. Decide to ride on the positive feelings and resolve to get better sooner rather than later to help my team mates.
Thursday 10th November: Spend day looking up athletes with injuries. Notice that David Beckham and Wayne Rooney are wearing strange storm-trooper type boots following fractures. Decide the consultants I’ve seen clearly haven’t taken me seriously as an athlete. Purchase a storm trooper boot (air cast) immediately from ebay.
Saturday 12th November: Aircast arrives, it smells like artificial lavender and rose i.e. old people. Try to bury the idea that an old woman died wearing it. Host a WFTDA championships viewing party, watching the likes of Rocky and Gotham brings up new conflict. Will I ever be the derby skater I wanted to be now I’ve injured myself? Need to think positive. New motto: WWSHRD (What would Suzy Hotrod do?)
Tuesday 14th November: If I’m going to recover I need to keep up my fitness. Did a Power Yoga DVD, could only manage it with the help of a zimmer frame. WWSHRD? Probably something better than this…