Min Skills Update

So as per usual, shit got real busy and my poor blog got neglected. I’ve had an extremely busy semester, as I was teaching two demanding tutorials, coauthoring a paper, as well as trying to make progress on my thesis. I’m hoping that this semester things will settle down a bit, and I will be able to a) put more focus on my thesis and b) spend more time blogging.

As I noted in my last post, my minimum skills test happened in December. The 18th, to be precise. It was, honestly, the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire like physically, mentally, and emotionally. We started with 20 in 5 (we skate on an unfathomably sticky floor….seriously, ya’ll have no idea. If you don’t actively push then you just don’t go ANYWHERE, so we test for 20 in 5). I managed to make it, but I was SO EXHAUSTED afterwards. Unfortunately, our testers gave us very little break, and we were set to test stops and falls.

Unfortunately, this is where it went all down hill for me. My legs were shaking, I couldn’t breathe and I felt dizzy. I could barely stand, nevermind stop or fall and get up again. I suspect a lot of it was nerves contributing to my bodies response, but I bombed that section of the test. It was like I had never been on skates before. To make matters worse, our test was designed so that we basically never stopped skating. We were always skating around the track, so there was no break. Finally, after my second 180 knee fall, I just couldn’t get up. I simply stayed on the ground. My tester, who is a completely awesome and understanding woman, told me to take my time, take a breath, and start when I was ready. So I did, but it still didn’t go very well. After we finished stops and falls, we took a short water break. I sat down to rest and started to get really upset.

All of a sudden, I was crying and a panic attack set in. I couldn’t breathe. I called out for help, but could barely make a sound. When I finally managed to get someones attention, everyone came over and tried to help me calm down. I was shaking, and crying and feeling more and more embarrassed. When I had calmed down a bit and had some water, we went on with the rest of the test which I thought went quite a bit better. Like I mentioned earlier, we were constantly skating, so both myself and the other girl who was being tested got extremely tired, which I think led to a bit of sloppiness.

For testing our whips and hits, they made us receive the whip or give the hit, and then race around the track to catch up and deliver the next hit. I felt like this put us at a serious disadvantage, but I really tried to focus on doing the best whips and hits that I could.

At the end of the test, we had the opportunity to retest some of the things we hadn’t done so well on. At that point in time, I was feeling much better and so I essentially retested all the stops and falls, and nailed most of them (with the exception of right knee 180 falls…I always fall on my left knee, and so I TOTALLY screwed those up).

I am also happy to report that I nailed all of my jumps. My tester, who had been working with me on them for the previous 6 weeks, actually let out a big “yes!” when I landed my first one. It was probably my proudest moment of the test.

Unfortunately, I do not yet have the ‘results’ of the test. Our testers met with the rest of the coaching committee to discuss what they had assessed, and then it was holiday break. So I will be finding out on Friday evening if I am able to move up to the vet practices or not. Without trying to be too negative, I am prepared to hear that I am not ready, since I struggled so much. I also HAPPENED to overhear my tester say to one of the coaches “She has a lot to work on.”

I’m trying to take it in stride, and I won’t know for sure until Friday, but I am just working to remind myself that I have come SO FAR in the past year, from a girl who didn’t even have the strength to get up from a fall to one who managed to survive the skills test (with a few bumps in the road). If I’m not accepted to the vet practices, its likely that I will be upset, and probably even cry, but it won’t be the end of the world. And I will still love derby. And it will be one more story to include when I finally ‘make it’ that I can tell to all the other fat girls who feel like they are struggling.


About Alicia

TV addict. Activist. Burlesque Dancer. Political Economy MA. Queer Theorist. Feminist. Cat Lady. View all posts by Alicia

4 responses to “Min Skills Update

  • elle2theno

    Any news? I am at the very beginning of my derby journey and just found your blog…

  • Alicia

    Quick update! I am sad to report that I did NOT pass my skills test in the winter. Although I did manage to fumble my way through everything, my testers were concerned about my endurance (which is something I have always struggled with). Then I went on an injury leave due to a foot sprain. Updates coming soon!

  • gingercorsair

    Hey, are you back to playing derby? I’m sort of in the same boat and would love to hear how you are doing. Sometimes I wonder if it’s derby I suck at or if I’m just fat and lazy.

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