Halfway Through Start Out

My roller derby class has been going really well. I’m almost halfway through with the 12-week Derby Lite Start Out, which is kind of crazy. The toe stops on my skates are still a slight hindrance, but I am getting better at navigating the track with them. We learned how to properly do T-stops — as my uncle pointed out to me via email after my post about trying it on my own, I made a large error: The skate making the top of the ‘T’ is supposed to go behind your other skate — not in front of it. It’s so silly now to think of myself doing that — it’s no wonder I crumpled over immediately. Live and learn.

Speaking of learning, this past Saturday, our instructors taught us something I’d been waiting for ever since my Windy City Rollers skate clinic experience: How to do crossovers. This is the technique Lindsey told me would make me a much faster skater, and what would get me to my 27 in 5. As this blog post explains, being able to round the derby track 27 times in five minutes is a major milestone for any derby girl in training. Making 27 in 5 is the speed trials bench mark for WFTDA players, and now that I can (almost) do crossovers, I would love to see soon how much I improve on my initial speed trial result of 20 laps.

Crossovers are largely a battle of mind over matter — you have to convince yourself to put one skate directly in front of the other and push off from there — then lift your other stationary foot to meet the one propelling you. It’s best if you just watch (skip to the 1:10 mark):

I was able to get to the point where I was comfortable putting my right skate in front of the left, but I couldn’t quite master moving my left to follow suit. I hope I get a chance to work on that on my own at some point soon. I could already feel myself going so much faster with my partial crossover move, so that’s extremely encouraging.

I’ve been having a great time getting to know some of the other women in my class and learning with them each week. My favorite recent interaction was a moment off-track, when I took my mouthguard out of my mouth to speak. Frustrated, I turned to a teammate and asked, “Where do you put this thing when you’re not wearing it?”

Without a word, Lisa pulled down the neck of her shirt to show her mouth guard looped in a ‘U’ around her bra strap for safe keeping. Genius. I’ve been doing this ever since.

My next class is Saturday — week six of 12.