Thursday, August 23, 2007

How Roller Derby is Different From 3 Months Ago

There have been several changes in my roller derby experience since beginning a few months ago. I'd like to try and keep track of these things as I go along, so here are some things I have been thinking about lately:
  • New stuff
    • when i first starting practicing for tryouts, I was so disgusted with the rental skates that I bought a pair of roller skates from After a bit of research, I decided to go with the Riedell R3 skate, which seemed to be on the low end of the price line from Riedell, which was on the high end of skates in general. I didn't want to go overboard with buying something super fancy, and these got good reviews, so I bought them sight unseen. Overall I have been very happy with them. Until recently (see below) I have had absolutely no problems with blisters. They're comfy and so much better than the rental skates that I was in pure heaven.
    • of course, once I started skating more, I began to see problems with them. I really didn't like the toe stops that came with them. And everyone kept telling me to get faster wheels and bearings. I am very slow (compared to everyone else) but I mostly figured this was because I am way out of shape. After enough people said this to me, I decided to take the plunge.
    • Buying new wheels (for a newbie, anyway) is ridiculously complicated and confusing. There are so many different kinds of wheels and so many different opinions about what is better for some situations as opposed to other situations, that it just gave me a headache. I eventually went ahead and bought a set of Fugitives (Blue) as well as a set of faster bearings (Bones Reds), and new toe stops (Snyder). I have had this new equipment for about a week now and am overall very pleased. The wheels and bearings are definitely faster. Not a ton faster, but I definitely notice a difference. The toe stops are also a huge improvement. I definitely prefer the round toe stops to the weird triangular ones that came with my skates. I'm still slower than everyone else, but I do feel like I'm keeping up a little better!
  • New aches and pains
    • I was so ridiculously sore after my first real practice (and tryouts!). After a few weeks I started to get less sore after each practice. Yay, I thought, I'm getting better, more fit. Then, suddenly, I've started to get new pains. For the past few weeks I've started to consistently get a blister on my right instep. And my knees are really hurting, and last night I just about died from back pain in my lower left side. I never had any of these problems before. So what's up? My new theory (given to me by Vicious, my freshmeat teammate) is that it's just because I'm working harder. I'm using my right foot to push more, I'm bending more, and I'm skating harder. All of which means new pains. But I am convincing myself that this is a good thing and will hopefully work itself out.
  • New friends
    • If you know me at all, you know that trying out for roller derby is one of the bravest things I've ever done in my life. Not because roller derby is scary and violent and painful (which bothers me not at all -- in fact, I kind of like it), but because I am terrified of new people and new situations. Put me in a new social situation and I sometimes have panic attacks. Real, honest to goodness, panic attacks. It was extremely difficult for me to go to the clinics, walk up to strangers, ask people for help, and in general throw myself into this whirlwind of social interaction. I tried to get a friend to come with me, but I think I scared her off after I broke my arm. Once I got on the team, it was just as scary. Do they like me? Why isn't anyone talking to me? What the hell do I say to this person? Did I just come across as a bitch? I know, I know, I have issues. Big gaping issues. All of which is to say that one of the nicest changes in my roller derby experience is an overall lessening of my social anxiety, a feeling that I am actually making friends, and a growing sense of belonging. Yay!


Jessie said...

I know this post is old as hell, but I had to respond anyway. That last part about new friends? Ditto, ditto, and ditto. Remember going into the "Meat and Greet" at the same time? I was so nervoud I thought I was going to throw up. Even moreso than at tryouts, because at least there I had a "job".

Hooray for new friends! I'm glad I met you.:D

Jen said...

I was searching 'roller derby back pain' and came across your post. Jeesh. I could have written that. Just letting you know that other people are out there feeling the same about the social thing.

Hope all is going better.

mnmlst said...

I know others commented on this post being old, but how 'bout 2 years? I also found this post while searching for "roller derby back pain," and I feel the exact same way as Jen. I could have written this post from start to finish. In fact, I'm just placed an order about an hour ago for Fugitives! :) Hope it's going great now.

margaret said...

Hey I am totally with mnmlst, and the other posters. I've been involved in derby for about four months (and yes, the time has come for upgrading my equipment). The people are great but it is still sometimes quite daunting.

I too found this post when searching back pain - it only seems to kick in when I haven't done enough clockwise skating to warm up.

Hope you're still skating, good luck.

Kari T. Ryder Wilkie said...

Thank you for all the comments everyone! I swear I am going to write in my blog again soon :)