Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Derby dreamin'

With less than two weeks to our first official bout of the season, it's crunch time for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls.

That means brutal practices full of sit-ups, stretches, push-ups, planks and endless pack drills. We sweat and bruise and toil under fluorescent lights until our sides hurt, our feet blister and the pungent scent of 'derby stank' fills the gymnasium.

All for the greater cause of becoming the most formidable team we can be, so tough and reputable that other roller derby teams quiver in their Riedell boots at the mere mention of our name.

We're a hungry bunch, with anticipation building towards our packed June schedule. The veterans are rougher, ramming each other during jams well past the "50% hits" strength limit set by the coaches. They grow feistier with each push and fall. Most of the new girls --or fresh meat, as they are called-- stand back and watch, their faces an uncertain melange of keenness and apprehension, save for the few who possess the bravado to join the fray.

I imagine some of the fresh meat feel by practice's end they are in for more than they bargained for, but my eyes scan them all with due acumen. There is unbridled potential there, but with shaky legs on skates and tepid attempts during drills the elite won't make themselves known for some time, adding to the mystery.

But for now we're simply glad to have them here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New beginnings and growing legends

Taking a spin with neophyte Phoebe

How exciting it is to have so many new girls join our team and breathe new life into practices. They are an enthusiastic and plucky bunch who persevere despite frequent falls, labored breathing, cramps and brag-worthy bruises.

And it is so surreal to hear them lean over and whisper, "You're so good at this; I totally suck at it," in a mix of admiration and earnesty. For it seems like only yesterday that I struggled like them; tripping and falling all over the place and failing to keep up with the more experienced girls. I remember feeling frustrated and anxious over the pace of my progress, and wondered to myself if I'd ever be able to compete with the girls I admired most on the team; the girls who seemed so agile and made it all look so effortless.

Certainly, I am much improved now; quicker on my feet and more confident in my ability to strike and evade. I've jammed a few times and it is absolutely exhilerating -- I think I have found my athletic calling.

But I am quick to comfort the discouraged new girl; to pull her aside and confess that I, too, took some time to find my stride. That I truly was a "d. zaster" on wheels before practice and hardwork made my ascendancy as a player much more prominent.

Because they may have been a girl who was a natural at roller derby, but it sure wasn't me.

And I'm okay with that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A month of fisticuffs, treks and candy

This just in! The Old Capitol City Roller Girls have released their June schedule:

June 2nd -- OCCRG make an appearance at NAPA's auto parts/tool sale from 11 AM - 1 PM.

June 6th -- OCCRG versus the Quad City Rollers at the RiverCenter in Davenport at 7 PM.

June 7th -- Volunteering at the Ped Mall for Children's Day at the Iowa Arts Festival.

June 13th -- Pirates of the Corridor: At Flood's End. OCCRG versus the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls at the U.S. Cellular Center at 7 PM.

June 19th -- OCCRG will be in Davenport to play the Quad City Rollers for Sturgis on the River.

June 20th -- Skating and handing out candy (Yes, FREE CANDY!) in Iowa City's Pride Parade.