I am just back from our Saturday morning practice - so recently that I'm still breathing a little heavy. And I must say, today's practice was really a huge surprise for me.
I've missed several practices recently due to my knee problems, so I've really been feeling out of the loop, and way behind the pack. I went on the track today expecting to lag behind, skip the drills that were beyond me, and generally feel a little frustrated with myself. Yeah, I'm not good at cutting myself slack sometimes.
Instead, as I rolled onto the track for warm ups, I was amazed to feel myself stronger and steadier than ever. Faster, too. My confidence, which my knee issues had really done a number on, started to return. It was wonderful.
After stretches, we started drills. And what did we start with? The dreaded shoulder check. Now, I haven't been involved in any hitting drills yet. We were just doing positional blocking when I began my latest streak of missed practices, and the few that I managed to attend, I had to skip the hitting drills for my knees' sake. But I decided to participate this time. If I didn't learn to hit, I'd never be a real roller derby girl. And you know what? It was fun!
And I mean really fun. The first few times I felt kind of tentative, but I got the hang of it and started hitting harder! It's a really great feeling when you slam up against another girl and feel them give way. I even managed to knock someone down who is really much more skilled than I, and it felt wonderful! (And I got knocked down myself, but that's just part of the game.)
After that, we did some scrimmaging. That's another thing that I've been having to bow out of recently, even when I can be on skates at all, but of course, this time I had to go for it. And I'll be truthful, a lot of time I was straggling along at the tail of the pack, scrambling to keep up, and doing little more than playing sentry, to tell the stronger girls when the opposing jammer was coming their way. But it was still a blast.
I really have come a long, long way since last September when I first joined the team, the freshest of all fresh meat, with no skating experience, barely able to shuffle my way around the track, and falling on my rear. I still have a long way to go before I'm ready to bout, but today's practice gave me hope that I will get there in the end, and be an asset to my team.