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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Roller Derby Rocks


As some of you are aware, last June I covered the Savannah Derby Devils’ Roller Derby boot camp by participating as a skater during the one-week event. Before June 6, 2010 I had not been on quad skates in more than thirty years.
The experience completely changed my life – for the better I might add. I was hooked since day one. Not only was the exercise starting to feel good but the women involved with the Devils’ organization were kind, patient, and fierce and all are professionals in their ‘day-time’ jobs.
At the end of boot camp there was a chance to try out for the team, but I missed this opportunity because I was out of town for my birthday. I was extremely bummed but was told I could continue to participate by joining the referees.
I studied the rule book, passed my test and wore my stripes for the Fresh Meat scrimmage and three regular bouts thereby earning my official Derby Devil Jacket.
I attended as many practice sessions as I could, skating around the perimeter of the track – watching, learning and absorbing as much derby knowledge from these pros as I could.
And I wanted more.
In October there was a secondary open tryout and I took my chance. I passed tryouts and was now well on my way to becoming ‘bout’ ready but big challenges were still forthcoming.
In the meantime I continued to attend as many practice sessions as possible and shed 30 pounds in the process.
I pushed through the pain of the lactic acid building up in my ankles and my lungs frantically gasping for every ounce of air I could muster through the cardio circuits. I nursed every bruise earned from learning how to hit or taking a hit and fall. Excedrin Pain Relief and I became best buddies and I waddled into work every morning after practice looking like I just survived a train wreck.
But I pushed on.
The day came to pass the skills test required to become eligible for a bout. I did the knee falls, I weaved, I hit and eventually did the dreaded 25 laps in five minutes (Actually I did 26).
I was bout certified.
On March 12, the Devils hosted the Erin-Go-Brawl. It was an inter-league scrimmage with the new girls (B-Team girls, we are called the Hostess City Hellions) against the veteran team of All-Stars (The veteran Derby Devils). We were given a bit of an advantage by having the veteran Jammers (the girls who score the points) on our team for the scrimmage.
Either way it was my first bout and I was nervous as all heck.
Would I survive the hits, would I survive being in front of a huge crowd, would I mess things up for my team, would I lose my lunch on the track?
It turns out I did survive and our team won 137-77.
I made the hits and took quite a few. And I owe it to the veterans who always pushed me…just a little harder. The veterans who always told me…try this…or try that…keep your feet moving…hold your head up…be aware and GO, GO, GO.
Some of the veterans told me I was a pretty hard hitter…..AWESOME!!!
And now I REALLY want more.
With the scrimmage under my belt and a decent practice attendance record, I just earned a spot on the Hellions first regular season bout debuting at the Savannah Civic Center on April 2. We will be the game opener battling the Bruising Betties of Charleston before our Devils’ All-Star Team takes the track against the Low Country Rollers.
Once again I’m a bundle of nerves…..
I try even harder at practice now and take every bit of advice the pros give me to heart. I still come to work feeling like a train wreck but at least I’m still on the track and rolling forward. And still losing weight (WooHoo)!
Will keep you posted and in the meantime come out and watch the Devils in action. It’s one HELL of a good time.
Patty Leon
Aka: Eada Chiquita

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