I need a gin and a soak in a hot hot bath!!
Wow wow wow!! Ok, where do I start? Do you want me to go to the beginning? I'll try to keep it brief but I'm afraid being brief is not one of my strengths!
Long story short..... horses, married, kids x 3, stopped horses, divorced, remarried, I suddenly realised I was a school and after school club running machine with no actual hobby to call my own! Some might take up running..... pottery perhaps.....? Maybe a perfectly acceptable life drawing class..... me..... nah!!!! Running hurts (me anyway) pottery (I'm not very arty) drawing, (see why I don't do pottery) so at the age of 42 years old, with 3 + 2 children (my angel's, but exactly why I needed a hobby) I don a pair of skates, full set of pads and a helmet and give roller derby a go!!! I was hooked!! I still didn't fully realise what I had let myself in for, but I was enjoying learning new skills, getting to a standard to pass my minimum skills and able to actually get on track with the rest of the team!! it wasn't easy either, I failed at several skills on multiple occasions. I'm hoping that my determination and refusal to give up will give my kids one of those life lessons that us adults are supposed to impart onto them!!!
Anyway.... I'm waffling, told you I would!!
Skills ticked (hallelujah) and 2 lovely "gentle" rookie games for players who have done no more than 5 games under my belt. Then it was time.... time to skate with my team... time to skate with SWAT!!!! And more scarily, time to play against other people that know what they're doing!!! (My derby brain isn't fully formed yet, and I feel no shame in saying that most of the time, I have no clue what I'm doing)! Anyway, derby....
May the 4th was with us and SWAT B team drove from all their various starting locations through the beautiful Devonshire countryside to Bideford College where our 1st South West Season game was to be held.
I had a late breakfast and was happy not to eat lunch for fear of doing a pitch perfect puke on the track in the first jam my stomach was still turning with nerves!!! It's been a long time (remember I'm 43 now) since I stepped quite so far out of my comfort zone.
All the SWAT teammies and benches and supporters were just so lovely though. they've all been where us newbies are, so fully understand the jelly legs and the "what was I thinking" thoughts!!
All warmed up and ready for the first whistle against Dorset Roller Derby.... I was quite happy not to be on the track for the first jam!!! I wait patiently for ‘Grin Ripper’ - our Line up Manager - to tell us when to sit on the "you're on next" bench.
I'm up...... the rest is a blur!!!!
Sorry, you wish! It is all a bit of a blur though. I definitely couldn't write you a jam by jam report!!! (I heard that!)
One of my strongest team mates, Gorier Gaynor was taken out hard and fast in the second jam breaking her exit by using her face on the wall. It all happened so fast, but she was down. Us rookies are all looking rather nervous but we were reassured that injuries like this don't happen very often.
The game continued and I rotated happily on and off the track and loved every second being on skates.
If you're wondering, not that any if us were worried about it (we were just concentrating on trying to remember what we practice in training) we were and remained in second place. It wasn't a full walk over, we gave them a good run for their money!!!! That's what I like to think, anyway.
I'm a blocker and I did find mildly terrifying when the jammer was coming up on their first lap, at what feels like break neck speed, they plough into our "perfectly" formed wall..... but hey, sometimes, they actually stopped, we, the blockers, we stopped them!! I know that was with much help of the seasoned SWATTIES, but even so, I took some hits and they stopped!!! I was thankful a few times when we're braced for impact and then we hear Bench Manager ‘Fitzpatrick’ shouting to our jammer "CALL IT... CALL IT"!!
Yippee another jam in which I didn't die!!! (Turns out, all our safety gear is designed to stop us from dying!!) Wont always stop us getting hurt, but on the whole, its actually a very safe sport!!!! ‘Smashtronaut’ may disagree though, when halfway through the second half she takes a fall, much the same as Gaynor, by breaking her fall with her face to the floor. Some nice bruises will be making an appearance soon. However the Best Jammer Award went to Smash, so it was totally worth it!!!
The final whistle blew.... I mentally checked all my faculties and limbs and grinned from ear to ear. It was over....and this nervous jelly legged 43 year old mum of 3+2 had survived. Till the next time!!!
Thank you to all of our SWAT coaches, thank you to the seasoned SWATTIES on and off the track for looking after us rookies and for making us feel completely welcome.
Over and out.
Mustang 701 💜💚