The time in between…

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  The Cherries were off this past week, thanks to the holiday and shortened hours at the Castle, where we train.

On Thursday, a couple of the trainers and several of the Cherries met up at a pub for some bonding time.  It was a good opportunity to let our hair down and get to know each other.  I spent a lot of time talking to UR Mom, one of our trainers from the Joon Cleavers team.

I had the chance to ask her questions about being on a team and some of the differences in the teams.  There are different philosophies, depending on the captains.  We talked about how derby is suddenly getting hot.  Many women are joining for reasons other than the desire to compete in a sport.  Some are lured by the crazy derby names and what is perceived as the “bad girl” persona associated with derby.  Some join to make friends and some join just to lose weight.

I can say that after six weeks of some of the hardest physical challenges I’ve ever faced, I am in this for the sport itself.  I look forward to getting past the skills tests and to being on an actual team.  I like the idea of the game itself, and competing.  The distressing part is that I don’t have the physicality yet needed to get to that point.  I struggle with some of the skills that we have been learning.  Others come easily to me.

I told Mom that I worry that I can’t get past the tests to be able to be drafted.

Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself.  I spend too much time thinking about it. 

I wish that our practices were spread out through the week.  With so many days in between, it’s easy to psyche myself out.  I start doubting myself and begin talking myself out of going.  It’s the same with going to the gym.  If I were smart, I’d go to the gym early in the morning, before work.  Having all day to think about all of the things I’d rather be doing – most of which involve pajamas and a remote control – allows phantom aches and pains to creep in.

Once I’ve been, though, it’s hard to imagine what I was so worried about. 

In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to start doing more contact drills…blocking, hitting, etc.  I’m looking forward to that, as I think I will do better with things that approximate actual bout situations.

Also, I’ve submitted a name change.  On the Fourth of July, I watched “Gone With the Wind.”  Belle Wattling is a minor character, but that’s a great name.  I really think that Belle Throttling is going to work better than Showmee de Monet.  Showmee is too long, and too many people don’t get it.  It doesn’t quite suit me.  We tend to call each other by our derby names during practice.  Belle will be easier for the team to pick up.

This week, I resolve to get in at least one extra practice day, go to the gym as scheduled, do my crunches each day and stay out of my head!

Showmee de Monet

I’m four days into Cherries training.  Last Wednesday night, as I packed up my gear and headed to practice, I had a few butterflies.  I know that the trainers and the other Cherries would be nothing but encouraging; but, as is always the case, fear of the unknown can paralyze you if you let it.  I practiced lots of deep breathing, distracting myself on the ride to the Castle, blared loud music…anything I could come up with to just suck it up and get down to it.

Last weekend, the Desert Dolls had a booth at Phoenix ComicCon.  They picked up several new recruits, some of whom have never skated.  They joined us on Thursday night for their first practice…scared, unsure of what to expect and some even wobblier than me.

Suddenly, I was no longer the slowest, weakest or most hesitant.  I was the one high-fiving girls and encouraging them.

Don’t get me wrong…I still have a very long way to go before I’m smacking into anybody; but, the last two nights of practice were better than the two before, and a huge boost to my confidence.

In addition, I’m making friends with the other Cherries and the trainers.  The league’s founder set up a Facebook group specific to our Cherries training set.  We are setting up time to meet outside of practice, to work on skating other nights of the week.  One skater, upon hearing that I want to swap out my wheels, offered and then showed up with extras that she’s not using.

Some girls already have derby names picked out.  I’ve been kicking around several options, checking them against the international registry.

I thought about the fact that my ultra-conservative boss refers to me as his “favorite little Bolshevik,” thanks to my liberal tendencies.  I toyed with variations of that and emailed my mother.  She suggested “Belle Shevik” and I added “Bomber.”  I also considered “Belle Throttling” after Belle Wattling, in “Gone With the Wind.” 

The one that I’ve submitted to the league is a play on my ancestry.  I’m related to Claude Monet on my grandfather’s side.  I fancy myself a sort of artist, so I came up with “Showmee de Monet.” 

I kind of like that…I think that I’ll sit with it for a while.