I will not drink and derby. I will not drink and derby. I will not drink and derby. Yeah, right.
I woke up on Sunday with a massive hangover from the after party. My muscles were completely depleted and I was pretty sure I would not be okay. But eventually I dragged my ass out of bed and down to camp. Whoa. It took me like thirty minutes just to skate up and as soon as I stood up, I thought, “Fuck this, I can’t skate.” But then why did I drag myself across the country and spend half my savings to be here? To be a big fat hungover pussy? No way.
Don’t get too excited. I didn’t last long. I didn’t even get there until lunchtime. During which I decided to warm up. Skating was next to impossible, but I threw my poor pitiful bones around the track and listened to The Cult loud enough to blow an eardrum. I was so dehydrated I didn’t even break a sweat for almost twenty minutes. But it got better. Because I saw Quadzilla loitering, and I thought, “Hey, I’m here to learn. He’s here to teach.” So, I asked him to pretty please help me with my skating.
My short private lesson with Quad was one of the most valuable moments of all of camp. He had been watching me skate all weekend and knew exactly where I was going wrong. And the thing about him is that he’s nice and whatever, but he’s really honest. He’s not all “oh give yourself a break, you’re so new”, he’s more like, “look, if you want to get better, this is what you have to do”. And he looks at you like he’s not sure whether you’re gonna do it or not, because I bet he’s seen a lot of girls just say fuck it.
Anyways, here’s what I learned. Your weight needs to be over one leg all the time. All the fucking time. The whole skating thing is about weight transfer. If you’re in derby stance and your weight is in the center of your body, all your power is going straight into the ground. You have to center that weight over the leg that you’re using to push off. This all sounds really straightforward, but barely sober me had a really hard time putting it into practice. Because even though I’m new, I already have bad habits. And because even if my brain isn’t scared of falling, my body is, and it wants to keep my center of gravity centered instead of moving it back and forth like I need to.
I also learned that the last part of your skates that should leave the ground is the front. You gotta be pushing. Not stepping. Me? I step. Which seemed okay to me, because it took me forever to have the physical confidence to even lift my foot off the ground. Well, great, but t ain’t working cuz I’m still slow and clumsy. Not for long. Quad may have seen a lot of girls give up, but he doesn’t know me. Ima get this. Shit, since when did this turn into my diary? Oh, since I got too hungover to go to workshops. Sorry, y’all, but you’re gonna have to deal with some of my emo epiphanies. There’s a moral in there somewhere.
After my impromptu lesson with Quad, who probably thinks I’m in love with him by the way I’m up in his shit, I took a nap. (Dear Quad, I am not a stalker. I’m a writer. It’s kind of the same thing, only I will never call you or show up to your house. I am happy with a strictly textual relationship.) I thought I would never get up, and I almost didn’t, but the irresistible pull of hot fresh derby wafted in through my window and I drag-assed to see the Rat City v. Charm City bout.
And holy fuck, was it worth it. Sure, I was so tired that I could barely carry on a conversation and had to hide by myself in the beer garden, but it was a really exciting game. I’m not much of a recapper, but I will say this; it was tied at 52 at halftime, Rat City was down for a lot of the second half, and then they made a major comeback and won 143-107. It was a hard won game, too, with a lot of dirty stuff going on. I saw a lot of low blows and elbows, but the Rat City girls kept it together and played it cool. I fell in love with Rat City.
Especially this girl. Her name is Onya Heels and she’s fast as shit and a total bruiser. She blocks, she jams, and she does it all with effortless grace. And she’s not some skinny bitch who looks like unattainably athletic standing still, either. She’s hot and everything, but she looks basically like a regular girl until you see her move. And then you realize that she is a total.fucking.superhero. I would not fuck with this girl if you gave me a thousand new pairs of skates. Re AnimateHer was also a super notable jammer. She’s fast and nimble and took some really hard hits with aplomb. I’d show you a picture of her, but I never caught her standing still.
The game ended. My night ended. Camp ended. The End. Boo hoo, I know. But, I’m still in Seattle, so stay tuned for my night of practice with the Rat City Girls.