5:30pm: Arrive to the rink in the sketchiest neighborhood of Sacramento an hour early. (I work 5 minutes away so I had no choice.) And, I’m the only car there. And trust me, I’ve lived in the hood in LA before so I know sketch and this was sketch.
5:31pm: Contemplate my safety and if it’s worth even walking to the door.
5:35pm: Still contemplate my safety and get mad at myself for leaving the pepper spray my dad just bought me on my desk at home. Why is not in my purse?!?! It most definitely will be tomorrow. Of course, it may be too late…
5:37pm: Finally exit the car and walk to the door. It’s locked. No answer. Do I stay and wait? Do I leave?
5:38pm: Decide that maybe it’s a sign I should leave and drive down the street. Make a U-turn to get back to the road I come from and see a car pull into one of the rink parking spaces.
5:45pm: Turns out to be one of the derby coaches. She’s much nicer and less intense than I was expecting. Oh, thank goodness!
5:46pm: Walk into the derby warehouse and think, “Wow, this is so cool! I am definitely going to like this. I’m so happy I didn’t leave…” Oh if I only knew how the evening would transpire…
5:47-6:00pm: Change into workout clothes; sign my life away; and get some rented derby gear.
6:00pm: Put on said derby gear that looks like it has not been washed in quite a while and pray that I don’t get lice, MRSA, or some other contracted ailment. The initial excitement of Derby is slowly wearing off fear of a flesh eating bacteria takes over.
6:05pm: Hit the rink.
6:15pm: Decide that I have a natural nack for skating (I used to rollerblade a lot in high school) and think I might actually have a hiddent talent for derby. This over confidence will come back to bite me in the butt later, quite literally.
6:30pm: Practice begins with skating around the rink.
6:45-7:00pm: Work on braking. I cannot for the life of stop properly (something else that will shortly come back to haunt me). I feel like the guy in Mighty Ducks 2 who can’t stop and they spend the whole movie trying to teach him. Ya, that’s me. Except we don’t spend the whole practice trying to teach me and I never learn…
7:01pm: Water break.
7:02pm: Again, I think, gee I really hope this borrowed gear is clean. At least I have my brand new, bright pink, mouth guard that came with $10,000 dental insurance. I felt it was a steal considering the mouth guard was only $21. What can I say, I wanted to be prepared.
7:03-7:20pm: Start practicing crossovers. I may not be able to stop but I can definitely cross over. Like I said earlier, I’m a natural. At least, that’s what I thought.
7:20pm: We get in partners for a drill called the “7 Levels of Hell.” It turns out, it really was hell. It works like this: you skate 1 lap, then your partner skates 1; you skate 2 laps, then your partner skates 2; and so on up to 7 and then it counts backwards.
7:25pm: I’m skating my 4 laps. I think wow, some of these girls are slow. I want the coaches to think “new chick’s got skillz” (yes, in my head I think “skillz” not “skills” because I am so badass…) so I start skating faster and make it look effortless.
7:35pm: I’m skating my 6 laps. I’m focused and confident. I’VE GOT THIS! I start singing Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” in my head because if it can pump up Colin Kaepernick before a game, it’s worthy of singing in training moments like this. And hey, I am the woman!
7:35:52pm: I am not the woman…
7:36pm: Uh-oh, I’ve lost balance as I enter a turn at a high speed (Trust me I was going fast. For some reason I was fearlessly skating which is definitely not like me). This is not going to be good.
7:37pm: I’m on the floor. In shock, confusion, pain. Did I really just fall that hard? Am I alive? What just happened?!?!
7:38pm: Crawl to the center ring, out of the way of my fellow derby-ers. I fell so hard my stomach actually hurts.
7:39-7:49pm: Just sit on my knees and give a thumbs up and smile to everyone who asks if I’m ok. I’m clearly not but I’m very convincing and not in tears. I’m still in shock at how hard I smacked the ground. My fear of internal bleeding is taking over. (Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve had this fear and it definitely will not be the last.) Will I be able to sit down this week? How big will this bruise be? How long will the bruise last? (I have a fear of bruises lasting too long because even though I am not a doctor, I know that is not a good sign.) Did I damage anything internally? Crap, this hurts.
7:50-8:30pm: I eventually get up (after a healthy 10 minutes) and finish the 7 levels of Hell with my partner. I may not be Derby material, but I was determined to give Derby a fair try and at least complete one class. Practice goes on but all I’m thinking about is the fact that I may have seriously injured myself and that I’m still wearing old, questionable, borrowed Derby gear. Is it almost over so I can go home, ice bum and watch the last hour of the Bachelor finale??
8:30pm: Practice ends. I strip off my gear, smile to everyone and leave. Thank goodness that’s over!
8:34pm: Get to my car. It’s blocked by an enormous truck. Go back inside and ask if anyone is driving a big SUV. “What are you asking about STD’s?” is the response from one of my fellow derby gals. Ya, this place is not for me.
9:01pm: Finally arrive home. Hysterically laugh as I recount the evening to my parents, Kara and Marissa. Then sit down on the couch with an ice pack on my right butt check (which is still black and blue as I write this over a week later and still slightly swollen) and call both Clare and Nikki idiots as I watch Juan Pablo pick someone on the Bachelor.
1 Week Later: I did not return to Roller Derby. I decided that the shape of my butt and the bones in my arms and organs in my body are too precious to risk getting damaged in derby. Was it fun? Sure. Do I think I could actually be good at derby? Of course. (I know that might sound delusional but I really do think if I stuck with it, I could be decent…) Is it worth pursuing? Nope! But I sure do feel badass for saying I was once a derby gal 🙂