All I wanted was to stay on two feet for the skate out, no butt to floor action was necessary at this point. That was my one goal for the next 2 minutes and thankfully I succeeded. Today was my first 'big' bout as an official NCVR skater, I mean I was in the programme and everything. I was pretty pumped! As soon as I walked into the venue, I was hit with thoughts of 'that floor doesn't look like it is going to agree with my skates' and 'wow that lady is mighty tall and.. scary'. But as soon as I got kitted up, the nerves seemed to freeze quite well into the air of the ice cold sports hall. I forgot about the crowd and the officials, the refs and the opposition and just concentrated on my team mates, the advice from the bench and making sure that my toe stops were screwed in properly.
As the first jam whistle went, I felt a rush of adrenalin as I saw our first jammer hammer against the oppositions wall. Then I panicked because I saw how immensely strong they were! The second and third jam went on and I began to settle down again because our jammers were breaking through. I kept thinking to myself 'just don't think about it too much and just do it' So when it came my turn to jam that's what I did. Ready, behind the jam line, my legs began to wobble and as I hopped onto my toe stops, the whistle blew. I remember hitting the wall and thinking 'this is not going to happen, i'm never going to get through this sheer brick wall' But I fought, then I fell, fought and fell again. I continued to fight my way though, looking for gaps out of the corner of my eye. With some sheer determination and some mighty hits from my blockers, I eventually got through the pack and even though I wasn't lead jammer, just being able to skate around the opposite end of the track and see the backs of the opposition again gave me the confidence to realise that I could do it.
As the scrim went on, I did tire and the opposition picked me clean out and used my weakness against me. I made silly little mistakes that got me penalties and at first I felt defeated. I felt like a bit of a let down compared to all of the other jammers out there. But if I didn't make those rookie errors, if I didn't get penalty after penalty, how would I know how to do better next time? How would I know how to react differently? At the end of the game, I did feel emotional, not because I felt beaten, but because of the strong support from the rest of NCVR.
I think the reason that I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be was because I felt safe with my team. The support between everyone is solid, more solid than those incredible opposition walls! I think what this first scrim has taught me about roller derby is that yes skill will develop, speed will come and strength will build, but over everything you need a solid foundation and once you find that well oiled team, things can only get better and better.