So Saturday the 10th of September was the day of my very first, proper, actual, real-life bout. This is just a memento of the lead up to the day, how it went, and how I felt afterwards. It is not intended to be advice but I will mention things that helped me to focus and not have a melt down on the day of the bout and a few things that I think I could have done better or differently in the lead up to it. This is more of a rambling than anything - welcome to my brain, it’s a terrifying place to be.
So began the run up to the big day.
Luckily I had a pretty full on schedule in the weeks prior to the game so I didn’t have too much time to dwell on my pre-bout nerves. (That didn’t stop me having some pretty damn ludicrous nightmares though, brains are great aren’t they?!) But I had a lot of questions about silly things like:
I know, I know, I am my own worst enemy. The thing is though I like to be organised, I like making lists, I like fully formed plans; when I’m doing something or going somewhere new this trait goes in to overdrive. I kept most of this scary side side of my brain to myself; I think it would have helped me to ask people all the questions, but I just didn’t want to annoy people – I’m pretty sure I’m over that fear now though so be prepared team. Luckily another skater was going to be skating her very first bout too so we managed to muddle through some of the insanity together. I pushed myself at training during the weeks building up to the bout, gave every drill my all, tried things that scared me and most importantly didn’t break myself.
Moving on to the day before the bout I made sure I acted as normally as possible, carried on with the usual routines, met some friends so I wasn’t sat at home fretting alone, had a few cocktails and decided it was a good idea to write a blog post, ate a good meal in the evening and checked over and lined up my kit ready to pack in the morning (alongside my inevitable list(s) of things to remember.) I even packed up some food and plenty of drinks for the day so I would have something to devour after the bout because I knew I wouldn’t be capable of eating much before.
Now I know I said this wasn’t an advisory blog but I’ve changed my mind. If I can give you one piece of advice it is this: DO NOT GIVE YOURSELF SIX BLISTERS THE NIGHT BEFORE A BOUT BY WEARING SHOES WITH STUPID LITTLE SOCKS THAT COMBINE TO CREATE THE WORST WALKING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE. (Apart from that time you didn’t realise that the thing in your shoe was actually a nail sticking in though the sole…. But that’s a story for another day.) So yeah, bout day started with me frantically trying to find enough blister plasters in the pockets of bags to try and salvage what dignity I could for my angry feet – needless to say this was not on my list. Luckily adrenaline numbed the worst of it until after the final whistle.
So the day I arrived, I force fed myself some breakfast and coffee then packed my bags. The journey there was fine, I managed to tune my brain out as much as possible and relax, luckily I was able to get a lift with fellow Minxters so I didn’t have the added stress of driving and also had people to chat with on the road. Then we arrived at the venue and I realised it was really happening and welcomed back the nausea, but almost every skater was feeling the same so I was not alone. Honestly the whole experience from the minute I put my skates on was a bit of a blur, if you’re lucky there will be some fab photographers there on the day so that you can look back and realise that maybe you did do something useful, or yes you really do need to work on your derby stance and being tall is no longer a viable excuse! But it was great, despite not winning the team were all in great spirits and really supportive. Even when I put a jammer panty on my head and then got all the penalties. It was a learning experience for all of us and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
All photos courtesy of Dave Moore, to see more photos from the bout check out: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gridiron/albums