Ginger Clobbers steps up for Team USA Tryouts
On Monday July 1st the second of three tryouts for Team USA was held in Feasterville, PA courtesy of the Philly Rollergirls. It closed out their weekend long annual event, East Coast Derby Extravaganza.
I was one of the excited (and nervous!) participants for tryouts that day. I arrived 10 minutes before the announced door-open time of 10 am, and there was already a long line of skaters ready to sign their waivers and get started.
I was among so many skaters I admire- I.M. Pain (Charm City), Shark Week (Boston), Fisti Cuffs (Gotham), Shenita Stretcher (Philly), Polly Gone (Texas) and Snot Rocket Science (Steel City), just to name a few! Getting the opportunity to work with top- level skaters from Texas to Maine was really exciting!
Once everyone was registered, each skater was assigned a red, black or white jersey to wear and the number 1 or 2. I was assigned a black jersey and put in group 1. The coaches informed us we would be starting on time and to be ready and warmed up. I jogged a few laps around the skating rink, did some dynamic stretching and geared up.
I was the only skater from Carolina at tryouts, but I wasn’t alone. Among the familiar and friendly faces were Julia Bondage and Raven Darkhold from River City. Having them to talk to as we got ready helped soothe my nerves. I also thought back to the well-wishes from my coaches and teammates and reminded myself of how much they supported me in this endeavor.
When I stepped onto the floor, I was determined to skate my best and give it everything I had. The Team USA coaches, Buster Cheatin’ and Endless Justin sure asked for a lot from each hopeful. The day’s schedule was several drills to evaluate our skills and abilities, followed by skater cuts and then scrimmage with the skaters who were left.
The first skill we demonstrated was doing aggressive stops on each whistle- which was blown every 2 or 3 seconds- and running out of it. It was grueling to try to stop quickly in a small space repeatedly. There was a point where I actually thought I might pass out. It was really hot in there but I survived.. and I was pretty pleased with my showing.
We went through multiple blocking drills, rotating to every position on the track. As a primary jammer for Carolina, tryouts showed me that while I am a good blocker, I need to spend more time on my blocking and improving my backward agility. After three and a half hours of drills, I was exhausted.. but man, I was having fun!
We got a break in the afternoon to eat and rest up while the coaches decided who would make the cut for scrimmage. To be honest, in the company of all those talented and experienced skaters I didn’t expect to make it..and I was right. Only 32 of the 150 skaters were chosen to move on and I was not one of them. Though I was disappointed, I was not disheartened.
I went out and skated with some of the best roller derby has to offer and gave it my all. I was proud of what I had accomplished that day. There was never a time I found myself saying, “I can’t do this,” or “I shouldn’t be here.”
I learned so much on Monday. I am bringing home valuable drills to share with my league and a clear understanding of what I need to work on to make the cut next time.
It was inspiring to be among the amazing athletes who showed up to try out for Team USA. Seeing all the skill, talent, passion and pure determination in the skaters who participated makes me eager to see what the future of roller derby holds. One thing I know for sure is the team representing the USA in the 2014 World Cup in Dallas, Texaswill be exceptional.