Playing roller derby is dangerous.
But learning to play roller derby is really, really dangerous.
So many way to hurt yourself when you don't know what the hell you are doing.
Now, during a game, bruises, sprains, concussions, even broken bones are run of mill injuries. It isn't particularly fun for anyone, but the players are aware of the risks and accept them as part of the game. Nobody wants to get hurt, but no one is really surprised when they do either.
Injuries happen often during practice too. Even if you took away the drills, jams, games, skill work, blocking, hitting, and racing around a small track at high speed, everyone there still has roller skates on. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but roller skates, all by themselves, are pretty damn unsafe.
Roller Skates = peril.
I first noticed this when I was ten years old as I went ass over teakettle and slammed all my body weight down on one of my hands bent backwards as I instinctively tried to protect my young tuckus. My wrist, in protest, promptly broke and its bones attempted to exit my body through my skin. My mother, also in on the protesting, took my subsequent hospitalization while awaiting surgery as an opportunity to stash my roller skates in the deepest, darkest corner of the basement, never to be seen again.
Moms = no fun.
After my twenty four year hiatus from roller skating, these past six months of skating has afforded me many more reasons to declare roller skating hazardous to good health. Without doing anything more than moving on skates, I know people who have taken off patches of skin, pulled muscles in their legs and groin, sprained ankles, damaged vertebrae, and broken their - guess which bone? - wrist. Just skating.
Add in derby drills. Drills that do not include contact with other players. Enter more abraded flesh, sprained ankles, more pulled and torn muscles, concussions, a broken coccygeal vertebrae, and an entire foot sheared from its host, holding on only by the sheer resiliency of the skin. AND THESE ARE GOOD SKATERS!
You can up the stakes from here to add contact and such, but I think we'll just skip to the top of the roller derby danger scale and talk about the ultimate hazard:
Being a rookie, skating with a rookie, doesn't matter. It's a treacherous situation and I would avoid it if I could. I mean, if I wasn't a rookie.
Rookies know just enough about what they are doing to seriously hurt themselves and others. Rookies are allowed to hit but do not do it well. We get on the track with the quick and nimble veterans and then resemble nothing more than a moose on the highway you find just on the other side of the hill. And if we're not speed bumps, we're like toddlers with mac trucks and we're not letting anyone know we can't control our our damn wheels because then they won't let us play.
Rookies running derby drills is, frankly, hilarious. And scary. I am saying this with all my love for my fellow newbs, but I never know if practice is going to make me laugh or cry.
Rookies = painful, yet funny.
Last week, for instance, Cherry Hatchett and I were practicing a little blocking when I punched her in the ass.
I didn't mean to. I was just trying to pick up some speed, pumping my arms, and her butt got in the way. I am almost sure this hardly ever happens to veteran players. Seems to me, an accidental ass punch screams rookie.
Of course, any razzing I got was cut short when a few minutes later, still running blocking drills, Banshee BarBrawler and Cherry Hatchett accidentally locked wheels and Hatchett got herself a giner shiner courtesy of Banshee's skate.
Wheel lock = death.
Wheel lock is bad. When you lock wheels with another quad skater, all involved wheels instantly stop and both skaters are tossed in the air like a couple of rag dolls bouncing off a wood chipper. Wheel lock is also classic rookie, since we tend to skate splay legged like baby deer taking its first steps. Moving in close enough to hit somebody, we move our skates together, almost like we are trying to fit our wheels like a jigsaw puzzle. I know veteran skaters do not do this as much because I spend a lot of time at practice being reminded to keep my feet closer to my body.
The resultant injury of the Banshee/Hatchett mash Incident is not limited to rookie roller girls, though. In fact, if you look it up in the urban dictionary, you see roller derby mentioned outright.
Roller derby = giner shiner.
It's probably better that I am done with having kids anyway.