August 20, 2011
CCD had to opportunity to skate with Bonnie D. Stroir, founder of the San Diego Derby Dolls and roller derby legend. We were joined by members of the Lea County Roller Wenches from Hobbs and Silver City’s Skate the Wilderness. Skaters from all levels participated in the boot camp, from the experienced veterans down to the recently drafted fresh meat.
At first I was apprehensive about having 40 girls with varying skill levels on the track all at the same time but Bonnie’s teaching style immediately put me at ease. She broke skills down to the most basic level and progressively added to them. Can you skate backwards? No? Go practice that. Yes? How about backwards on one leg? Ok, how about skating backwards on one leg and then changing directions? Bonnie kept adding complexity and eventually had most of us performing a waltz jump.
After the skills session we progressed to strategy, starting with the most basic plays and working up to more complex situations. Bonnie would start with a lecture and demonstration, then she’d send us out to practice for no more than 5 minutes before calling us back in to critique if we were doing something incorrectly or to add a step if we were ready. Luckily she also gave us ample time to stop and take notes; I’m sure I’m not the only one whose brain was completely overwhelmed at certain points! The last section on Sunday had all of us on the track in full pads but wearing sneakers. This was a great equalizer, and I saw many of the newer girls gain confidence when skating was removed from the equation.
A colossal amount of information was presented, and I realized that what we learned is applicable to everything we do in life, not just derby. Keep moving! If you fall down, get up! Don’t brag about how awesome you are, let your actions be your voice! Be kind to your friends (and your knees). It’s nearly impossible to simultaneously be fast AND agile. Don’t let people get to you. Stay focused on what you CAN control, NOT what you can’t. Trust yourself and your teammates. As Bonnie D. Stroir taught us: LiveLoveDerby.
– Nikki Six-Shooter, #colt45