Well, I did my skate test on Sunday. It was a gruelling day for all involved; an hour and a half of "bootcamp" (as we hadn't skated with our rollergirl teachers in three months), then straight into two and a half hours of testing which ended (NOT my bright idea) with the twenty five laps in five minutes part.
I did not pass. I did get close mind you, I got sixty-nine percent where seventy-one is required. When Bryan, the manager of the Chicks Ahoy (my favourite team) walked over to me and said lets talk about your results, I knew I had failed. He's a nice guy and had been part of the testing and clearly felt bad, the results were telegraphed.
I have always appreciated my ability to read micro expressions the most when it comes to bad news. It often gives me time to internally compose myself before being told the bad news so I can look like a champ when they actually say it. I did require some composure because I was pretty ticked off when I saw a few of the marks I had lost.
It's pretty impossible not to just sound like a whinger when talking about how you shouldn't have lost points you did in a test so I certainly didn't go on about it. I did tell Bryan I disagreed with a couple of them just for the record, but I am aware it doesn't matter in the end anyway. I failed, the decisions were already made so that was the end of that.
It is frustrating to feel pretty confident that the mark would have been different in a different testing scenario where the very few testers hadn't just finished a two hour practice of their own team before skating for three more hours with us. There are other sciencey sort of reasons about decision making fatigue and the human tendency to see trends especially in small populations and that sort of stuff but none of that really makes a difference either in the end. It is as it is.
I do the think the girls/boy testing did their best and they are all really nice people. They tried hard to help us with the bootcamp and I got some really great tips from Rebel Rock-it (who is just an incredible blocker if you ever see her play) about ways to strengthen my legs to try and counteract my physiological issue of having knock-knees, which of course effects my balance and skating. So, that was really cool.
I do feel I learned a lot, if nothing else that I can skate for four hours and still do an endurance at the end and get twenty-three laps in five minutes. Not a perfect score but I was pretty impressed considering when we began the endurance the first two minutes I was thinking, shit, I'm not even going to get twenty here. This feeling of doom was added to as the few other girls I was testing with were all higher calibre skaters then I (two were transfer rollergirls from BC), and both of the girls on the track with me did around twenty-eight laps in the allotted five minutes. It was good mind training, not getting defeated in the face of better athletes.
On the up side now it's done! Hahaha... I shall take away as much as I can from it and move on. I have already been in contact with the Renegade Derby Dames (their farm team is The Misfit Militia) who skate in Alliston, which is much closer to me anyway, and will be skating with them as of next weekend. I will be able to retake my test at the end of November which sounds fine to me. I really look forward to meeting them and getting to be a part of a league for real.
I really wish I could have continued with ToRD though, I'm sad to leave the girls I went through freshmeat with and all the people I was just starting to get to know and whatnot. I was really excited to skate with them on the D-Vas. But, unfortunately, the only choice I would have with them is to redo the whole freshmeat programme and then be able to try again for the test, next summer. That's a bit insane for me for numerous reasons, the biggest one being I want to start playing derby already I know how skate well enough to be on a farm team.
I was very touched by the response my news got on facebook. I'm not big on being felt sorry for and wrote my news there for continuity. I knew I had been talking about the test for days so everyone would want to know how it went. It was nice that there was a lot more empathy then anything else and I really appreciated the love being sent my way. I even had a couple of girls I skated with in freshmeat personally message me kind words. Super sweet. Thank you all of you.
So, for the record here are the things which I was marked down on (lost one point):
3.3.2 - hop from one foot to other - I do need to improve with this clearly, I didn't even realise it was on the test until a few days before it
3.5 - cone weaving - well, this one was just unfortunate, I did this perfectly four times practicing an hour earlier but when it came time to do it for the test... poo.
1.6.2 - propel with eight wheels on the ground - this one as well, I hadn't practice correctly. That is, I knew we had to do this, and I do it well - when I'm moving. I hadn't realised we have to start from a standstill. This is WAY harder. It's really the starting that they are testing as we skated only a short distance, what they were looking for was the ability to get up to speed from standstill while keeping all wheels on the ground. I shall absolutely be practicing this.
5.2 - positional blocking - I did a fairly crap job of this for the test, I was tired it was near the end, it's not my strongest ability anyway.
5.3.1 - hip blocking - I disagree with this mark off but will continue to practice I can only get better.
5.3.2 - shoulder blocking - I disagree with this mark off but will continue to practice I can only get better.
4.1.3 - receiving hip whip - I STRONGLY disagree with this mark. I find this VERY easy and simply stumbled on my last try as I was getting tired (we did it three times though and it is meant to be best one of out three; two were perfect)
4.3 - pacing speed - I STRONGLY disagree with this mark as well. I am very good at this. (Not only in my estimation, I have been told so numerous times by rollergirls in class.) Also I had my arm up often (as it is about staying an arms length away from girl in front of you at all times as line speeds up and slows down) to check. I will note however that all of the other girls (who were overall better skaters then me) had trouble with this as they were all commenting about it afterward and I know the girl in front of me bumped into the pace keeper a couple of times.
2.1.2 - single knee fall right - I don't understand what would possibly have been wrong with this either but I have to imagine something - practice, practice, practice.
1.4 - 23-25 laps in five min
So, there you have it. I shall now strive to improve on these things. It is interesting to note that one of the things I had been worried about, jumping, I got full marks on and a number of things I felt extremely confident on I got marked down. I don't know what that says, but there you have it. I endeavour to be better at all of it. One day the title of the blog will be a lie, one day!