Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When in doubt, ham it up...

So I shall begin where I left off.  I had just recovered from having a more mong face than usual and we were preparing for our bout against the Salty Dolls.  In short, we bombed.  The thing about our team is that when we place too much focus on trying to win, we crumble like a vampire drunk on a successful bloodbank heist who accidentally fell asleep on a golf course.  When we're together mentally, we play as a team.  When we drop the bundle, we play like fourteen individuals, which is futile against a team like the dolls, who have both skill and depth.
The following things happened after that bout:
  • TGSS.  This needs more explaining than I have room for here, but basically it's Australian roller derby nationals and NZ comes too.  I was selected to play for ADRD (The Adeladies), which is a great honour for me, because there are about 80 players in our league.  When I played inline and ice hockey (and no offence intended for hockey players here), it was pretty much whoever came to try outs was in the team.  Sometimes there was enough players to make cuts, but rarely.
TGSS was a very tough slog for me after recovering from the Bell's and my head wasn't in it at all.  I pulled myself out of jamming, which is a first, and strange for me.  All in all, we came fourth, which is respectable, but considering the lead we had at half time in our bronze medal match, it's a bit irritating, again we dropped the bundle and ended up losing by about a hundred I think.  I didn't play very well at TGSS but I did have fun, which is a bonus.
  • My feisty Texan belle and I bought a house.  I'm pretty sure this led to the stress that caused my face to flip out.  It's pretty much out in Middle earth (Smithfield Plains), which is all we could afford.  We feel lucky though, considering I'm only on a student's scholarship for income.
So, most people who live in and around Adelaide will have an opinion on the northern suburbs, where we now live.  If they live there, they think it's ok.  Everyone else thinks it's the ghetto and that it's a common occurrence to walk down the streets dodging rusting car bodies while some old lady is being robbed in every seond house you pass, while in each other house resides a six year old nursing her second child.
I gotta say, I was formerly of the latter.  I was uneducated, ignorant and had no care to delve into the matter.  That is, until the day I found myself saying to Mercedes: 'we need to make a decision.  We either move somewhere we don't want to, or we pay somebody else's mortgage for the next four years'.  So we found a property we liked (which ended up being the one we bought), and drove out in the night to look at it.  Bear in mind, we had already looked at one in Taperoo at midnight after I finished work.  We were exploring all around the place with our iPhone torches until the Police arrived and informed us that a neighbour had heard two men in the yard next door and I had to show him my licence.  Anyway, we pulled the same move except we didn't get out of the car.  We immediately noticed nicely kept yards, nice cars in driveways and no menacing kids wearing hoodies walking around at night, shooting at passing cars or nuthin'.
Long story short, we bought it.  And we love it.  Below is a list of some things that have happened since we moved:
  • Mercedes took both of the cats in the moving truck inside pillowcases.  Each had their own case, of course, we're not crazy.  What she didn't tell me until later is that when she first put Gateau in her slip, she left her on the table, turned her back for a moment and the cat (who had been writhing a little) FELL OFF ONTO THE FLOOR.  Below is the pic of the cat sacks.

  • We met some of our neighbours.  One of them actually came over and called to us 'howdy neighbour! Thought you ladies might need a bit of muscle moving your things...' As luck would have it, we were unloading the cast iron claw foot bathtub so we took him up on it.  His brother came to help too.  Joe and Al.  Joe made an appearance later that day too, when we were fixing a hole in the fence and I was very proud of Mercedes' patience when he was trying to hammer the screw in.  it took her five times to explain that it wasn't a nail.
  • We met another naighbour, Robin, who pulled into our driveway with his car when we were expecting the locksmith.  I said 'babe... I think the locksmith is here... though he's kinda old for a tradey...'  Nope, turns out it was Robin, the ex RAAF guy who bought his married quarter that he has now lived in for over thrity years.  He let us know that he is the president of the neighbourhood watch committee too, and to call him if we have any troubles.  He said the only thing that tends to happen is the 'hoons doing the burnouts', which we have heard on occasion.
  • We had an alarm installed.  When the guy was at the house explaining it, an odd thing happened.  He was a lovely guy, a dog lover and Sunny and Paulie were all over him.  We started talking about how dogs seem to know if someone is a dog person...
Him: 'yeah, they know who to go to, who loves dogs...'

Mercedes: 'not like cats.  They seem to go straight to whoever hates cats and bug the shit out of them.'

Him: (busily writing, not looking up) 'yeah... cats... if you make out you don't like em, they'll just come all over ya...'

Me to Mercedes: o_O

Mercedes to me O_o (begins to giggle)

Him: (without breaking stride in his notes, or looking up) 'that didn't sound too good did it...'

Mercedes: (guffawing now) 'whoa whoa whoa, can't there be a happy medium or something?  Like, I don't want em to hate me... but I don't want that...'

  • So, the alarm was installed.  Both the dog lover and technician who installed it told us that it would be ok to have Sunny and the cats inside, as they weigh less than 25kg.  Something they failed to mention is that if Sunny gets on the couch, it will set the alarm off, because it depends on the proximity of a heat signature to the sensor.  Sunny is a labrador.  She lives in the house when we're not home.  This may come as a surprise, but she doesn't spend that time reorganising my robot shelf.  She doesn't pass the hours by thumbing though Mercedes' House and Garden magazines to get ideas.  She sleeps on the couch.  That's.  It.  The first time we left the house with the alarm on was to go to the cinema.  We locked up, set the alarm and left for Elizabeth.  We turned our phones off.  We were so enamoured by Snow White and the Huntsman that we failed to turn them back on and we returned to the house to the alarm going off.  Just the blue light was flashing.  After we shit our pants, we frantically turned our phones on.  Missed calls and texts galore.  My poor sister Mitchi was frantic, thought we'd been murdered.  Sunny was nonplussed.  Turns out she set it off and just did not give two shits about it.  Our poor brand new neighbours...
So we'd been plugging away at the house, getting unpacked and set up etc.  Then came our third round-robin bout against the Hearses.  Now, the thing to note here is that the Hearses have fire in their eyes this year, and had beaten the Salty Dolls earlier in the season.  So, at the last game that was left to be played, the standings were that Salties were ahead and guaranteed a spot in the grand final with one loss, two wins.  Hearses had at that stage two wins and we had a win and a loss.  Poor Mile Die have had a bit of a rough year, but sometimes teams have to rebuild, and I have faith that they will.  Anyway, so if we had won the bout, that would have put all three of us all on two wins, one loss.  That meant it would have gone down to points differential.  So, before the game even started, we knew that we had to beat them by 56 points if we were to get a spot in the grand final.

That fact alone was enough to bring on the palsy again, so I simply decided I didn't care if we lost.  I mean, I always try my very best each bout, but sometimes that isn't good enough to win and the other team is just better on the day and that's not anybody's fault, that's just sport.  So, that was it.  And I told my team that, in the changerooms.  I told them that I didn't care what was on that scoreboard, that I wouldn't be looking because it didn't matter.  I was going to play my favourite game with my favourite people and have fun doing it because if we lost, we weren't going to die, and if we won we weren't going to turn to angels that fart unicorn flavour fairy floss.  Either way, we were going to go on to play another game of roller derby... and another... and another.

So we played.  We played like I don't think I've seen our team play before: unified.  It was so much fun.  It's a great feeling to see the fruits of so much effort splattering all over the track like so many slingshotted cumquats.  There was no pressure on our bench.  The benchies were all over it, and one time, we sat and drank pretend cups of tea, pinkies up and all.

As usual, I can't remember much.  Below is a list of what I can:
  • At one stage, I was particularly pleased with a jam I was having, and after I exited the pack, I flexed my right bicep for the crowd and then pointed at it just in case someone was missing the point,
  • Another time, I was lined up about to jam and flexed both arms up beside my head for my opposition blockers, grinning like a fool the entire time,
  • I once forced all the opposition blockers to admit that they were having a good time and admitted that I didn't care of the outcome and that I loved them all.  I think I was high.
  • Once I was trailing Guns jamming and I yelled out at her 'I'M COMING FOR YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!'
  • The last and most clear memory I have is of the last jam.  The second last jam was about to begin.  I had just come off from jamming and was sitting, catching my breath.  Busty, one of the benchies approached me.  She asked me if I could jam next.  I said no, because I was too knackered.  She knelt in front of me and said: 'you're playing really well and really clean and I reaaaally need you to do this for me, can you?'  So I did.  It's funny, how I used to be so nervous at hockey, even when arriving at the rink for a practice.  It wasn't until after the bout that I realised why I was able to jam in that last one without fear, without nerves, just excitement.  It's because I wasn't afraid to fail.  I know that my team knew I would do my best and those blockers would do their best and regardless of the outcome, they would love and appreciate me.  Derby rules.
So.  Out we went.  We were leading by 53 points, and we needed 56.  Their jammer was in the bin, but I believe (could be wrong here) that we had one or maybe even two blockers in there also.  I got through the pack pretty quick somehow, which is a feat of its own, because I think that I met Fury in that pack and she is a tough nut to crack.  I must have done something worth a minor because I noticed immediately that I wasn't lead.  This fact alone made me shit my pants, because my fitness is a concern to me always (I once had my lungs tested in the Army and they told me I had the capacity of an 80 year old man, true story) and I knew the jam would go the full length.  Then Guns got out of the box.  And I was knackered.  I was pretty sure I had at least got the four points we needed, so when she began scoring, I knew I just had to keep following her through each time she cleared the pack.  The second time she went through she was already clear and I was still stuck at the back.  I began to fret because I was out of puff. 
Then she was sent off.  I couldn't believe it.  Like I said, I was out of puff, and pretty certain that we had enough points, so I did something I have never done before, in fact I have never seen anyone else do it before, I don't think.  I had a little rest.  Just had a little rest right there on the track: bent over, hands at the top of my legs sucking in big ones.  I hated doing it but the peripherals of my vision were going starry and I knew if there was any hope of me going on I needed a quick bit of respite.  As it happens, my opposition blockers were also a little knackered I think and they relaxed a tiny bit, and weren't in a solid wall.  Upon seeing this, I was bolstered and took off, bouncing off them and my own blockers to gain one last pass.  When the final whistle went, I found myself on the far side of the track.  There is a pic of me asking my friend in the crowd if we had done it, and we had.  We won by 60 something and had secured a place for ourselves in the final.  We had played our best game yet and I felt like I redeemed myself after TGSS.  We had fun and played like a team as a result.

That brings us to scratch.  I did have a birthday in there, and it was awesome but this post is pretty long as it is.  The long and short of it is that I had a great weekend with my favourite people on earth, was spoiled rotten by my delightful girlfriend, got my robot tattoo filled in and scored a wicked juicer.

This weekend is the grand final.  Mile Die Club will play the Wild Hearses for third place, we play Salty Dolls for first.  I'm going into it with the same attitude. 

In the words of Vince Fontaine: 'and remember, it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's what you do with those dancin' shoes!'

Now it's time for me to get out of bed and get to training.  I need to study our part of the skate out on the train...

See you on Sunday;)


Oh and P.S. I somehow managed to have the whole arena waiting on me to do the skate out.  So, I entered like this:

What a ham.