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Random stuff from the Bronster... especially good to read if you happen to like me.

Monday, March 04, 2013

My First Year In Roller Derby

 My first year in Roller Derby – Rainbow Smite 25 MRD's Furies, Manchester.


I turned up to Sporting Edge, Openshaw a week late than the Zero to Hero's starting date due to being in a show the week it started (my alter ego is as a comedy improvisor, which means I perform up and down the country, and sometimes these shows get in the way of my skating).
I went to an MRD Free Skate, met with Bethan Coomber and Yak Effive. Bethan was there to catch Yak and I up as we'd both missed week one. I was just excited to be back on skates again, I've always loved skating as a child and still had my skates from a show I was in a few years earlier where we did a Starlight Express section. I learned how to fall and what kit I needed and got some lovely comments from who I was later to discover was future team mate Abby Dasher.
My first ever laps score was 21.

February was spent learning, and learning hard and quick. I passed all my practical minimum skills pretty quickly, but that dreaded rules test kept biting me! I'd not done an exam since I was 16! (benefit of working in 'the arts') so I kept messing up.
It wasn't until half way through February that I finally found out what Roller Derby actually was. The week Tori Bee said “next week you will need your mouth guards” I thought I'd better do some research into what I was letting myself in for... I got myself to YouTube... and nearly had a heart attack. I'd come into this completely blind, I just wanted to skate and this seemed like the only potential outlet for it. Watching this footage suddenly made me realise what this journey was going to be. Weirdest thing though... I felt ready.
I had to pick a name though, and quick. This was also lost on me at the time and I thought I'd just go for something easy and simple... For a short time, I was The Edge number 25 (24 was my preferred number as it's the number I perform in, but that was taken by my 'not wife' Rachel 'Skatanico' Hodson).
Also I bought my own skates this month and my laps immediately climbed over the 25 mark! It really does make a difference ;)

This month MRD's first Ladies B Team formed, The Phoenix Furies, and I was honoured to be part of their first roster! The month was spent working together as a team, and for me, basically getting my head around Default Strategy! I really have to DO things over and over for them to sink in... it took a while. Our coaches were amazing, very patient and knew exactly how far to push us. We were getting there.

Our first bout was on the horizon, there were two things in the way of me taking part, 1) the dreaded rules test (I was on try number 3 at this stage) and 2) my wedding. I was determined to do this bout no matter what. I swotted up good and proper and managed to get my rules done with a week to spare (which is good as I'd not even scrimmaged at this point). My first and only scrimmage before the bout was pretty epic, being floored by Pyscho-Sis and managing to get straight back up made me feel pretty bad ass ;)
So with that out of the way the next thing. I was getting a lot of advice, mostly from people saying “are you mad?! It's your wedding THE NEXT DAY what if something happens... etc etc... “, but I'm pretty fearless/stupid about these things so I put it to the back of my mind and went to play with my team. My husband to be wasn't allowed at the bout as we'd made a deal not to see each other for a few days before the wedding, and the only bruise I got on the day, weirdly enough, was on my ring finger!
The bout against the Preston Roller Girls was amazing, looking at the footage now though, we were so green (and we were playing in black!) but we learned lots, and bonded well. None of us minded that we lost, it was a close bout and we were just so happy to have our cherry popped, metaphorically speaking.
I got married the next day, and some of my new Derby friends were in attendance (and some of the last to leave!).

The bout taught us a lot. The drills were getting harder, the endurance was tougher, and the pay off was amazing. The Furies were heading for bout number two, I was heading for my honeymoon. I was sad to know that Furies bout number two would be without me, but also excited that our team was gelling so well and we were getting, dare I say it, much better!

June – July
Most of June and July was taken up by my epic honeymoon, but even while in Australia and America I kept up the skating, burning myself horribly in the Californian sun at Venice Beach!

Back off my honeymoon and trying to get back into skating was tough. I'd eaten really badly for 6 weeks, and hadn't skated as much as I wanted to while away. I felt it, I felt it hard. In the couple of months I was away it felt like I'd missed EVERYTHING. There were new teammates who I didn't know, I felt like people had 'overtaken' me, or at the very least, that I'd floundered behind. My first scrimmage back was painful to say the least, I was exhausted so easily, and my jamming (which I was working on hard before I went away) was shocking. All I had done to this point was concentrate on jamming. There wasn't a whole lot I knew about blocking. This was about to change.

Our third bout (second with me playing) was zooming up, I just managed to get in on my 3 A's (Attitude, Ability and Attendance) and I was excited to bout again, it had been an age. Since the last bout I'd learned a lot more about strategy and technique, but my endurance was still suffering. Also since the last bout, a name change! The Edge just wasn't cutting it, and during a photo shoot the ever present Abby Dasher piped up that due to my colourful exterior I should look at a play on 'Rainbow Brite' for a name. Rainbow Smite was born, and she's never looked back.
So, we were all set to play the Furness Firecrackers. I was an 'emergancy' jammer, and was really hoping to be called upon. My blocking was still at the baby stage, I'd still spent most of my time concentrating on jamming. The bout was intense, it was hard work, and I was not at all impressed with my blocking, I just didn't seem to understand what was going on most of the time, and I was not called on to jam. Oh... and we won :D Finally a win for the Furies, we were ecstatic.
I was pretty disappointed. It took me a long time to look at the footage. But when I did it helped me to realise what I could do better (I can't recommend shooting your bouts enough! So much happens in the heat of the moment that you forget later... think about it ;) ). It seemed blocking was my future, so when I went along to take part in a Mixed bout in Liverpool at the end of the month, I threw myself into that (my team won).

October saw a Captain change for the Furies, Mah-Rollin left us to join the Checkerbroads and Bootay Treatment stepped up as new Captain! It saw a change for me too. Most of the previous year I'd been only focussing on jamming, I was sad about how my path was changing, but once I embraced it I decided I was going to be the best blocker I could be! And I really started getting into it! I used my jammer head to figure out where the jammer would like/need me to be. I got my head around c shaped walls and various other drills and really started to feel where I was needed on the track.

By this stage I really started to feel like I was getting back into it. I was getting my confidence back. Things were finally starting to stick, I really felt like I'd got my head around how this game worked. I was getting on so much better with my teammates and it really started to feel like we were getting close to 'group mind'. The only downside with this month was that my rehearsal schedule was taking up so much of my time, so I was worried I was missing out on lots.

TWO BOUTS! So excited to be playing two bouts this month! The first was against the Evolution Roller Girls, and it really felt like we'd hit our stride! Everything seemed to work, our walls were great, we felt like we were on fire. We headed to Dublin the following week, and that was a slightly different story. However, it was a good learning experience on how to keep cool and stick to what you know... although personally their floor terrified me, I was convinced I was going to hurt myself on that floor.
December rounded off with a fantastic bootcamp (the first I'd been to) at Rainy City in Oldham. It was a boot camp for Jammers. I wanted to see if there was anything more I could learn, yes I'd not let go of this idea yet... in the scrimmage I won a certificate! For Best Blocker ;)

January, second training session back. I was so excited to get cracking on year two of my derby life, I really felt like I was back, like I'd figured it all out and was ready to really go for it. It was just coming up on my 1 year in Derby, a few of us were celebrating it as we had started at the same time. Then it happened. I consider my honeymoon my first set back... this was my second (and please, my last!).
During practice, while scrimmaging, I fell. I fell badly. There was a noise I will NEVER forget, and a lot of peoples facial expressions that are etched on my brain forever. I was to find out later in hospital that I'd broken my ankle in three places, AND dislocated it. I knew when starting this sport something would happen to me, and I knew it would be my ankles, but in all honesty, I thought maybe a bad sprain... not this. At the time of writing I am one operation down (another to go) and 6 weeks in plaster. This has been the hardest part of my derby life (if not just my 'actual' life), Watching people do what I can't, that my body is against me at the moment.
I've been to a few practices, a couple of scrimmages, and a couple of bouts. I enjoy them when I'm there, but going home, no sorry- being driven home by someone because I wont be able to drive again for months – is when it kicks in. Don't get me wrong, my derby family have been amazing, but it's hard to fit in when you can't do the one thing that brings you all together.
I am hoping to be skating again by the end of the summer, so fingers x'd for me. Til then I will be supporting MRD in any way I can, and trying not to get TOO jealous.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

As I lie here, now in Milwaukee, when I should be asleep, I feel I need to write about my road trip now before I forget all about it...

After ComedySportz World Championship ended in Indianapolis Saturday 23rd July, I went to bed by 2am... knowing that by 8am I wanted to be on the road to Florida. 

Yes, Florida.  I had no real desire to see Florida as such, but I have friends there, I had a week spare and a car at my disposal.  Rachel Wareing was also up for this crazy road trip, so 8am the next day (Rach had only had about 2 hours sleep to my 6) we filled up the car and headed out.

Sunday 24th July
Just as we were leaving Indiana for Kentucky we decided we would step foot in every state we went to and take a picture. here we go on our epic drive!
As we were already in Indiana, we managed to find our first stop....
  Southern Indiana.  Straight over the bridge we were in Kentucky, and on our way to breakfast with my friend Josh and his wife who now live there.
 This was a fun breakfast full ofjosh realisations and a few years catching up!  We concluded that if it weren't for Josh I may never have got interested in ComedySportz, the first time I ever saw a ComedySportz show was at my School in WIsconsin, the High School League, and Josh was in it!  Kentucky didn't seem too big a state, KentuckyI don't remember being in there for too long..  Next up was a state we were going to be seeing a lot of, probably more than we really wanted to, one of the longest (widest) states i think there is - Tennessee.Tennesee.  There was a freaky part to this ride.  Just as we left Tennessee to get into Georgia (with no warning!) we were back in Tennessee again!  Turns out the freeway dips into Georgia, back out again, and then into Georgia again... freaked us out, we were convinced we went the wrong way.  So, into Georgia... by now we were probably driving about 8 hours.  We got excited!  Georgia is only one state away from Florida!  We're nearly there!
Georgia Erm.... wrong.  Georgia took us into the night to drive through!  What a long state,with nothing but peaches and scary billboards about how we're going to Hell.  We didn't stop in Georgia, I'm pretty sure Rachel slept through a chunk of it.  By the time we got through Georgia it was dark, but YAY!  We are in FLORIDA!  We are nearly there!!!
  Erm... wrong... Florida is apparently a long state... we had at least another three hours drive to Apopka.  The last few hours were the hardest but we kept our spirits up.  By 2.30am we arrived.  We had set off at 8am that morning, and arrived at 2.30am, only now I do the maths - that is 18 and a half hours driving!  That's more hours than I'm usually awake in a day!Mike and Becky
The next day (monday) was spent resting and catching up with Mike and his family, generally just moaning about the heat, but hey, at least we have airconditioning in the car!

Tuesday 26th July
Today was a fun day at Universal studios catching up with Matt Tremmel who now lives in the area and works at the Studios.  The day started with me feeling horribly ill, but managed to shake it off and make a day of it.  short drive over to Tampa With Matt.  On the drive over it was refreshing as we knew this was the shortest leg of any of this journey, and we found Mookie's place easily.  Initially our time in Tampa was supposed to stretch two days, but we had a last minute idea that if we went to Memphis the next day we could get up to Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) earlier and rest before we played a show there.
fave! with mookieEnjoyed the eveining with Mookie chatting til 2am and watching him and Rach get their drink on.

Wednesday 27th July
I thought I'd died in my sleep.  I felt so ill when I woke up, I actually couldn't wake up.  I couldn't swallow, could barely talk, every time I got up I wanted to fall down, I thought my head was going to explode and one side of my next was so sore and swollen I just didn't want to move... but we needed to drive 13 hours to Memphis that day!  And as soon as possible!  We decided to go to Walgreens and see what they suggested.  They suggested I get to the Doctors asap while backing away, rachel took the reigns, got directions to the nearest clinic and off we went,  Some of the hardest driving I've ever had to do.  Alamaba$120 dollars and some medication later I was feeling a bit better and we were on the road again.  We went back up through Georgia then took a turn went through Alabama and kept going north up into Mississippi, wanted to try and go as far as we could before the end of the day, the original idea was to stop in Memphis, Mississippi - it was closedbut instead we stopped in a place called Tupelo, which we discovered was where Elvis was born.

Thursday 28th July
Woke up earlyish and had a hearty breakfast, I was already feeling a bit better, could actually swallow today.  Only two hours to Memphis so we got on the road and headed to Graceland (yes, we played the song).  Graceland was probably the most disappointing part of the entire trip.  We remarked about how tacky the whole thing was and it just seemed really depressing
there it was  We spent about an hour and $3 there and got back on the road.  We were pleased that this was our last major leg of the journey and that we had added the Quad Cities stop on the way 'home' because Graceland wasn't worth adding in all Arkansasthose extra hours and miles! We squeezed up the side of a few other states we didn't realise we were gong to go through.  Namely Arkansas and Missouri.  We had a bit of a gamble in Missouri on a river boat (that really wasn't a boat!) and some delicious and cheap food.Missouri
We decided to forgo the less direct interstate route for a Highway known only as Highway 67 North... probably the worst decision we made.
Not only was it dark, slow, creepy... 50 miles into this part of the trip the only thing that kept us sane went... the airconditioning!  I genuinely started to panic a little bit. I do NOT well with the heat and after being ill I didn't want to mess around with my body temp.  Luckily for us, the nighttime brought cooler air.  It also brought a weird experience near White Hall Illinois where we nearly ran into some dogs, people and pigs, all we could think of was Deliverance and got the eff out of there.  We arrived in Quad Citites about 1.30am and checked into the hotel that the wonderful Jeff Adamson had organised for us.

Friday 29th July
What a lovely day in the Quad Cities area, spent catching up with Quad Cities pals.  We spent the evening playing in a show at their gorgeous new venue!  Sorry guys, the UK lost out to the USA, ah well.  Then it was back on the road again! It took us nearly an hour to get out of the Quad Cities, we even ended up in Iowa at one point!
We were there! Friday!  rachel needed to be at the airport for 4am to catch her flight to New York... so off we went.  i was pretty amazed i was still awake, and the air was cool.  I dropped her off just before 4 and then headed to Milwaukee, still amazed that i was awake.  At 4.45am I woke Michele up to let me in and pretty much just conked out on her sofa... thus ended the epic trip.  At some point I will figure out the mileage and all that.


Deer - 4
Raccoon - 5
Lizard - 2
Armadillo - 9
Turtle - 2
Rabbit - 2
Fox - 1
Bat - 1
Dog - 1
Cat - 2
Possum - 2

Most road kill state - Missouri

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Fathers day.

I'm rubbish at showing my family how I feel, but hopefully they know anyway.

This week I went skiing for the first time in years... as I was getting the hang of it again it occurred to me that this is one of the many things in my life I would not be able to do without my Dad teaching me. It was our 'thing' when I was little. We would go to Scotland, or ski in America, and it was fun, and I started to get good at it! He would encourage me by being really good and making me want to be good too :D

This week I fell over twice, the first time was a small fall sideways, no biggie, the second was a KO! I didn't hurt myself and I got up (found my skiis) and carried on... but as I was getting up it reminded me of skiing behind my dad in Scotland years ago... he was going like the clappers, and I was trying to keep up. Then all of a sudden it looked like Dad jumped out of his skiis and face planted on the floor! It didn't just look like that, that was what actually happened... he hit a rock! It was hilarious! Dad always had the best falls. The one in Colorado was EPIC and we have it on video somewhere... just a big cloud of snow dust for half of the mountain!

This is me skiing this week:

A few years ago Dad had a stroke and he can't ski anymore. A lot of the things we would do together were rather physical things, and I know it frustates and upsets him that he can't do them anymore. But the way he's coped is admirable, he's just filled in the gaps with other stuff. We tend to play golf now.

Happy Fathers Day x
Something that just occurred to me...

People are very important to me. They always have been. Also, I am usually over bogged down with What Ifs...
Today it's got me thinking... what if I didn't meet some of these people?
So... ComedySportz.

If I hadn't met Dieter, I wouldn't have been in Milwaukee and got involved in ComedySportz, if I hadn't caught back up with Beth Horsley, I wouldn't have met Chris Brooker who helped keep CSz going and moved to Manchester, if I hadn't met Chris Brooker I wouldn't have met John Cooper who orgaised our second Venue at Sale Waterside and suggested we get in touch with the Comedy Store in the first place...
And if I hadn't met ANY of those people I would have left the USA and probably never really gone back. Therefore not meeting some of my best friends!


It occurred to me that I owe a great deal of my current life to one person. Beth Horsley. She put me on a track I never expected. One where I got out of Chorley, moved to Manchester (a few times) and met the man I am going to marry.
It's a funny old world!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The demons don'tcome out to play any where near as much as they used to. But this week has seen me return to 'surrey' stress levels. Ie:the reason I started this blog back in 2002. This week I had to write a 3000 word essay of sorts stating why I should receive a teaching award.
I failed.
I freaked out. And all my old paranoias and doubts and hatred of myselt flooded back. So overwhelming that I have pretty much been broken for most of the week. Only time will tell if I'm past it again yet, but the slightest thing is setting ne offi am now convinced my new rabbit hates me. Which makes me very sad.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Been a while since I wrote on here, I suppose Facebook has a lot to be blamed for.
It's nearly the end of 2010, I've been writing this blog for a long while now (some years more than others). I am starting to think through the last year and think about what I've acheieved.

In 2010:

My first paper was published in the first ever Comedy Studies Journal.

I bought a flat :D

I got engaged :D John is the love of my life, and when he asked me it was like everything was complete.

I got to perform in Philadelphia and New York making the total of cities I've played in now: 16 (I think), and that's not including Edinburgh and London

I organised Manchester's first improv tournament, and we had a great turn out for it :D

I ran two 10k races and 1 5k :D

I went to the dentist, twice!

I joined Slimmingworld and have so far lost 1 stone 9 lbs

I took photos for a second wedding

I have directed another 3 plays this year, 2011 I'm going to be directing even more I hope, it's been too long not doing this! I love it too much.

I bought a new car, and it's ACE and MASSIVE!

I have some retained and obtained amazing friends in two countries

Sad things about 2010:

I lost my lovely gorgeous kitty cat, Binx. I was so sad to see her go. I couldn't even bring myself to go to the vets with her, it was too hard. John was so wonderful, and the only upside was that it brought us so much closer together.

A wonderful Man - Michael Myers - was tragically killed by being swept off the Oregon Coast with his wife Katie. Now, I didn't know Mike that well, but I knew him, and just the idea that this had happened to someone I knew was desperately sad. I can't even begin to imagine how his friends and family in Oregon felt. It took a month for his body to turn up :( The world is a sadder place without these genuinly good people.

My therapy ended and I still haven't had an injection or a filling... so I think i need to get on that in the new year. I'm determined to get over this shit.

Two people I considered friends effectively shat on my face and asked me never to speak to them again. Granted, nearly 5 years ago I was a bit crap to them... but I was a different person then, and as far as I was concerned, we had got over it. But apparently things had just been bubbling for years... or new gf's got under their skins... one or the other. Either way, I'm fine with it now, but it hurt for a while.

Here's to 2011

Friday, September 10, 2010

one other thing!
I have taken vitamin C every day since January... and have not been ill ONCE! This is so very rare I can only assume the Vit C is doing its job :D

Thursday, September 09, 2010

2010 seems to be going pretty well to be honest.

My therapist today helped me to take a step back and look at all the things I've done this year... so I thought I'd write them here so I remembered later on when things are crappy again.

I've run 2 10k races
I bought my own place
I've directed famous people
I got engaged to the most wonderful man I've ever met
I set up a new course at the Store
I have started a little Ebay Empire
I performed in two new States (New York and Pennsylvania)
I performed at two weddings
I started therapy
I've lost a stone in weight
I've started exercising regularly
I have tiled a bathroom and a hall way!
I've visited the Dentist!