It’s happening. My first bout for WRD. At the age of 36, after 53 weeks of training, learning and progressing I passed minimum skills and made the move to main league. My amazing, patient and talented coaches have become my team mates and I have my first bout in my sights. Skate out minus 8 weeks and counting. 

At my first main league training session, I had my first scrim, though I have about 5% recollection of what actually happened, I know I didn’t foul out (I only got 1 penalty *smug*) and I know I was on a high for at least the next 12 hours! The fear of falling, of doing something stupid, of making mistakes, all disappeared as I focused, observed and learnt from my team. 

The next day, bruised, but euphoric, I got the message to say, if I made attendance, I would be eligible to skate in the home game. I knew this day would eventually come, but all I felt now was fear, panic, but also… excitement? I’ve seen bouts before, as an NSO, so I know what to expect, but the difference in pressure is immense. An NSO friend of mine once told me that an inexperienced NSO will realise they have done something wrong and panic, but if an experienced NSO realises they’ve done something wrong, they’ll coolly play it off and move on. With skating, you can’t do that. Inexperience shows. Mistakes are noticed. 

At scrims so far, I haven’t kept up with the pack, I don’t realise what’s happening until it’s over and don’t always understand the plays or tactics being used; I know I’m still learning but sometimes I’m frustrated that I haven’t come out of min skills training skating like Kid Block (who hasn’t, right?!) 

Come game day, will I know what is going? Hopefully. Will I fall over? Possibly. Will I make a mistake? Probably. Will it be incredible? Definitely! If I get knocked over, I’ll get back up. If I take a hit, I’ll hit back (legally, of course!). If I miss a block, I’ll learn from the mistake. I will not be discouraged. I am proud of what I have accomplished, to get to where I am, to be part of this adrenalin pumping, addictive sport with the strongest, kindest people I have ever met. So if I stand there looking lost while the jammer gets past and my pack are already half way round the track without me before I even realise what is happening, I’ll shake it off and move on (probably to the penalty box, but I’ll take it!) 

Game day is coming, I can and will do this. Don’t look at the crowd. Stay in the pack. Know where the jammers are. Listen to the team. Be respectful. Move on quickly from mistakes. Relax and enjoy the moment. Anything else? Oh yeah, *clears throat*… OOHARRREWEEE?!?!