My first bout, which was a “Fresh Meat” bout and also our Season Closer, was scheduled for May 19th, 2012. We had a few scrimmages leading up to the bout and aside from first time jitters, I think we were all ready for our debut. I was so excited! I hadn’t really figured out what I was going to wear, but that didn’t seem like it would be difficult. I have tons of derby boutfits, I just had to figure out which combination would go well with my jersey. I decided on a Hello Kitty theme.
I arrived at our skate facility at 6pm, which is an hour before doors open and a full two hours before the bout starts. I used the first hour to chat with my teammates, get geared up and find out which lines I’d be on and at what positions. I also did some stretching and warmed up out on the track.
The second hour was a lot of the same, by this time my family and friends had arrived, so I would skate over to them every so often to chat. After a few last minute adjustments here and there, we lined up for gear inspection. I was told my left toe stop was loose, so I had to go and adjust that and get back in line. And then there were the introductions. It was so awesome to hear “Wearing number 1972, it’s Sheba O’Baby” over the sound system and to hear my family and friends screaming “Go Baby!” or “Go Sheba!”
I was scheduled as an inside blocker on lines 1 and 4 and played that position for most of the bout. I had one minor penalty and one major penalty, for which I was sent to the box.
We had a couple of serious injuries during this bout. The first injury was to my teammate Penny Slane. She has already suffered two broken tailbones in the past and to see her laid out on the track really saddened me. Penny is a trooper and was able to walk back to the bench, albeit very slowly and with help. My thoughts and prayers are with Penny as she heals. She is an awesome teacher, of whom I have learned a lot. Derby ❤
Near the end, as the bout was very close, our coaches decided we would do “Hockey Lines”, which was explained to me as going out and playing whichever position your heart desires. I really wanted to be a jammer so I lined up to be a jammer for the next jam. Just so you know, I have jammed in scrimmages and jamming is very difficult, but I thought I would give it the old college try.
Everything was going well, I was so happy to be jamming! I really wanted to score some points for my team although I knew the opposing jammer was sooooo much better than me. Even as she passed me and got lead jammer status, I gave it my all! Coming around a corner, doing a crossover, I was hit by a member of the opposing team. It just so happened that I had one skate off the ground at the time, so I went down with little effort and rolled my ankle. I don’t want the girl that hit me to think I have any animosity towards her. It was a clean, legal hit, my husband has assured me of this. I tried to immediately get up and go after her, but my leg wouldn’t move. I looked down and my right foot was dangling from my leg. Wow! I didn’t feel any pain. I think I was just in a state of shock or something.
The amazing thing about roller derby is it’s a family. The girls rushed to my side to comfort me and try to distract me from my injury. It was all so surreal. I cracked jokes and tried to make them more comfortable. There were children in the audience, including my own, and I didn’t want them traumatized. I just wanted everyone to have a positive experience.
Before they wheeled me off the track, I made sure to shout out to some kids that wanted to take a pic with me after the bout. I said “if you still want a pic, you’ll have to come to the hospital!” Lol!
Before I bring this post to an end, I just wanted to say thank you to my family and friends that came to see my debut. I don’t really have any pics of them at the bout because I was planning on taking pics with all of them once it was over. Thank you to my husband Eric, daughter Loren, son Eric, son Elijah, Eric’s girlfriend Katelyn, Kim and her boyfriend, April and her boyfriend Jason, and last but not least Keith and his large family. I really appreciate all of you taking time out of your busy schedules to support me at my first bout!
I would also like to send a shout out to my teammate Rapwna Flowers. She has a blog called the Fresh Meat Files where you can read all about her becoming a Roller Derby Grrrl. It’s a good read, especially if you’re into Roller Derby.
I will write a separate post about my experience in the hospital. Stay tuned.
Lenette aka Sheba O’Baby 😉