The final countdown

December 22, 2011

“Endurance is patience concentrated.” –Thomas Carlyle

Since Southern Delaware Roller Girls started practicing in April, we have had one ultimate goal in mind – to start bouting.

Also, since April, family members, friends, coworkers, casual acquaintances and Joe Schmoe sitting next to us at the bar after practice have asked, “When are you going to start competing?”

A bout is a match or competition between two teams.  If there are enough girls in a league (at least 20) the two teams can belong to the same league.  Some leagues have an A-Team, which consists of more experienced skaters, and a B-Team, which consists of newer skaters.

In our case, because our players are at varying skill levels, our first bouts will most likely be against B-Teams teams from neighboring leagues, or newer leagues which, like us, have only one team.

Our coach, GoreLee Girl, recently participated in an interleague bout for Three Rivers Roller Derby in Elkton, Md.  After the bout, she said she felt confident SDRG was nearly ready to scrimmage with other teams.

A scrimmage is an unofficial bout, like a dress rehearsal.  But scrimmages can be public, and the public doesn’t necessarily care what we call it as long as they can watch.  So I’m taking the opportunity to let everyone know our first scrimmages are scheduled to begin in April 2012 – exactly one year from when we began.

From what I gather from other local teams and the almighty internet, one year is a reasonable amount of time to establish a team and get its players to the appropriate skill level to bout.  But still, there are people who want to rush it.

Funny enough, the people who asked me why I would participate in such an unladylike endeavor when I began skating are the same people who, one month later, wanted to know why they couldn’t come to the rink and see me get my skates knocked out from under me.

There were also the players who got cocksure as soon as they could stand up on skates, and they instantly want to subject the entire team to the beating of a lifetime because of their “suck-it-up-and-just-play” mentality.

I too am guilty of occasionally wanting to rush things.  Lately, the thought of waiting four more months to face another team and test my skills makes me crazy with impatience.

Last April, our goal seemed daunting and distant, like standing on the beach in the middle of a snowstorm and trying to remember the smell of suntan lotion.  But now it seems close enough to touch.

Because the light at the end of the tunnel is growing, I am hoping SDRG will practice harder, faster and stronger than before.  Before a fight with Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson said, “I want to rip his heart out and feed it to him.”  Lewis later knocked him out.

It is distinctly possible SDRG will lose its first bout.  But the way I see it, as long we get in a few good hits before the final whistle blows, all the practice and patience will be worth it.