February was a huge month for Men’s Derby in Scotland and myself. GMRD hosted it’s first public bout against the formidable Barrow Infernos; this was followed by the announcement of the PoS Training Squad only a couple of days after– a very intense few days!
So, GMRD’s first public bout. What a rollercoaster! Not only was it our first time skating as a team publicly but it was also against a team who are the tier above us, Champs-wise, and ranked 23rd in the MRDA world rankings. This wasn’t to be a walk in the park by no stretch of the imagination, nor did we expect it to be. We trained hard in the weeks running up to the bout, ensuring our walls were air tight and our jammers were game ready. It’s safe to say tensions were high, especially for myself (I can’t speak for the others though I imagine they were feeling similar) I was so nervous, so very nervous. This was a huge game for me, the biggest I’d taken part in yet, and it was hitting me hard. No surprises then that during the game I managed to fall doing a derby stop as I came into the penalty box sending chairs and NSO’s scattering…safe to say I was expelled from the game for the first time in my short career. Even with this blunder on my behalf GMRD gave an outstanding performance, pulling out a win with a differential of over 60 points!
This performance was just what the team needed before our Champs season. It gives us confidence and inspiration that we are contenders, not just in our division but on a world level, and as long as we persevere and keep our focus for the coming season we can really show the derby world what we’re made of!
Though it may be the shortest month of the year, February felt like one of the longest month of my life. This was the month of waiting- the tryouts for Power of Scotland had happened over the course of last month with prospective candidates being told that the results would be revealed any day after the 11th of February. That day came and went along with many others. The nerves built and the paranoia set to work, plaguing my mind with positives and negatives and really rolling me on my head; until finally, on the 20th of February, the verdict was posted.
I’d made it. They rate me as a skater. I’m there. These thoughts rushed about my head fiercely battling it out but the one that stuck, the one that really stood out to me was, “I’m not there yet.”
As elated as I am to have been selected for the training squad I realise I’m still not finished and I haven’t achieved my goal just yet–I’m not actually on the Scotland squad. I still have to go out and prove to them that I’m a better candidate than the other prospective skaters in this training squad. Obviously this would be something I’d continue to do after getting a place (I’m not just going to initiate slob mode and rest on my laurels if I get in!) but now is the time where I have to excel and learn from my mistake and all of my other teammates to bring myself a cut above the rest and, as terrifying as that sounds to me, its also so exhilarating. I’m never going to learn more than I will now- with this squad- and regardless of whether I reach my goal or not I’ll be a better skater for it, and I can’t wait.