Commencing Countdown, Engines On

At the end of the month, I’m moving to Texas. I’ve been preparing at work by organizing all the things my replacement will need, and at derby, by skating harder and improving my footwork for my last bout on the 18th. My team has been preparing by hitting me in the face… a lot.

So the face hits aren’t actually on purpose. That’s just the joke we’ve made because it keeps happening. First and second hits happened on the same night. I only remember one of them.

I was jamming during scrimmage night. Slowly coming up behind one of my teammates, my plan was to fake out the other team using her. Unfortunately, she didn’t see me there. Her elbow came back smacking me square in the nose. I heard something pop as I fell to the ground. Pain spread across my face, and I just knew I had broken my nose. Our medic says it was a straight-across break so there was nothing to set. One of my nurse friends thinks it was only cartilage. I never actually went to the doctor, so I’m not sure who was right, but it was bruised and sore for a while. I also took a hit to the jaw that night. This hit I don’t remember, but it also left a bruise.

I was out for a week to let things heal, and then threw myself back into practice. My first night back, I got hit in the jaw again. This time I remember it. One of my teammates was practicing backwards blocking. She tried to hit me, but missed my chest and caught my jaw with her shoulder…. hard. I stopped, shook my head, and then tried to get past her again. There was a lovely bruise the next day.

One of my friends had asked me to do some modeling for her new business. All these face hits had her worried, but I assured her that it really wasn’t that big of a deal because it wasn’t as if I had a black eye. The universe heard me and decided to teach me a lesson.

Meet David Bowie, the eye.

It was another scrimmage practice. Coach had us doing some drills to warm up before we split into teams. Not sure what the name of the drill is, but you do seven laps, get off the track, do seven push-ups, get back on the track, and skate seven laps in the opposite direction. You’re supposed to do seven sets laps and push-ups, which means, at some point, you’ll have girls skating in opposite directions on the same track.

I met one of my teammates in the  same lane going opposite directions. We saw each other and tried to dodge. Unfortunately, we tried to avoid each other the same way and collided. Her helmet pushed my helmet up a little and caught me forehead. We collapsed in a heap on the track.

When I didn’t move, she asked if I was okay. I tried to shake my head no, but it hurt. If I didn’t move my head, the left side of my face stayed numb, so I just sat there until the medic came over.

“Well, your face is still there,” he said. “In fact, there’s a bit more of it.” What?!? More of my face? I looked up to ask what he meant, but I could see what he meant. Looking straight forward, I could see the huge knot swelling on my forehead.  He got me off the track, while I yelled a few choice words. Normally, I keep my cool, but this was face hit number four, and I was over it.

After icing my face for about 20 minutes, the swelling had gone down enough for me to put my helmet back on. I skated back out to the jammer line. As all the blockers lined up, I told them, “The next person who hits me in the face, I will physically fight you.” This sounded less intimidating with my mouth guard in, but I think they got the point.

After practice was over, the girl who hit me apologized profusely. I told her I really wasn’t mad at it, I’m just angry that I keep getting hit in the face. That’s part of the reason I like playing derby: you aren’t supposed to get hit in the face. Oh, well. My derby wife says the team is trying to make me look more intimidating for tryouts with Houston next month.  I appreciate it, but I’d rather intimidate them with my mad derby skills.

My cell phone doesn’t quite capture the swelling, but I assure you, it was noticeable in person.

When I got home, I used a cold spoon to get the swelling in my forehead down a little more. It worked, but my eye has bruised. I’ve named it David Bowie because it looks glam and stardusty. I’m also using the black eye to help promote my last bout. “Want to see how I got this eye? Then come see us skate on the 18th.”

My eye channels Ziggy Stardust.

Have you used any of your derby injuries to promote your team? Don’t leave a girl hanging. Tell me how you did it.


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