In square dancing, dancers have to listen to a caller in order to know what happens next. The dancers have to be prepared for anything. In roller derby, we listen to everyone: the coach, the pivot, the jammer, the other blockers. We also have to be prepared for anything. So in a game where you never know what will happen next, why would you only skate with one partner?
Violet Seizure is my favorite partner. We have this level of awareness together that is almost psychic. I don’t even have to look at her when we’re on the track to know where she is and what she is doing. Even though we work great together, we aren’t always partnered up. This is because in a real game, stuff happens. People get hurt. Positions get changed. In this instance, you need to be able to work with different people.
This starts at practice. Any chance you get, skate with someone new. It should be someone who is often rostered or likely to be rostered with you. You will be able to learn how she skates, how she communicates, and what her strengths and weakness are. When you are in a bout, and your partner gets changed, you will know exactly how to play and not be so preoccupied with the change that you lose sight of what you should be doing on the track.
So here’s your chance to brag. Who is your favorite skating partner?