Saturday, October 1, 2011

In Which I Go To The Gym And Meet A Future Roller Girl

So I was at the gym today hip checking a punching bag, when I heard a sort of high pitched squealing.  I looked over and-- wait, maybe I should explain what the heck hip checking is for the non derby-initiated.

Basically, it's where one derby girl slams her hips into the mid-thigh area of another derby girl, putting her on the floor.  It's one of the more powerful legal blocking moves you can do in derby because you can put your whole weight and momentum behind the swing, and for taller, more, um, padded women like me who have a larger "battering ram" to use it can be really, really effective.  Here's a stellar example of this move:

Ouch.  So yeah, really effective.

Or at least, it can be really effective when it's done correctly, which is why when I'm at the gym doing my weight workout I often stop by the punching bags for a little off-skates practicing of my form.  I'm still in many ways a derby novice, but I've noticed a big improvement in the quality of my hip checks since I started practicing my timing against the bag.  Also it's yet another activity that keeps my ego from getting overinflated. 

The punching bags are located in a room with a full wall of glass windows that look out onto the main floor of the gym, and trust me when I say that I tend to attract a bit of attention.  I'm a red-faced, sweaty woman squatting in the middle of an otherwise empty room, slamming my rear into a punching bag over and over again.  Since I'm not dressed in anything roller derby related and hip checks aren't exactly a staple of most martial arts, basically I just look like I'm either practicing horribly bad dance moves or really, really don't understand the art of self-defense.  Let's just say that personal dignity is not one of the things I'm working on during my visits to the gym.

Anyway, so I was merrily hip checking away when I heard something I can only describe as what the Wicked Witch of The West would have sounded like on helium.  I glanced over and there was a little girl, young enough to still be a bit unsteady on her feet, with her entire face smashed up against the glass watching me.  Her mother smiled at me and gave me a little wave from her perch on a bench across the hall.  Every time I landed a particularly good hit and the bag swung out in an arc, the little girl would bounce up and down on her chubby legs and let loose with another enthusiastic shriek of glee. 

She was adorable.

So I may have a few bruises from my workout today, because I spent a good half an hour hitting that bag as hard as I possibly could to really make it fly.  There's nothing so inspiring as an adoring fan-- especially when that adoring fan is three feet tall, has blond ringlets and is still cutting teeth. 

Eventually she had to leave for her nap time, and I finished the rest of my workout upstairs on the track.  But I think I need to hire a small children cheering section for future bouts; they are really great motivators!


1 comment:

Emthe said...

That is really fabulous! Thanks. Your story made my day.

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