Finally, the minimum skills test had arrived! In the shape of a boot camp, too: a whole day full of skating, meeting new people, testing our abilities and even our first scrimmage at the end! What could be better than that? But then…. bam, a sprained ankle for me! Not the best thing to pass your skating test. Despite the odds, this day was still awesome, so I decided to write about it!
Note: I started writing this article 3 months ago, when it happened. After that, I had a lack of motivation and never finished it. A few days ago I finally passed my minimum skills, so I thought it was time to finish it!
Part 0: The Preparations
Of course, everybody had been waiting for this minimum skill test boot camp for ever. Once we pass this test, we are not Freshmeat anymore, and we can participate to scrimmages and even bouts!
The thing with the minimum skills is that passing them should not be seen as an end in itself, because it is just a new beginning. Once passed, we switch from having to work for ourselves, to having to work for our team, which is a whole different type of pressure.
And yet, we still get really excited because passing the test means, finally, being able to actually play roller derby after 3.5 months of training! So yeah, we were excited 😀
We had the possibility to buy our scrimmage shirts, but I chose to make them myself to save some money. It was a long and frustrating process but finally, on the day before the event, they were finished.
My official derby name is Salmi A. Kick, but a lot of skaters have different names on their scrimmage shirts – more like nicknames – and Salmi A. Kick was reaaaally long to write, so I chose to put Kolina. It’s a nickname that one of my favorite skaters gave me, and it’s a play on words with my first name (Coline), which means clatter in Finnish. In other words, it’s perfect 😀
Part 1: The Boot Camp
On Saturday morning, I put my black scrimmage shirt, I took my bike, and I sped up to arrive at the boot camp at 9am. There was a lot of people from all other Finland, it was awesome! Of course, I was the only one not speaking Finnish, so I got a personal translator 🙂
We were divided in teams and we started to do basic exercises. Crossovers, gliding on one foot, transitions, all the good stuff. At 11h15 I had to do the laps.
The hardest part of the minimum skills test are the laps. We have 5 minutes to do as much laps as possible. If we have 25, we can participate in scrimmages, if we have 27 or more, we can also participate in official games.
I got 27 laps before, but on a different floor, so I wasn’t sure about this one. But I got my 27 laps again, thanks to the encouragements of my trainers and teammates 😀
After that we went to eat (vegan buffet ftw!) and because we were so exhausted from the laps, me and a friend were late for the afternoon start of the boot camp.
Part 2: Ouch!
Because I was late, I just put my gear as quickly as possible and reported to my group immediately. Without warming up. And the first thing I was asked to do was to jump over a box – at least 20cm high.
The first time, I landed on the box and smashed it. Literally, there were shards of plastic everywhere. The second time I jumped successfully but landed on my ankle and smashed it. Woops!
Some people say that when they sprain their ankle, at first they think it’s just a tiny thing and they continue skating/running right away. That’s not how this felt.
I already had tears streaming down my cheeks in shock, and putting my knee on the ground to straighten my leg felt almost impossible…
Thankfully, we had several first aid people in the room, so my ankle was immediately bandaged and covered in ice. My team mates came to cheer me up, the experienced skaters came to tell me their own injury stories, and my girlfriend arrived very quickly.
I was taken to the hospital, where I had fun in a wheelchair while I waited to take some x rays. The results came in, everything was good, and I was told it should only take a few weeks to heal. Hallelujah!
My only concern now was to get back to the boot camp to see my teammates play their first scrimmage!
Part 3: My teammates’ first scrimmage
When I arrived back at the scrimmage, my friends were in the middle of their first scrimmage, but everybody else came to hug me :3
I still couldn’t put my feet on the ground, so I was quickly given a chair to watch the game comfortably. And I was even able to NSO for the second period of the scrimmage! That’s how my injured NSO career started (isn’t that how it always starts?).
Unluckily, there was another injury during the scrimmage, this time a broken ankle… Apart from that all went well, and it was quite nice to see my team mates playing for the first time ❤
Of course there’s always this bittersweet feeling, because I wish I could have been on the track with them, but they still made me feel like a part of it so that’s was good 😀
Part 4: P-P-P-PARTY
The boot camp was on the 30th of April, which is the date of one of Finland’s biggest celebration of the year, Vappu! People put their student uniforms and caps on, and drink more than any other day.
For a moment, the sprained ankle made me doubt that I could go out, but I quickly decided to avoid painkillers and to sisu up! I had been waiting for this party forever, because it’s the only occasion to show off my student uniform 😀 And there was a boot camp after party, the perfect occasion to drink with friends!
So I put my uniform on, stole my girlfriend’s cap (I don’t have one as I didn’t attend high school in Finland), I got covered in ribbons and set out to party!
I went to a friend’s first, then to the boot camp after party. The walk from the bus stop to the bar was probably the hardest 200 meters I ever walked, but I was rewarded by a wave of applause from my team when I arrived. And some fresh drinks!
It was a great night despite the crutches 😀 I always had a seat in the busy bar, I was able to congratulate my friends on their successful minimum skills test, and my coach acted as my knight in shining armor by pushing people out of my way when I wanted to get some fresh air.
I also played the lazy card by taking a taxi for the 500m between the bar and my flat but who’s going to blame me for that? A nice ending to a great day ❤
– Cover picture, and last picture of me NSOing by Ville Päivätie / Star Pass Photos
– Other pictures by me & my girlfriend
– The bootcamp was organized by Kallio Rolling Rainbow ❤