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Published on July 15th, 2011 | by The Rev

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Top 10 Pre-Bout Rituals (Or how to get rid of the pre-bout jitters)

OK, let’s face it. We all get a little nervous performing in front of people from time to time. In derby a lot of us have overcome this because normally everyone around us is already 1/2 naked so you don’t have to worry about picturing anyone without clothes on. Now what do you do about the rest of the jitters? Here’s my top 10 list.

10. Our bench manager informs me that we do have Sour Apple Big League Chew in the bench bag. This bag also happens to include a wrench, skate tool, tape, bandaids, a bunch of sharpies, pens and last but not least, tampons and pads. Also well as extra laces, a sewing kit, wristbands for the refs and a few other items that I normally forget, but she brings.

9. We (The Skids) all sit in a big circle and stretch. We go around and talk about how our day was, how we are doing, how we feel and what our plans are for the bout. We normally have a few people leading the stretch. Basically everyone who feels like they need to stretch something in particular runs it, and it helps to get everyone relaxed.

8. I bring out the clipboard. If you have never seen the clipboard then ask and I will show it to you. Basically, after we win or lose we put a sticker on the clipboard to remind ourselves, “remember when we won against…” It’s a great way to motivate people and remind them that they are great and that their hard work pays off.

7. We do some off skates training before we play. We do things like leapfrog, move left and right in a big circle, sit criss-cross in a big circle and rub each others backs. Normally afterwards a lot of the players come to me and ask me to crack their backs. I am not a licensed chiropractor but I’m told that I have a pretty good technique.

6. Normally at this point I leave the locker room so they can get dressed without me being in there. This is when I go pee, fill up everyone’s water, make sure we have gum in the bench bag and then come back and double check that everyone has a number on their arm.

5. We “REV” the engines. We get into a circle and all make racecar noises like we are revving our engines. (I didn’t come up with it but it’s a lot of fun to be in a big sweaty circle of ladies making car engine noises.)

4. I should point out that at this point a lot of people are not talking about the game, but rather, they are just talking to themselves in the locker room about, well, whatever. There isn’t a strategy talk in the locker room until after we do our on-skates warm-up. When we do talk strategy, it’s an open forum and we talk by raising our hands if we have questions and talking to each other. There isn’t one leader who is in command because we are all equal.

3. We warm up on skates. The jammers get together and talk to each other and the blockers talk to each other in their pairs. We do our on-skates warm-up and by this time we have about 5 minutes before the game starts.

2. This is usually when I put my fancy pants on (literally) and have the “talk” with the team. We talk about individual players, strengths, weaknesses, who jams a lot, what corners they like to take, the inside or outside, how we can stop them and how we can play our game.

1. Last, but not least comes the rallying cry. Every game we finish we add one more word or phase on to the end of our cheer before we play. For example, Up until ECDX our chant was as follows, “ONE JAM AT A TIME STINKY POO LEECHES, DEUX MILLE ONZE, SKIDS! DOUBLE RAINBOW OH MY GAY, WHO YOU ARE, BAH BAH BAH (sung to the tune of ‘Sweet Caroline’) PROTECT YOUR NUGGETS!

By this time there are a bunch of guys and gals in black and white who want to look at the plastic stuff on your arms, legs and hands and, whoa! It’s game time.

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