So I spoke a bit over on the AT Prep blog about how one of my unexpected expenses that has arisen was me need for better derby skates. I am coming around to almost a year of skating, and then a month after that it will be one month in Derby...and I've been on the same skates since. I decided it was high time to get some good skates, as my old ones are on their way out.
My journey of getting new skates was an interesting one, I had decided that I was interested in the Antik AR1's since buying my starter skates, so I knew that those would be the boots I wanted. The reason for this is that they are both aesthetically awesome was well as seem to be a bit wider than every other skate I looked at.
From all the time I have spent in hiking and combat boots I know a thing or two about the way I like footwear to fit. Though I will submit I've never had to worry about hitting people while on 8 wheels. Either way I figured I would stick with what I know works.
The next thing that's important for skates...happens to be the part that makes them more than over glorified tap shoes. The plates, the plates are the metal bit on the bottom of the skate that hold the wheels on. On my old skates the plate was made out of nylon/plastic and people would often comment.
"You need new plates, I can see the plastic bow. You're wasting all that energy"
So after going all Rex Ryan on my fellow skaters feet for a couple weeks, carefully and lovingly analyzing their feet that is, and I saw a pretty consistent trend. The Powerdyne Arius plate. The Arius is pretty neat, it breaks from the tradition of O-Ring based bushings and instead uses a butterfly style, which is basically the manufacturer acknowledging the fact 'Skaters shift their weight left or right...why have bushing in the front and back of the truck.'
They are pretty neat and I hear they are very different to skate on, but in the end will result in less wasted energy and more accurate skating moves.
I briefly skated (by this I mean one practice) in a Riedell 595 boot and it destroyed my feet worse than the Pemi Loop did...which is impressive. While I know with new skates comes a break in period, I'm not sure if time could have stretched the toebox to the point I needed them to skate comfortably. The Antik's I am 100% sure that's a possibility if they are not already there.
So you might be considering the anatomy of a rollerskate and wondering if the next thing I'm going to talk about will be the wheels. Now if you are reading this and play Derby (unlikely) you know skaters generally select their wheels based on the skating surface they are playing on, versus some predefined set of criteria. Though skater weight, skater skill, and skating surface are the biggest factor in this choice.
Also I'll briefly touch on the color choices on the skates, these were a custom build ordered directly from Antik. I selected the colors based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as I was a huge fan of the cartoon when I was younger (none of that new live action garbage). Originally I had been considering an Assassins Creed themed set because the Antik 'A' looks like the Assassin logo from the game series. Unfortunately the white/red color scheme this would have required didn't translate well to the skates.
I'm looking forward to getting out and practicing and playing on these skates and I'll probally write a follow up with my findings and thoughts about the Antik AR1 (2015).
This game marks my first bout against another men's team, and my return to playing sports at Fitchburg State University, my alma mater. This has been a long time coming and I still have a long way to go, but before I get into the break down of the game I'd like to talk a bit about some of the factors at work leading up to it.
I'm going to start from 2 weeks back on June 30th, we had a practice and it was the worst practice I have had in a long time. The two contributing factors to this were that I had not skated in a long time (okay so like 2 weeks) and I ended up having an asthma attack mid practice. I was feeling pretty down and defeated having such a bad practice so close to a game.
Fast forward through the long holiday weekend, where many of my teammates attended Northeast Derby Con, and land us solidly on practice day Thursday 7/7. We were practicing at the Wallace Civic Center, which is the floor we'd be playing on come Saturday. Still a bit salty from my bad practice a week earlier I am happy to report that I had one of the best practice performances in my time playing Derby and I really love the polished concrete play surface at the arena.
So I feel the game went very well, I ended the game with 4 penalties and some pretty good blocks, we also won so that was a plus. It was really nice of my folks to show up and try to understand the rules. During half time I was frozen in the penalty box and my father had some excellent words for me. "I don't really understand what you did, but I know you're a fucking cheater." Well that just about sums that up.
I found myself playing the 'butt' position on the wall more than I had in the past and I feel like it's a real indication that my skating is improving. I have another scrimmage this Thursday, in lieu of practice which is always fun so it should be interesting to see if I can step my game up another notch at that event.
If it's almost a sport - We've got it. ESPN 8 - The Ocho.
Welcome to the new part of Going Big where I talk about my hobbies other than hiking which are, as the name suggests, a strange array of nonsense that almost qualifies as a sport, just as it almost qualifies as prep for an AT Thru attempt. I'll give a brief run down of all of it here as well as make this post apply to all the categories I'm going to establish so they will appear in the right hand bar. Without further delay lets run this collection of short shorts and action sports down.
You'll note this section is called MilSim, not airsoft. While some people lump these two under one over arching umbrella I see a difference. You see I have a dream, that one day people will understand the difference between playing with toy guns in sweatpants, Air Jordan's, and a paintball mask in a massive warehouse versus humping 40 pounds of equipment for 48 hours in a replicated military operation environment...but today is not that day.
This part of the Ocho will focus around my involvement with the milsim community and being one of the senior-most member of the Rushing Russians Nor'East Chapter Vega. Recently the team has seen a lot of activity and growth, lead to me generating content for the newcomers. I'd rather post it here than on Facebook since forums are long dead...so that's what I'll do. Expect After Action Reports, as well as Gear reviews and breakdowns.
Many who followed my hiking blog to this point know that I got involved with Roller Derby as I was wrapping up my final semester of college. I am still in it and I officially made the B-Team of the Mass Maelstrom Men's Roller Derby Team a.k.a The B'Zerkers. I attend practices at least weekly and have some upcoming games. I am still improving and I really enjoy the atmosphere.
Expect game breakdowns and equipment reviews from this part of the blog, as I get better at the game and more in tune with the rules I may also post some opinion pieces about gameplay/officiating issues for the sake of mixing things up...because I have a tendency to have strong opinions on matters like that when I am versed in them (See above with milsim)
This is another thing thing I have written about in my hiking blog that I feel belongs over here. I engage in the activity of running through the woods while dressed like and elf beating up other nerds with foam swords. I am not really active in the LARP community to be totally honest, I play just one game, Arcane, out of Madison, CT due to it's simple rules, high costuming quality, and high production value, it's extremely immersive. I always feel as though I am getting more than my money's worth every time I go there.
This will probably pop up a few times, but less regularly than other things. I will likely aim to talk about costume/equipment changes as well as my experiences at the events themselves.
Alright...this one is a bit tongue in cheek, I'm not really a hardcore gamer, it's certainly not even close to my main form of amusement, I do play a lot of major releases as well as play a few games online. I am a huge fan of the Assassin's Creed game series and the Elder Scrolls/Fallout Series as they have rich single player experiences. Generally I don't like playing online because...well...people are fucking assholes.
However I have recently found that the freemium online game MechWarrior Online is actually a really great multiplayer experience where teamwork is encouraged (if not required) and is relatively forgiving to new players that grasp this concept. I am still a Tier 5 (aka Rookie) Pilot, but I have really been enjoying the game and will probably write some content about it, maybe post some video highlight reels. I'll probably write about this a lot...I play basically every night I'm not doing something else.
Honestly, I do a lot of stuff. Some of it can be pretty cool, I also like writing about the stuff I do...comes with the territory of starting a blog about you doing things I suppose. So I'll likely inject things of that nature into The Ocho, even if it's not necessarily obscure sports or something I participate in on the regular.
Some examples I can think of off the top of my head are brewing beer and wine, craft beer reviews, movie or show reviews, and Muggle Quidittch. Yes...you read that right, there is a game that is in the vain of the broom-bourne game Harry Potter plays in the books. Having watched a few videos about it I'm pretty interested because it seems like a mix between ruby (it's full tackle), lacrosse, and dodgeball, seems like the kind of thing I would be interested in.