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My journey to becoming a dame

By April 2, 2014April 28th, 2014General
Ivana FalkUup

Ivana FalkUup

My derby journey started in February 2013, I was invited to an open scrimmage and instantly became  “derby drunk.” I had to be a part of this right away, nothing was going to stop me! I was determined to be the fastest, hit the hardest, and live in derby history as one of the very best ever. Then I came to my first practice. While I had a pretty decent amount of skating skills under my belt from growing up at the skating rink, meaning I could stand upright, I was nothing compared to these girls. They were fast, steady, knew the rules, and they were a family. I was never going to be anywhere near these girls’ skill level and I let that attitude start to deflate my bubble.

By the end of March I was defeated, I couldn’t pass the skills, 25 in 5 minutes are you kidding me? There was no way, 22 laps was hard enough but 25, no way! Falling however, I had become a master at, well falling on my butt, and I am a mom of two they needed me at home right? So that was it, I took my skates off and was defeated. I stayed friends with most of the girls on the team through Facebook and they had a great season. While I was happy for them I was super jealous they were living and skating what I had wanted so badly. While I had given up my derby life I decided that I needed to get in shape so I started working out and getting healthier. I dropped 40 lbs and was feeling much better physically. Fast forward to the end of summer, CFDD was posting about their fresh meat clinic and I could feel that hunger come back. I needed to live my dream, but I had all the excuses. Kids, time, pain, you name it I had a excuse and the attitude to match. It only took one conversation with a dame and I knew it was my time. I was ready! I may not be the best but darnit was going to give it my best try.

My first practice back had to have been the most nervous I had ever been on skates, at the time, naturally the team welcomed me with open arms. Oh great, WFTDA changed the minimum skills to 27 laps in 5 minutes,

wonderful. 22 was my best last time, how on earth am I going to get 27? This was the beginning of the fresh meat class, building skills. I can do this. It didn’t happen overnight, it wasn’t easy, but I slowly started getting better. I was knocking skills out without injuries, first run with 27 in 5 I got 26 ¼! I had improved 4 ¼ laps. I was so close, I knew this was my time. I would become a dame, I knew it. After trying several times I finally passed my 27 in 5 . Two weeks later I graduated from fresh meat and officially was a dame.  I got to pick my name and a number, but more importantly I got a CFDD official jersey. I had wanted that for so long and finally it was reality. I had put myself in the mental state that I will never make it, to finally making it. Cloud 9? Just a little.

Shortly after I graduated from fresh meat I was able to play in my first scrimmage. Scared was not the right word to express how I was feeling. Nervous, nauseous, scared, but mostly excited this was going to be so much fun, as long as I didn’t get killed out there. It was a black and white scrimmage, our team split up with other people I had never met. I didn’t know a thing about those other girls but WOW I had so much fun! This was exactly what I had always wanted. Shortly after our scrimmage we had our first home bout, I initially was rostered as alternate. Which was so exciting for me, I did it. I had overcome my personal mental and physical roadblocks and made the alternate list. I wasn’t going to skate but I made the list. My name, Ivana FalkUup, was on the list. Then it happened, one of the rostered skaters went on the injured list. I was prepared for the bout, not skating was ok, I had made the list that was enough. Then Sonic told me, “Ivana, you have been bumped up to rostered skater.” I swear while she was telling me this my thoughts were, “don’t pass out, don’t pass out.” I kept repeating this over and over. I couldn’t believe it, I was going to skate, not in a scrimmage but in a real WFTDA bout. How did this happen?

The day of the bout was awesome. I had my brand new jersey on with the CFDD logo, my WFTDA patch was sewn on, and my name was on the back of my jersey. I was ready, nervous but ready. In such a short time I had passed my skills and made it to being an official dame. Now I was about to skate with my team and take the victory. My palms were a hot sweaty mess, my heart rate never went under 150, but this was it. I went out twice during the bout, first jam I hit the opposing jammer and got her good, I was really proud of myself and I didn’t fall. Second jam wasn’t as pretty, but I still didn’t die. Cornfed took the win! I may not have been out in a lot of jams but I made it to the bench and that was enough for me.

Every practice is a new opportunity for me to learn something new. Every practice is another chance to prove to myself how far I have come. Every practice is my time to shine. I may never be the fastest, or the hardest hitter but what I have become is a Dame and that is better than a quitter.

Ivana FalkUup

aka

Amanda Falkenstein

Ivana with Betty Fhite during her first bout with the Cornfed Derby Dames.

Ivana with Betty Fhite during her first bout with the Cornfed Derby Dames.

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