Archive for February, 2010


So I survived.

My first bout, the moment I’d been super psyched for/dreading for months and months. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be out there … skating … in front of tons of people and trying to prove I had any right to be there. Luckily this time there were some good omens (unlike the bout in January that was supposed to be my first bout). There was no sudden snow storm, and I didn’t wrench my thumb. No stomachache. No threatening words of warning about other teams. . . . But a sense of impending doom? Check.

“Don’t vomit on the track,” my teammate recommended.

I did feel at any moment that I was about to hurl. Every time they told us to get out and skate warm-up laps in between periods, my first response was always, “Wait … now? In front of people?” My mouth dried up the second I put a toe stop on the track. My teammate gave me gum to keep my mouth properly moistened, and it instantly became wedged to my mouthguard. I skated laps gingerly and couldn’t believe how many flashing objects attracted my attention. Rollergirls whizzed by and yelled encouragement at me. I remained deer-in-the-headlights face.

According to sources, it wasn’t that bad from the outside. I only looked like I would die from shock when I lined up for the first jam. It was reminiscent of the Senior Presentation Speech I gave in college – 15 minutes where my voice shook so badly that I actually saw a classmate lurch toward me – worried I was going to burst into tears at any moment.

I spotted my parents in the obnoxious pink t-shirts I made them wear. They were holding their coats and smiling, awkwardly framed by people who were big derby fans. They didn’t know what they were doing there, or what the hell was going on — but they were proud. My boyfriend bought team shirts for himself and his friends and made them put them on before the game started.

Most of the time, I was concerned with not making a complete ass out of myself.

Am I recovering quickly? Am I at least looking like I know what I’m doing? Am I impressing people with my skillz?

It was amazing how much I obsessed over myself and not enough over what my team was doing. I mean – they were doing amazing. I could tell that when I was sitting in the line-up. When I was out there, I was too preoccupied with my own ego. I can criticize myself as much as I want, since it will make me get better.

But next bout — seriously. I will be a better teammate.

Read Full Post »

I’m Gonna Get to This

… as in, my first bout recap. A little awkward, a little awesome, y’know. For the moment, I want to say it’s a pleasure and a privelege to serve on a derby committee.

However: it takes a shit-ton of work to make derby and derby bouts happen. The ladies who thought this was even possible in the first place? … Wow. Kudos.

Read Full Post »

This is it – today is my first bout. My stomach’s all a-jumble and I’m trying to avoid thinking about it. I didn’t even want to write a post about it. Can’t I just be casual, and pretend that it’s not really happening?

I think I’m going to approach it the same way I do flying. After one bad experience, I dreaded and avoided flying. I got my doctor to prescribe me Xanax in the hopes that it would just knock me out for the entire flight. Sadly, that never happened, and then I worried about when to take the Xanax, when it would wear off, etc. etc. Eventually I just ran out of it and didn’t bother refilling it. They say the two trickiest parts of a flight are the take-off and the landing, right? Well my bad experience happened during the long middle part — when all we could see outside the window was a thick white fog and all we could feel was our drinks spilling on us. (Never mind, it’s still considered the “safe” part of the flight.) So now, whenever I fly, I focus all my anxiety on the take-off. I remember the last scene of Say Anything, when Lloyd Dobler tells Diane that as soon as she sees the seatbelt sign click off, they’re home free. I lean back, close my eyes, and wait until we’ve reached the height where we’re allowed to turn on our electronic devices again. It’s, like, 20 minutes, right? I can have 20 minutes of fear if the rest of the flight is safe.

The landing – the landing I’ll never fear, since each minute we’re closer to the ground and I can see that we’re going to make it. Nope, the take-off will remain the scariest part to me.

So tonight I think I’ll do that with derby – I’ll focus all of my anxiety on the first jam. The one where my legs are wobbly and people just look at me and I fall over. The crowd is introduced to me as the person to fear falling into their laps. I’ll get that all out of the way, so the next time I’m put in, there’s nothing left to fear. And then, like my teammate says, we’ll go win the after party.

Read Full Post »

Naw . . . it’s Cool

I actually don’t have a problem separating the derby on-the-track with the derby off-the-track. Well … at least not yet. I’ve been smacked down by some bitches who seemed relentless for me, until I finally got annoyed enough to strike back and try to at least hold my position. Sure, sometimes I use that as motivation when I’m jamming and hovering … looking at the pack and wondering why the hell I’m doing any of this … oh yeah, there’s someone in there I can hit without regret, because that chick laid me out last time. Okay, that makes it a little easier. And … go!

It’s weird that the only times I’ve felt successful in hitting people are when they hit me first. I feel like I no longer have to worry about anything or hold back – because they made the initial strike. That doesn’t make too much sense in derby, because it’s all about aggression and surgical strikes. But I have trouble with aggression until it’s up in my face and pissing me off. Then … I’m fine. That frees me up to do the things I’m supposed to be doing.

And then, when it’s all over? I’m cool. (Again … so far) I can talk to them, we can plan events and I can hand them postcards and organize schedules, even though I remember the last 20 minutes them pounding me into oblivion. And I can size them up for being a normal person again, not just a stubborn obstacle. It may not last, but for the time being … I’m glad it’s cool.

Read Full Post »

The Weirdest Injuries

Yesterday, everything was going wrong and I was feeling all sorts of discombobulated and sore from inactivity. So naturally, after going in to work on a holiday and getting a big headache, I was faced with the prospect of a 3-hour derby practice. Three straight hours of ass-melting squats after a week and a half of being sans skates. I entertained the possibility that maybe – just maybe – the coaches would take it easy on us, realize it’d been a while since we’d last been skating, and try to ease us back into this whole “derby” thing.

Aw hell no!

I knew things were going to be rough when they repeatedly reminded us what time the practice started. The countdown became more and more threatening – “Ten minutes until 7:00 ladies, get out on the track!” … “Five minutes until practice starts, where the hell is everyone?” … “Two minutes until we start, y’all better get your asses on the track or we’ll do more push-ups!!” And then it was time for 50 laps. Hands behind back, quick pace. Sigh.

Since I was already being spazzy, I decided to forget my mouthguard, to boot. I briefly considered using that as my excuse to duck out and go home – “Sorry ladies, real afraid of germs and breaking all my teeth, gotta go, catch ya next practice!” – but unfortunately my well-prepared, sports medicine-trained teammate had spare, brand new mouthguards in her bag. So instead of the lovely, white mouthguard that I can normally talk in, born in the dentist’s office especially for my pearly whites, I had to deal with a hard, sharp, blue plastic tray that I wrapped my lips around and hoped would prevent me from injury. Every time I tried to speak I just drooled out the corner of my mouth. The next morning I woke up with cuts all along the inside of my lips, which nicely balanced out the huge calluses on my feet.

Welcome back, derby!

Read Full Post »

Snow Shovels and Butt Cracks

I’ve been buried under snow for most of the week and it’s been wonderful. I always love a good excuse to cancel out of the normal, day-to-day schedule and detour off into freedom. Hell, even if it’s raining, I’ll accept cancellations from friends. It’s not just that snow blankets everything and forces it to calm down and shut up for a minute, but it also forces people to pause and reset. It forces you to be local, get out and walk, and laugh at everyone teetering about on the ice.

The other morning, I trekked off to Dunkin Donuts, where on my return trip I immediately slipped and planted myself into a snow bank, coffee and bagels and everything in tow. Luckily our snow banks are so massive right now, I was at more of a lean than an actual horizontal position. I still yelped, though, so I couldn’t play it off as intentional.

Then, while navigating neighborhood backroads, I noticed all the people digging out their cars who’ve clearly never before had to do anything of the sort. I saw shovelers in hip-huggers, their butt cracks exposed for all the world to see, impractical high-heeled boots, and overly large sunglasses that wouldn’t stay in place. Random garden tools being used in place of anything actually useful on snow. Trendy haircuts destroyed by awkward knit caps and sweaty brows. Obscene statues serving as placeholders for parking spots. It was like a yard sale that people were forced against their will to participate in. The snow exposed everyone — along with their habits, their athletic prowess, their questionable snow outfits, and what furniture they were willing to put on public display.

Read Full Post »

All we seem to have in the house is bread, pasta, cheese, and butter. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and thank god – alcohol. So even though practice has been cancelled for the week, I’m getting progressively more slovenly and worried about the Return To Derby next week. Today I finally mustered up the energy to get on the treadmill and do some squats and was instantly discouraged. All this work we do in practices and all the staying power it takes to keep up in scrimmages and all the insane adrenaline it’s going to take (I assume) to bout — why does it have to vanish so quickly? After only a couple days I can feel my legs turning to mush. Does the strength and endurance last longer when you’ve been doing it longer? God I hope so. It’s pretty pathetic how quickly my body craves doing nothing. I always assume that when I’m stuck at home I’ll work my ass off on all the exercises I’m not keeping up with in practice (I’m looking at you, alternating lunges on skates!) so that I can improve when no one can see me. Alas, it’s so much easier for me to get frustrated and quit when I’m trying to hold a core pose when I’m all alone. My unwillingness to attract attention in practice by being unable to do things is my only motivator, apparently. Shame is my co-pilot!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »