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.