I’m pretty sure my fellow freshies will understand when I say I identify a little too much with these toddlers.
Roller derby is not easy. As I was reminded at practice this week, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” In fact, if it were easy, I would have done it ages ago, gotten bored with it and quit by now. In the past week or two, I’ve had moments of wondering whether derby is for me or if I’ll ever get good at it. A pulled muscle in my hip and one very discouraging practice had me thinking I’d never be good enough to scrimmage, let alone get on a team. But a couple days later I had a good practice, learned some things, felt a little stronger, and connected with league mates I hadn’t talked with before.
I love the way our practices are set up so the new girls get to drill with the vets and learn skills from them. Skaters at every level are eager to share what they know and to give a word of encouragement whenever it’s needed. Still, there are days when you come home and just want to cry because (a) something hurts, and/or (b) you just don’t think you’ll ever get there.
Especially when you’re in pain, it’s easy to forget all the good stuff, so I’ve started a running file on my phone called “Why Do Derby Today.” This is where I keep track of the reasons I love derby so I won’t forget them when I have a hard day. Here’s the list so far:
- Derby makes me feel really strong.
- Facing challenges helps me get braver.
- All the awesome friends.
- Be an example of what’s possible for other women.
- Do it for the sense of accomplishment.
- Eat what you want, and never feel bad about it.
- Seeing how far I’ve come already, I wonder how much further I could go.
- My league mates are awesome and always willing to help me learn and improve.
- Hitting drills are fun and not as scary as I thought.
So, next time I’m afraid I totally suck and will never get it right, hopefully this little list will remind me why it’s worthwhile to keep trying. With a little encouragement from my friends I’ll keep showing up, doing what I can, and hopefully growing a little bit at a time. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll even get to skate in a bout.