Monday, January 6, 2014

Sometimes Derby Sucks


Sometimes I leave practice having mastered some new skill and I feel this primal roar of victory welling up inside me for the next few days. Sometimes I get to skate with my derby hero for a few hours at open session and she graciously takes the time to work with me on some small skill that I've been too scared to practice on my own.

I go home, I shower because I smell like feet and dingy gum-smeared carpet and sweat, I tweet about how great derby was that night (!!) and then I go to sleep with this cheesy grin on my face, and all is right with the world, because roller derby is awesome. It is.

But...

Sometimes derby sucks.

Sometimes I lace up my skates with good intentions of working on this footwork drill or that endurance drill, and my trainer has other goals for the night. We end up working on things that make me cringe, things that scare me, or things that I flat out don't understand. I stand there, wobbly and confused, in the middle of the track. Then we do three drills in a row at which I do not succeed, and I leave the track frustrated.

Last week after an exceptionally disappointing practice in the parking lot, I was talking to a teammate who could sense my frustration and spent the better part of ten minutes trying to remind me that when I started skating five months ago, I couldn't even stand on wheels....

"Hey Goldie," she yelled from across the parking lot as she was getting in her car. "Don't cry on the way home, okay?"

And I didn't. This time.
(It may or may not have happened before.)

Roller derby is hard work, and it takes guts to keep going back for more. It's tricky not to compare yourself to other skaters on the track. It can get frustrating to watch another skater master a skill that you've been working on for weeks. I have no pearls of wisdom to impart really, but I just thought I'd let you know that it's not just striped knee socks and derby names. It's hard work, sheer athleticism, strategy and glam all rolled into one.