Scared. Anxious. Excited. Hopeful. Confident. Resilient. And a little insecure, all at the same time.
I’ve been practicing with the league for about 4 weeks now, and it has been equal parts mentally and physically challenging. If there’s one overarching concept I’ve been getting used to, it’s that the training never stops. I have to constantly be on my skates to get comfortable on them, I have to always be working on my basics like plowing, static stepping and laterals, and I have to consistently cross-train. The skills and endurance need to come natural, because I’ve learned that roller derby practice time is advanced. We do a lot pack drills and pacelines that focus on strategy – which, for fresh meat like me who are still getting used to the concept of hitting or blocking on skates, can be incredibly overwhelming. I feel like I’m learning to skate all over again.
There are times that I’ve surprised myself with my own awesomeness. I *think* I have a natural knack for jamming. (Emphasis on think. Who knows how crazy I may look from a viewer’s perspective, lol?) Although it is extremely tiring and I get knocked around like a fucking rag-doll, I always feel good afterwards. I also think I’m good at finding the holes and using my teammates to push through betches.
There are also times when I’ve wanted to cry because I’ve felt like such a loser. Correction: there are times I have cried from feeling like a loser. I’ve also cried from the pain coming from my shins – I’m one of those unlucky people that gets really bad shin splints from overuse. I could barely stand up. The first time this happened, I kept pushing through, but I was super slow and kept falling on all the turns. I felt like shit. Cried three times that day, but I did it at the water fountain and in the bathroom so no one would see me. My water bottle also has a mister attached to it, so I just sprayed it all over my face – no one could really tell. The second time it happened was when we were practicing our plow as a blocking tool. Couldn’t feel anything below my knees, and it felt impossible to do my plow. The jammer just kept slamming into me from behind (get your mind out of the gutter) and I just kept falling, over and over and over. I didn’t cry, though – my eyes just watered. I consider this progress.
What I’ve learned is that shit happens, but the key is to get the fuck up and keep skating. I’ve only sat out once for about 5 minutes, and that’s when I knew the numbness I felt wasn’t normal. One of the rollergirls vigorously rolled my skate over my shin until the knot was out, and then I hopped right back up and joined the next drill.
This whole process has been nuts, and now it may be over. Draft Day is in 2 days, and I honestly can’t even really put into words how I feel, or how I would feel if I get drafted or not. Six months ago, I would say I’d feel exhilaration at getting drafted. But to be honest… I’m scared as shit, lol. If I do get drafted, now I’m going in with eyes wide open. It’s a lot of work, and it will be even more work and more pressure if I’m on a team. With that being said, I’d feel like a punk if I don’t get drafted. Not because I’ll feel like a failure, but because I know there will be a part of me – the logical and practical lawyer side of me – that will breathe a sigh of relief, have a glass of wine or four, and look forward to a winter of lazy evenings decorating my apartment, and maybe the occasional trip to the open skate.
But I know who I am now, and I know what I’m made of, and it ain’t no punk. I’m ready to live up to my full potential, and that metamorphosis from raw meat to rollergirl is almost done. I want to get drafted because this – roller derby – has now become a huge part of who I am. Besides a select few other people, I’ve become my own hero. So, if I get drafted on Thursday, I welcome the hard work, the pain, the victories, the ups and downs, the good times and bad times that are sure to follow. If I don’t get drafted, I want to keep trying… but for now, I’m just gonna try to stay confident.
I’ll update on Thursday! Until next time…