Tuesday, November 6, 2007

If a Girl Makes a Play in the Pack and is Big, Does Anyone See Her?

Much like the annoying age-old question, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound," in this blog I have aimed to make readers think about the perception of big girls (with tree trunk legs - kidding) in derby; it's meant as a support to those of us who aren't naturally athletic or who are but don't look like it. So, I guess this can be considered my come-back post to a blog I kinda hoped wouldn't make a sound.

In all honesty, I hate typing the words "big girls" just as much as I hate considering myself one. I cringe on the inside. I guess that's why I stopped writing - this blog makes me somewhat uncomfortable... Ok, a LOT uncomfortable, but then again so do booty shorts and fishnets, but that doesn't stop me from wearing them, so I guess I better step up and keep this thing going regardless the anxiety I feel about revealing what it feels like to overcome the obstacles of my body to perform on both an athletic and intellectual level.

Truth is, (verbal diahrea coming) I get an anxiety attack almost every evening before practice. Why? I'm afraid I can't compete. I won't be able to finish a snake drill, I'll be last at whatever we're doing, etc. The only thing I can figure out that works is remembering every night I've come home from a practice feeling really great about something I rocked and asking myself to provide evidence where I've actually been overcome by the events of something negative that happened at practice. I never can. Practice never goes terrible, yet I still have to tell myself to suck it up twice a week.

I was beginning to think I didn't like skating anymore until the city of Baltimore repaved Lake Montebello, a 1.3 mile stretch surrounding a watershed. This summer, upon it's completion, I couldn't wait to get out of work and go skate at the lake. I was waking up each morning thinking about skating at the lake. I was (and still am to some extent) obsessed with the lake. This made me re-realize that I really love skating. So why the anxiety about practice at the rink? Competition. I can't believe I sacrificed my own beliefs that I contantly cram down everybody's throat that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT. I don't think I can compete because of my size.

Then, last week, I get an e-mail from a girl who stumbled across the blog I wanted to remain silent. In a nutshell, she was thanking me for writing it, as she was preparing to tryout for a league and had been battling her own self-doubt about whether or not she could do it. That's when I realized I needed to get myself in check and step it up on this thing.

So, if a girl makes a play in the pack and is big, does anyone see her? Yes. and they cheer her on harder than they would someone who's a natural (at least in my league they do). Derby's great for many reasons, but one of them is that everyone involved wants to see you succede - a tenant that's vastly different from how women treat each other outside the derby world.

This is the only way derby is going to make it this go around: we all must support each other in individual and group success. This is why I share sponsorship info with other leagues and advice regarding what's worked and what hasn't for us - there's no reason to make each league recreate the wheel. We have to help each other be our absolute best in athleticism and business. The business part comes easy to me, the athleticism? Not so much, but I'm working on it.

What about extending what we learn about how we support each other on the rink into real life? Now, I'm not going to go all Dr. Phil on your ass, but you get the point. With nearly/over 200 leagues all over the world, you think what we learn from this can't evoke change? It can.

We've just completed our second season, and we're now into two months of relaxed attendance requirements. I've made a promise to myself to still go to the gym, to still go to practice (ok, trying to get over the anxiety), and now, to still encourage those of you who are in the same boat as me (let's hope this fucker doesn't sink!). There you have it.


reet said...

dude, this is what makes me want to come back after maternity leave. thanks for always encouraging me.

Anonymous said...

It's great that you set up this blog. Larger women are a must for derby! I think you are awesome and a great player...I hope you can get over your anxiety and keep working on being the best that you can be! Love you!!!