Thursday, January 31, 2008


This is a topic that comes up time and again – rollergirls at one time or another resenting roller derby. Now, for those of you out there who aren’t in derby, I think you can pretty much read this blog and substitute “roller derby” with whatever your hobby is. We all do it.

Last night I was talking with some ladies, some very new and some semi-new to our league, who each expressed a loss of momentum. Some sort of setback that made derby “no longer fun.” In our league, you have a training program that advances you into being able to participate more fully in practices, scrimmaging, and eventually bouting.

One league mate expressed her concern over the fact that she didn’t “pass” on to the next level when she was assessed. She stopped skating 4-6 times a week, the momentum slowed to a halt, and she now somewhat resents derby because of this “little failure.” I’m calling it a failure, but it really isn’t.

Another league mate who is still on the long road to total recovery after a bad break expressed her frustration at it taking her so long to get back to the level she was at before the injury. Her endurance is down, and she is impatient to get to a place where she could be ready to scrimmage or bout. She, too, is somewhat resentful.

As I was talking to each of these ladies, I wanted so badly to be able to say that things would get better and once they overcame this current problem they were having it would be smooth sailing, but that’s simply not true. There’s always something that’s going to make you feel like shit – a new drill you just can’t complete, a move you can’t master, or a position you want to play that you just aren’t good at. Roller derby is a constant mental and physical struggle, just as is the rest of life – and anything worth it.

You look up to people in your league who are better than you – people who you assume find derby “easy.” Yet, a new girl who is just starting may look up to you and think the same about you, and the people you look up to are surely feeling the same way about people they look up to who are on other leagues. The bottom line is that someone will always be better than you at pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean that you should sabotage your fun because you can’t be #1 (out of thousands of women, no less).

The opportunities to resent your hobby, in my case derby, won’t pass you by. But, as anything else, you have to find a balance in your life.

The person who only felt “on top” of her game by skating 4-6 days a week was, in my opinion, being somewhat unrealistic with the amount of time she dedicated to skating. It’s great if you can and want to keep up that intense schedule, but you have to live too – work, grocery shop, hang out with friends and significant others, and just chill.

I was asked on Monday by a television reporter why I decided to do derby. I answered that the “why” had changed from when I was first introduced to it until now. I started doing it because it sounded cool and new and fun – like a great way to exercise. Now I do it for a totally different reason: because I’m not naturally good at it.

I think people unconsciously pick the things they do because they are good at them (at least on some level), so doing whatever that is is rewarding to them – and easily rewarding at that. Roller derby is hard for me. I’m not naturally good at it. I’m big, I’m slow, and I’m not too agile, but it’s fun for me to test myself – and extremely rewarding when I do something well.

Roller derby is my “fun thing” – it’s my hobby, my outlet, whatever you want to call it, and I don’t want to set myself up to resent something I love. Not doing that takes a conscious, active decision not to, but I really think it’s worth it.

When you find what it is that you love to do, don’t sabotage yourself. Think through the issue and know that it too will pass (even if more are to come). It will make you a better person.

Postscript: The CCRG television interview/segment will air on WBAL at 5:00pm, EST, on Friday, February 8, 2008.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I should have read it days ago. Didn't even know you had this blog!

I love you.

-some creepy internet person.

ok, it's me, LQ