Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"A Snake Deserves No Pity" - Yiddish Proverb

Last night I accomplish a long-time personal goal of mine – I finished a snake drill without having to stop to stretch my back. Actually, I finished not only one snake drill, but two back-to-back.

For those of you who know me, you know the snake drill has been my nemesis for the last 3 years. For those of you who don’t know me or don’t know roller derby that well, a snake drill is a drill we do at derby practice that requires a lot of stamina. You’re skating the perimeter of the track in a single-file line and you can be no more than one arms length away from the person ahead of you. The coach blows a whistle and the person at the end of the line sprints up and weaves in and out of the people in line ahead of her. Now, there’s many different types of snake drills you can do; you can just weave, weave and block others in line, weave by getting whips from others in line, or weave with a partner and offensively block others in line for your partner, who’s acting as the jammer. Last night we did the last two types of snakes I described.

I usually have to stop in the middle of a snake drill to stretch out my lower back. The repetition of skating in one direction, in one position, for such an extended period of time (20-30 minutes) causes even the most fit girls’ backs to cramp up. The key is managing the pain and working through it to finish the drill, something I’ve had little success with until now. In my early days of derby, I would get so cramped up that I would lose sensation and control of my legs. If I didn’t make it over to the sidelines to sit and stretch, my legs would literally give out and I would collapse right there – no matter how bad my brain wanted me to remain upright. In the past year, things slowly got better; I wouldn’t reach the point of collapsing, but I would reach an excruciatingly unbearable point where I would have to briefly stop and stretch once or twice during a snake drill.

I don’t know what to chalk my success up to. In all honestly, I was shocked that I was able to complete these two snake drills last night, of all nights, because I haven’t skated in nearly 3 weeks with the holiday time off and having been sick last week. I expected to suck air, but that wasn’t the case. Is it the extra exercise I’ve been doing outside of derby? The pain medication I took for my sciatic nerve earlier in the day? The soda I said no to all day yesterday? Sheer will? Something else?

Accomplishing things like this – physical things – is extremely hard for me. It’s much easier for me to problem-solve the abstract. I work better and connect more with ideas and business than I do with my own body. So, even though I’m elated to have completed the drills last night, I’m also extremely fearful that lightning won’t strike twice.

It’s weird, I’m kind of looking at the result, my finishing a snake drill, as something that isn’t up to me – something that’s out of my control. Part of me feels this way, since I can’t pinpoint why I could finally complete it. Part of me because I guess I still don’t believe in myself – in my own physical capacity. If this were something else, say a sponsorship deal I negotiated, I would have no problem celebrating that success and using it to launch other successful sponsorship deals. I would think “Ok, I’ve done it. I can do it now, so I can do it again,” which is contrary to how I feel about completing the snake drill.

I suppose I need to work on changing my mindset. It’s hard, but I know it will be worth it. Instead of looking at each practice as a chance to fail at a snake drill, I should look at it as a chance to succeed. Hopefully that change of perception will help me replicate my success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Yeah, I think you definitely have to look at it without thinking of it as something you struggle with. It is what it is...and you kicked it's ass and you will do it again and again!