Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Little Voice & The Unknown Process

This transition from a more admin-focused derby role to a more player-focused derby role has me thrown for a bit of a loop. Admin procedure comes easy for me. I’m a Project Manager by day, so I’m used to envisioning and mapping out new procedures and plans to get and keep things moving. But that’s when it comes to business. When it comes to training my body, I feel like I should be somewhere wearing a helmet (oh, wait…).

I’ve always tended to do what I have been naturally good at, and so most of those things have become the things I like to do. When I was in the 6th grade I decided I wanted to play an instrument. Not having played one before, I chose the trumpet. “How hard could it be” I asked myself. It only had 3 buttons, much unlike the multi-buttoned saxophone, clarinet, or flute. Blindly picking the trumpet was pure luck for me, because it turned out that I was a natural and could replay anything on it. I rocked some “Teen Spirit” on that trumpet like you wouldn’t believe (so embarrassing!).

Years later I decided I wanted to take piano lessons because I had heard they would help me get to the next level playing guitar. After several months of lessons I still couldn’t play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star smoothly, so I stopped going. I wound up hocking the trumpet that had been sitting in my closet for the last 15 years and taking that money to buy a used bass, and off I went.

If I’m not naturally good at something, I replace it with something I am good at doing. Does that make me lazy? Perhaps, but this is certainly far from the case when it comes to playing derby. I’ve somehow managed to keep going in derby even though there were several times I wanted to up and quit. I’m reluctant to admit it, but it was the admin that may have kept me involved and skating. I was so passionate about the business that I continued skating even though I was not naturally good at it.

It’s odd to think about how everything in your life is linked. I used to not believe that things happened for any other reason than choice, but now I’m not so sure. Surely, in some convoluted way, my love for business has made me a better derby player. The one constant? I kept skating. Maybe that should inform my process as an All Star – go to every practice there is and attempt to execute each move and drill and role in a jam to my best ability and just keep doing that. Oh, life is funny. I learned that same thing long ago in business – in each thing you do, do your best at it. Don’t ever slack.

I’ve never really been a slacker, although I know at times I would slack during practice. If I got the “I don’t think I can push any harder” little voice talking to me, I’d stop. More recently, I’ve been telling that little voice to shut the fuck up, and I keep pushing anyhow. Those moments are difficult, because it’s very tempting to listen to the little voice. So aside from having immaculate attendance and giving it my all, all I can figure out to do to prepare is to do the opposite of what the little voice tells me. Last night it told me it was probably too late to take the dog running at the lake after work, and if it wasn’t too late than it was too cold, so I put on layers as soon as I got home and raced over to the lake with dog in tow to defy the little voice. When I got a quarter of the way around the lake and my hands were frozen the little voice told me to turn back, so I started sprinting forward. By the time I was half way around the lake the little voice had left. She usually does. Luckily I’ve found out that my little voice is a slacker and will eventually go away.

This process I’ve outlined for myself seems more like a grocery list than an athletic plan: have great attendance, do my best, and ignore my evil little voice. The only other thing I can think about doing is incorporating a good attitude.

I’ll continue to run, and I’m hoping once the days get even longer that I can get up to run at the lake with the dog in the morning before work. Maybe I’ll incorporate some pushups and crunches and stuff. For the love of Buddha, if anyone out there has a real athletic plan or idea for components I can incorporate, please pass them on!!! If you share your thoughts with me, I’ll teach you how to play Smells Like Teen Spirit on the trumpet, and really, who can pass up that offer?!


k said...

Just so you know, you're an inspiration to a derby girl here in the tiny town of La Crosse Wi to keep going, keep working, keep pushing through injury (non-derby related which is frustrating as hell), lack of confidence and skill to where we are today (which is still a baby league, but getting there, growing and forming nicely).

So, Thanks

Da Barge
Mississippi Valley Mayhem Roller Derby

Tara Armov said...

Plyometrics...or as my league calls 'em: Tarametrics. Because every time I lead practice I insist on doing them before we skate.

They're torture, but DANG! they're great for working the core and leg muscles. Do a routine of that twice a week coupled with your usual running, and your endurance and strength will be insane. And your knees will thank you.

Unfortunately because of your shoulder injuries, I wouldn't recommend my latest funfest: burpees. I do them instead of my usual crunch/situp routine and get the same workout. I do about 4-5 sets of 10 throughout the day. They also help with the legs/knees. Derby girls neeeed to love the knees!

Tara Armov
LA Derby Dolls

ennie s. said...

It's funny, I was just thinking to myself the other day that my voice was a slacker too...

You and your awesome blog have been a gigantic inspiration to me to work harder and stick with my league even when I feel like my weight makes me a horrible skater. Since I've started following, I've become more serious about being an athlete and losing weight (17 lbs to date!).

Thank you so much.

Ennie S.
Central Mass Roller Derby

Anonymous said...

I need to give my little voice a beat-down because she is SUCH a downer!

Stupid little voices - good for you for being able to ignore it.