Monday, March 9, 2009

Searching for Myself

It’s funny – I’ve definitely been on a sort of personal realization journey these past few months, and now the same is true for who I am as a derby player and an All Star.

The more I do, the more I learn about myself, and the more I learn about myself, the more I know about who I want to be and how to become that person.

In my first week or so as an All Star, I’ve kept my commitment of making all practices and giving it my all each time I do a drill or play in a scrimmage. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you push your limits and try new things. For instance, we do a lot of blocker and jammer drills, and since I’m forced to be a jammer during several rotations (and because I don’t want to look like a slacker), I’ve actually been attempting fake-outs and different moves to actually try and get through. It’s become a personal challenge for me to find new ways of busting through walls (legally), and yesterday I was surprised to find myself excited when it was my turn to be the jammer in a drill. My mindset with regards to jamming has changed 180-degrees and it somehow happened organically, without me saying to myself that I was going to “give it a try”. The real bonus here is that in the course of a week I’ve gotten pretty good at finding those holes that have eluded me for the past 4+ years. I feel like I’m a better player already, and it’s only been a week.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops though. I’ve also learned some things I definitely need to work on. For instance, we scrimmaged Philly’s Heavy Metal Hookers two Sundays ago, and from the few jams I was in that day I learned that I need to practice blocking from extreme close range and footwork. Yesterday I learned I suck at leading with my right foot, but I’m fine with the left – I need to practice leading the correct way with my right foot. I say “correct way,” because over time I’ve learned what I’ll call MacGyver-style skills; skills that got the job done but aren’t the best skills to build from. If I had the better foot-leading skill on my right side, I’d be able to add to it and do a more complex combination of moves. With my MacGyver skill, I’m using a gum wrapper and toothpick to make myself go right. What I can’t do is go right as quickly as I need to or as precisely as I need to, and I certainly can’t add much of anything onto that skill that is without a solid foundation.

Lately, on a personal level, I’ve been beating myself up over choices outside of derby that leave me in various positions where I’m not so sure if the results of the choices I’ve made are what I want. I wanted to stop paying rent and own my own home, so I bought a house 5+ years ago. The house needs work: electrical updating, a driveway, and an enlarged kitchen. I let my decision to buy a “fixer upper” piss me off each time a kid draws on my windshield with his finger or each time I make a big dinner and don’t have enough counter space for the chopped vegetables and the ones that still need to be chopped. But I also ignore the good when I look at the bad. I ignore the fact that I have equity.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend jumping into anything head-first without thinking it over, but at least I’ve been brave enough in life to make what I thought were the right decisions at the time. I guess it’s true that you learn from your mistakes and you learn by trying something new – just like you learn new moves or new skills in derby.

I’m still in a place where I’m looking to find out who I am, and come to think of it I’m not so sure I’ll ever not be in that position. Just like the game of roller derby’s constantly changing, life’s constantly changing, and you can’t expect what worked a year ago to still work now. I must be the one who is flexible – who recognizes where I need to be – and I must take the steps I feel I need to take to bridge the gap and make things happen. I guess you ultimately choose your direction based on what gaps you choose to fill. I might have previously chosen the path by the size of the gap (the smaller, the better), but I’m vowing to change that. I will choose my end result and then I will work as long and as hard as I need to in order to accomplish my goals – both on and off the track.


Anna said...

You are The Bone. CLEARLY.

Big In Day-town said...

Beyonslay makes leading with the right foot look so EASY ... then when I go to do it, it's the most awkward thing ever! Good luck, and keep practicing - I know I have to.