Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mascots

As hard as I’ve tried to write up a recap of our wins in Boston and Maine this past weekend, my style of writing really doesn’t lend itself to sports writing. Each attempt of mine results in the equivalent of a boiled chicken dinner, when my usual writing looks more like a well-seasoned home-cooked meal. Can you tell it’s almost lunch time? So, I’ve decided not to write about our super-fantabulous, amazing win over Boston and our fun-filled win over Maine. Instead, I’m going to talk about mascots.

I’m going to reveal something about myself that not too many people know: when I was in high school I was our football team’s mascot for a season – a big blue owl with only 4-fingered wings, which was good because most of my time was spent jumping up and down in front of the preppiest rich kids in the school at those games, giving them the finger without them ever knowing.

I was asked to be the owl by the head cheerleader at the time. Why she picked me – I’ll never know. Was it my wit? My charm? The fact that I could fit into the owl suit? Regardless, just about the only shred of tradition in my school related to the mascot. No one was supposed to know who the owl actually was, so I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. Being the owl was the closest I ever got to school spirit. I really didn’t hang out with many kids from my school, and I never dated anyone from there either. I’m laughing as I write this, thinking about how little has changed. I liked my space then, just like I like it now. In any event being the mascot for that year was fun.

I can’t really remember the logistics, like how and where I changed into the costume, what I wore under it, or if anyone ever found out it was me. I do remember the inside of the costume was itchy, and even if it was below freezing outside, I would sweat like I pig in that thing (me sweating, yet another thing that hasn’t changed).

I briefly thought about the owl costume this weekend while in Boston, watching Pinchy McMasshole and the two Charm City Dirty Franks running up and down the sidelines. I couldn’t help but laugh at Pinchy’s pirate hat over and again, and those damn hot dogs (played by Cheeta Torpeda and Essie Ecks) made me giggle each time I saw them jumping up and down together. I guess that’s what mascots are suppose to do – command the audience’s attention and get them to rally for their team. When I was the owl, I certainly had a slightly different motivation… Yet, today, I feel like I’ve become the mascot for a lot of things without even realizing it.

In one aspect, I see myself running up and down the sidelines, trying to get people to cheer for “curves” over “lines”, which I certainly do on this blog. Hmmm, if I had a costume to wear for this one, I’d be a gigantic ass and I’d bounce around the sidelines and back it up to the crowd just to show them how fun big asses can be. They’d love it… Until a small child got stuck in the crack without me knowing, almost suffocating to death as the EMTs chased the ass around in circles. And really, folks, EMTs chasing ass? Not too far from the truth. Now, a child getting stuck in the ass? Well, that’s just an unfortunate and unforeseen circumstance of the costume I’ve created in my head. Thank you, stream of consciousness.

In another aspect, I see myself rallying to get people to do what makes them happy – to pursue happiness no matter what that may be. This costume is leaps and bounds harder to envision – perhaps a cross between Mr. Rogers and a prostitute (Did I just say that? Holy hell!). Oh, wait, what was that quote I heard this weekend? “If you give it away for free then you aren’t a prostitute.” Okay, maybe Mr. Rogers and Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls then.

This bus has veered off route. To get it back on track, my point was that I think we’re all mascots for something – what are you a mascot for? What do you want to be a mascot for? What’s stopping you from doing it?

I will leave you with this – the quintessential picture of last weekend. Shot just as the game finished, one sad lobster and two happy hot dogs:


I just can’t stop smiling!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Out of Derby Experience

Outside of derby I do have other things that I love to do, and some of those things are even things that I want to get better at doing, but after a hard day at the office or some upsetting news, or even just the overwhelming desire to stay in, sit on the couch, and eat chocolate, I can decide to not do those things and when I’m ready, I’ll just pick them back up wherever I left off. With derby, not so much.

Pottery classes or book clubs don’t have attendance requirements. You go when you want, and you don’t go when you don’t want. For this reason, never have I found such anxiety with a hobby than I do with derby, yet never have I found such reward either.

Last night was one of those nights where if I didn’t have attendance requirements and wasn’t trying to get better at such a rapid pace, I wouldn’t have gone. This work week has been exhausting, and by the time I was leaving to head to the rink last night, I could have very easily curled up on the sofa with the dog and been just fine. Regardless, I went, and it was actually easier to go last night, now that I have more strict attendance requirements, than it has been in similar circumstances before I made the All Stars. I think my choice to try out and want to be an All Star means I can more easily accept what comes with it even though it’s stricter.

When I got to the rink last night, I did get a piece of good news from our captain who has been trying to call me for the last day – she’s 90% sure I’ll be on the roster for our game against Carolina in May. This is excellent news! I had originally been told that because I hadn’t played with the team, it would likely be June or July before I was ready to be rostered for a game. That’s not to imply that this decision was based purely on performance – there are other factors that play into it, but this opportunity in May is my chance to continue to work my ass off and prove to the team that I am a valuable player and my performance is valuable too. I did tell my captain that I was excited and would be working hard. She asked if I was surprised about May, and I told her that I have been training as if April were a possibility. I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but why would I not go ahead and prepare? Because I have time to “stall”? No – I don’t want to be that person anymore. My preparing for April, even though I knew it was a long-shot, would only make me a better player. Hence, why I went to practice last night.

Even after hearing this wonderful news, my tired body fought my giddy mind, and I had what I could only describe as an “out of derby” experience. I was there physically, but it was as if I was standing outside myself. I knew when I needed to jump out of the way, but I couldn’t do it in time. I knew when I was about to cut track and that I should adjust, but I didn’t. It wasn’t as if I didn’t care – it was more like I couldn’t get my brain and body to work together, which is possibly one of the most frustrating feelings ever.

After my first scrimmage jam of the night, having almost immediately gotten sent to the box for a major for back blocking and then going back out with only 30 seconds left in the jam and being sent back to the box for another major for cutting track, I decided that I would use the night to try and pull myself out of the out of derby experience. After all, I’ve had this same feeling on some bout days, and if I’m going to be participating at such a high level of competition now, I need to find a way to get focused and get my head in the game, regardless of how I feel leading up to it. Easier said than done. The more active I got, the more I was able to pull myself out of it, but I’m not sure I was entirely back to “normal” by the end of the night either. This is something I will continue to work on.

Tomorrow I’ll be traveling up to Boston and then Maine for away games on Saturday and Sunday night. Saturday, I’ll be announcing in Boston, which is the second best role I can have there, with skating being the absolute best. I’m excited to announce, and I’m really looking forward to this game – hopefully it will finally put to rest any recent issues surrounding rankings. Maine should be a great time as well. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to blog about on Monday, so I'll talk to you then!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Final Insult

When I was younger I was no stranger to ridicule for being what I can only now describe as “not underweight”, as many of you long-time readers know. My mother’s own personal issues with the acceptance of her own body entered my life at an early age when she would tell me to “suck it in” when in a bathing suit at the beach or when prepping for pictures. Truth was, though, aside from my being not underweight, there wasn’t really much of anything else that the other kids could use to make fun of me. So it always boiled down to that: you’re fat.

After running late for work today to watch the Today Show piece on the girl fight between Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter, and Laura Ingraham, who can only be characterized within this exchange as the kiss-ass to the head conservative cheerleader (Ann Coulter), I couldn’t help but be pissed off for several reasons – namely that this game of “you’re fat” was played out in the media. For the love of all things fried and drizzled in chocolate, ladies, use your celebrity status for something other than perpetrating the “catty woman” stereotype that women like me don’t want to be associated with. I don’t know what’s more pathetic: that Laura Ingraham resorted to calling Meghan McCain the PC term for fat, “plus sized”, and Meghan McCain dignified Laura’s catty schoolgirl remarks with a comeback or that they decided to have this Jell-o fight in front of the media.

By calling Meghan McCain plus sized, Laura Ingraham comes off looking proud and spoiled and juvenile. By Meghan McCain answering Laura Ingraham with a comeback on The View, of all godforsaken places, McCain plays into the bait, appearing weak and like she actually needs to justify something that in my mind she does not, and putting herself on the defensive. I don’t care if the Tyra Banks rally cry, “Kiss my fat ass”, is something you identify with. By keeping the discussion going, you’re only drawing more attention to the problem (that this behavior is acceptable for grown women), inviting more people to participate in it, and quite frankly, playing into the dumbing down of the American public.

But isn’t calling someone plus sized empowering? It can be. If I say “I’m proud to be a plus-sized rollergirl who can still kick ass”, that’s empowering. If I run down a laundry list of why I don’t like you and then end with saying no one would ever even pay attention to you’re plus-sized self unless your dad wasn’t famous, that’s an insult. It’s the difference between using a douche and calling someone a douche. Okay, maybe not a perfect metaphor, but a funny one! Do you see what I’m saying? Why the fuck is it acceptable for someone to go there? To use the final insult? Yeah, well you’re fat (and yo momma is too).

Shit, Laura Ingraham’s head’s so fat, she get on the phone to talk to the radio station about Meghan McCain and she has to call AT&T to come by with a shoehorn to get her ass off!!! Really, it’s not far from the truth.

Ladies (and gentlemen), for the sake of plus-size fat people, women, and the intelligence of the American public, when you feel the arguments you’re using against someone are not working, pause a second before going there, because if you do go there, you’re making it okay for other people to go there, you’re widening the ridiculous divide between those who wear up to a size 14 and those who wear a 16 and up, and you’re making yourself look like the asshole you probably are. If you’re the person who’s been on the receiving end of the final insult, shut your mouth and make sure that IS the final insult. Go do something productive to prove that your weight doesn’t define you. Contrary to popular belief, the sweetest revenge doesn’t come in the form of food – it comes in the form of being a better person.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Almost Famous

Like multitudes of other little girls singing into their hairbrushes and performing dances for their parents at dinner time, I wanted to be famous since almost the exact moment that I found out what fame was. How I would solidify my name on the Hollywood walk of fame changed from time to time. From singing sensation to dance superstar to skateboarder to artist and back to singing sensation, I just knew something was going to make me famous.

I can’t remember the exact moment that I realized I probably never would be famous. It certainly wasn’t as devastating as finding out about Santa Claus not being real or where babies actually came from. It was more of a gradual recognition – a realization that snuck in slowly and never reared its abrupt head. Maybe a part of me unconsciously held out some small portion of hope that I would attain fame and fortune one day, so I never really felt too bummed about being just a normal girl.

I called our league accountant earlier this week to set up a much needed and overdue appointment to have our league taxes done. They know and love us at Jan Abrams Tax Office – I’m not sure if it’s because we’re rollergirls or because we’re in Smalltimore, where everyone just remembers everyone else because it’s such a small city, but it actually makes me really happy that they know who I am when I call. Even though I get a fair amount of applause when introduced in derby, I feel like I’m not one of the more memorable skaters – at least not to the typical bout audience, but at least I am to our vendors!

After we set up the tax appointments, the office manager goes on to tell me that her daughter wants to kill me.

“Why?” I asked, wondering what I could have possibly done to this woman I don’t know.

“Because ever since last April my granddaughter has been intent on wanting to be a rollergirl when she grows up!”

Turns out the little girl is 9 years old, and roller derby is the only thing that has gotten her to come out of her shell. A normally shy and quiet girl, when at a roller derby bout she stands up in the bleachers, screaming for her favorite team to “go faster” and “hit her”. How cool is that? Hearing stories like this makes me love derby more than I thought I ever could.

It was only after this brief discussion about her granddaughter that the office manager started recounting their having witnessed my first shoulder injury of last season.

“She was so upset when you skated over to the EMTs and sat down on the floor,” she said. “She asked me if she could go down there and hold your hand so you wouldn’t be upset or cry.”

I was honestly shocked. Most of my leaguemates didn’t even realize I was injured until I showed up at practice the next week in a sling, giggling from all the painkillers. How was it that this little girl who I didn’t even know existed could care this much about my injury? When I was the young fan’s age my role models were Punky Brewster and the Karate Kid. I can’t remember ever having any local role models, and it has been many years since I ever thought I might be one myself.

I guess it just goes to show that people are watching you, even when you feel far away from being watched, and at any given point in time you can be someone else’s role model. Shit, if that isn’t a reason to live your life with integrity, I don’t know what is.

I think it was Charles Barkley who said he didn’t want to be anyone’s role model. As my mom would say: "Guess what? Too bad." A kid who looks up to you doesn’t know or care about your intent. That’s not to say that we as rollergirls shouldn’t be ourselves, but we should at least be cognizant that people look to us – young and old – and we choose what we represent: strong, powerful, athletic women (hopefully). We may not all be perfect and we may not all be derby superstars, but I bet we’re all role models to someone: fans, kids, other rollergirls, or our friends. When we fall down, we get back up; when it hurts, we keep pushing; when we think we can’t but know we must, we find a way to do it. We may not ever see our names in lights or our handprints within a star on a sidewalk, but the most random images of us will be forever ingrained in some people’s minds.

I’m glad I made a good impression on the little girl who uses roller derby to come out of her shell, but I bet she’ll never know that the hope she expressed in her desire to “grow up to be a rollergirl” has really made an impression on me. After all, we’re all little girls at heart – we just hide it better these days. The belief that that little girl could be whomever she wanted to be and the compassion she showed to a stranger are things even us big girls can take a cue from. Many thanks to my little fan for teaching me a lesson!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shattered Street Toilet

Yesterday when I was driving home I was stuck at a light for several rotations when I noticed a young boy on his bike who had been riding on the tiny shoulder of the city street. It was dusk and he was likely heading home when he was stopped dead in his tracks by a shattered toilet – certainly not something one expects to see on a city street, not even in Baltimore. As I sat in traffic, waiting, I watched the boy weave through the line of unmoving cars and continue on his way, as he placed his bike on top of the thin cement median that separated the lanes of oncoming traffic and rode away. Sometimes it’s the most unexpected things that cause us to change direction.

Earlier in the day, yesterday, I was asked “why?” – what caused me to all of a sudden give up national derby sponsorship, something I love and am good at, and change direction, deciding I want to instead spend my time focusing on being a top derby player? I was a bit taken back by the question, because it’s one I’d never really asked myself. I typically put a lot of thought into decisions like that one, but this time the decision happened so organically that I didn’t even realize I was making it. Sure, there are factors I can cite as motivation (like being told I’d never be known for my playing), but none of those factors were reasons why I decided to take this new direction.

I feel like I’ve always lived a pretty calculated life. I knew the field I wanted to be in since I was in high school, and I’m still there today: publishing. I went to college, got a job, got a guy, and bought a house (albeit in different succession than most people). I go on vacations in the summer and I buy presents for people in the winter. I work 9 to 5. From the outside looking in I seem pretty darned predictable.

I know I’ve mentioned this before on here, but I feel like I’ve been undergoing some sort of massive change (and no, it’s not peri-menapause!). Maybe there wasn’t a shattered toilet in my path causing me to change direction, or maybe my shattered toilet was something more obscure than something as physical and concrete as a shattered toilet. Maybe it was a subtle shift in perception. Maybe I was already being drawn in another direction from the toilet before I ever knew it existed. Maybe I was walking toward the toilet and something in my periphery caught my eye, drawing me there instead.

Perhaps it’s the “life expectations” like falling in love, getting married, and having kids that are making me and others question the “why now”. Much like my non-derby life, I suppose my derby life doesn’t exactly follow the path of most derby careers, where one would initially be so drawn to the sport that she would do what I’m doing now and then move on to getting involved in the business aspect of derby when she could no longer play. When it comes down to it, I do the types of things everyone else does, and I used to think I just did them out of order. I’m now thinking I pretty much do whatever the fuck I want without regard to the typical “life expectations”.

I’m proud to know I’m confident enough in my navigational abilities to have left the roadmap behind, but I’m also scared that once other people see I’m without a road map that they’ll choose instead to be dropped off at the nearest service station so they can get back on whatever they think the correct “track” is. I’m lucky to have had people in my life that have been willing to go along on this joyride with me, but even they are slowly asking to be dropped off – getting married and “settling down”, taking “serious” jobs that require them to no longer have fun, and retiring from derby.

I guess I feel like my life has no time limit or dependencies or pre-planned route, and I cherish the freedom I’ve created in my life to pretty much do what I want when I want. And this is pretty much my answer to the “why”.

Why? Because it’s what I want to do right now, and because I want to do it I’m going to do it. It’s a simple answer that took quite a long time to explain, however I bet the explanation behind the shattered street toilet would take just as long as this one, if not longer. Which explanation is crappier? You decide! (… and I love my horrible humor too!)

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.

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?!

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Chapter

It’s no secret that I’ve been absent from writing lately, but trust me that it hurts me just as much as it has hurt you (ha!). I’m happy to kick off a new chapter of my life in derby today, and I can finally reveal the intentions I’ve had for the past two months (which have been so hard to keep off here)!

I decided in January that I would try out for our travel team, the Charm City All Stars, in February. I decided after a conversation with Chairman Meow about how I would never be known for my skating (I would be known for my business influence, he said) that if I were to make the team, I was going to resign my duties as Sponsorship Manager for both WFTDA and RollerCon so I could focus on the All Stars – a bold move for me. Well, after much anxiety and possibly several ulcers, I’m happy to say that I found out on Saturday night that I made the team for the coming quarter, and I contacted my supervisors at WFTDA and RollerCon on Sunday to resign my duties!

Don’t get me wrong, I love sponsorship and if you’re a regular reader then you know that. It was hard for me to even consider giving up these two things that I love to do and that have defined me for the past year of my life, but after nearly 5 years of involvement in derby, I think I finally realized that I cannot do it all, and if I try to do it all I’ll half-ass everything, at best.

I also feel like I’m in this position to really grow as a player, and our league is also in a very unique position where we have the retention, talent, and ability to make it to nationals this coming year, and I would kick myself if I didn’t fully use this opportunity to improve as a player and do everything within my power to help our league accomplish the opportunity it has. When it comes down to it, this means I need to attend all the practices I can (which I haven’t done in the past because I’ve been burnt on admin duties), and I need to spend my spare time training to make my body the best instrument it can be to help my league and I accomplish our goals.

I can honestly say that I didn’t see this coming. I mean, I had hoped I would find myself in this position sometime before I was broken beyond repair or too old to play, but I had no idea I’d change how I operate on the most basic of levels. It’s in my nature to take on everything that comes my way. I’m glad something clicked.

So, how am I doing? Well, I scrimmaged with the All Stars yesterday against Philly’s Heavy Metal Hookers, and I think I did pretty well. The running has made me fast, which helps with the hustle to get to the front of the pack to assist, and my mind feels clearer on the rink than it has ever felt before.

I did make the team, but that doesn’t mean I’ll make the game rosters, and that’s completely fair. I don’t want to be playing because I’ve been around forever or because I do so much for the league or for any other reason than because I’m one of the top 14. I’m at a disadvantage in that we didn’t lose many people, so everyone who returned has already played together and knows strategy better than I do, but I like a challenge. I’ll be working my ass off to make those game rosters – mark my word. I will be one of the top players.

This opens a new chapter in my life of derby, and from here on, I’ll be sharing much of the same as I have previously in my struggle to become a respectable “big” derby girl and come back from consecutive injuries – only this time it will be in the context of the All Stars. It’s been an upward battle for the past 4+ years, but it certainly doesn’t stop here. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s not always going to go the way I want it to go, but I will prevail. Stay tuned for more regular entries, and wish me luck, although I’m really hoping I won’t need it.