Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jamming is _________ .

I’m beginning to think that I may actually be pretty well-suited for jamming, at least for my home team. Last night I jammed five times for my home team; in the first four jams I got lead jammer and won those jams, and in jam number five I got sent to the box, resulting in a jammerless jam, for cutting in front of an out-of-play player, something that won’t be illegal in a derby millisecond when WFTDA 4.0 comes out. Yes!

I was slightly worried about my performance in anticipation of practice last night. I’ve been suffering what I’ll call “old knee” for about three weeks, the nagging slight pain resulting from an injury I had nearly 4 years ago that I should have had surgery to repair but didn’t. In addition to that, two weeks ago at All Star practice I got nailed in the back of my ribcage, just under my shoulder blade, by Quadzilla’s rock-hard ass. It knocked the wind out of me and was the first time I’ve ever had the wind knocked out of me from behind while still upright (insert crass joke here).

To add insult to injury, getting knocked around at the following week’s scrimmage practice made for a really sore ribcage (and kidneys) when I woke up the next day. That night at endurance practice, a week following the Quadzilla incident, I got nailed in that exact same spot by another tall person’s bony ass, again knocking the wind out of me. In a significant amount of pain and frustrated with all these little nagging injuries, I opted out of the next blocking drill and just skated fast laps around the outside. I jumped in the next drill, partnering up with Dolly, Holly, and Joy, without knowing what it was – it was the 4-person blocking-out rotation… with some of the hardest hitters in the nation. Trying not to be a pussy, I held my own, taking hits from Joy on that injured side. I lasted maybe 8 hits, and then the ninth got me just right and sent me out of the drill, immediately into a sob-fest in the women’s bathroom.

After about 5 minutes of uncontrollable sobbing, partly because of my bruised ribs and partly because of my bruised ego, I went back out (still crying like a baby) and packed up my stuff. I was done. Apparently big derby girls do cry – sometimes.

Feeling like a loser for not being able to stick it out, my good mood from the night before completely vanished. My wife, Flo, noticed my sobbing self packing up my shit and came over. “I know,” she said, “you’re frustrated. I would be too.” It sounds strange, but I couldn’t articulate frustration then or really ever before then either. I’m always so concerned about giving the right answer when a coach or captain asks how I’m doing – one that indicates I’m in pain and it’s bad enough to make me stop for the night but this doesn’t mean you should consider un-rostering me for the upcoming game. How I actually feel, frustrated, never even enters my mind, but it’s a completely accurate assessment.

So, after a frustrating two weeks and no practice since I left the rink sobbing last Thursday, I was slightly apprehensive about scrimmaging last night. On the way there I kept telling myself that I should have made the prior two nights’ practices, that I cannot expect to be on top of my game tonight, because it’s almost been a full week since I skated.

Reminding my captain that I wanted to jam, I solidified my intentions – at least for one more night. How would things go? All I could do was try. My feet weren’t a quick as they have been, and my mind wasn’t as sharp, but I pulled it together enough to get lead jammer four times, with jam scores ranging from 8 to 12 points in each of the four jams. The nerves left after team scrimmage and I was ready to just have fun with the All Star scrimmage, when I take the line in my first jam of the night with them (as a blocker) and our stats/penalty guy announces across the rink, “Cindy Lop-her – lead jammer tonight”. Still not used to being a jammer, I was instantly confused because I was lined up to play front inside and although I heard what he said, I thought he meant lead blocker. I got it before the whistle blew, made a comment that “You don’t ever see that, now do you?!” and “Well, get ready, cause you’re gonna be seeing it all season”, still not fully understanding what he meant by his comment. It wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed last night that it hit me that he might have been telling me that during regular team scrimmage I was the lead jammer for the night. Me? Lead jammer?!

“What is lead jammer,” I thought. Is it by cumulative points, average points per jam, percentage of jams you get lead jammer status??? What??? Thinking back on it, it still could have just been a random comment, like “look at you – you actually jammed tonight”, but I’m kind of thinking it probably wasn’t. How weird is that?!

I couldn’t sleep last night. It was like that first month you’re involved in roller derby where when you lie down to go to bed at night you don’t actually think, but you have racing thoughts about derby, replaying each move you made that night in your head – over, and over, and over again. Last time I looked at the clock it was 4:30am. I got up an hour later, giddy beyond belief, and have actually managed to keep this jammer high going even at my currently high-stress job, which I arrived to an hour early.

Wow. Jamming is so much fun. I love it because it’s always a new and slightly different challenge. For me, it’s like that time I was addicted to Tetris, and jamming is kind of like playing Tetris too – when you’re on level 89, everything is going way too fast, and you’re not quite sure you can navigate the 4-squared “stick” into the section that desperately needs the 4-squared stick so you can keep winning. I’m starting to learn what I need to do physically to be a good jammer, while I’m also gaining a bit of jammer strategy too.

I’ll actually be jamming quite regularly in the upcoming May home bout, since several long-time jammers won’t be able to make it. You know what this means? I need to get my ass in gear and start running more – faster and longer. I want to not only be prepared for the endurance part of jamming, but I also want to be over prepared, so jamming seems easier than it would if I didn’t step up my cardio in the next month.

Man, this is like a dream. I never thought I’d have what it takes to be a jammer – not at my size. Maybe the fantasy I have while running about jamming will actually come true. If somehow, someway, everyone is granted one wish in their lifetime to come true and this was mine, I could be totally cool with that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Remove the Stick from your Square Pants

This morning I got sucked into a piece on the Today Show about the new Burger King/Sponge Bob Square Pants/”I like square butts” commercial. I was slightly disturbed when I first saw that commercial air, but only because the butts were, well, square!

“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot is undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of all time, which is why I became so annoyed at the recent “to do” over the new Burger King commercial. Even with the teasers I couldn’t figure out what the Today Show piece could possibly be about, so you’ll know that I was shocked to hear that women were outraged at the commercial’s “objectification of women to sell a product to little kids”. Really?

Now, let’s put aside the fact that this commercial is for a fast food restaurant and that it’s marketing a product to children, because the MAIN COMPLAINT I heard this morning was the objectification of women and the obscenity of the butts. Now maybe my point of view is just askew from the average American, but I would argue that ANY other ad you see on television or in print media (sans diet commercials) objectifies women in much worse ways than this Burger King commercial objectifies women. Why? Because being waif thin with no ass is what we as a culture want our women to look like, which is why the vast majority of women included in mass-media ads mimic that look. It’s sad to me that we’ve gotten to a place where our world is so warped that women in the media with big (or square) butts, like most of us have (or would have if we lived under the sea), are considered objects by other women, most of which also have big (or square) butts.

I have always loved “Baby Got Back”, because it’s a fun, popular song, and when it’s played my normally “fat ass” sheds it’s media-projected negative skin and is allowed to not only be accepted but also to be praised for its largeness during those 4 minutes and 22 seconds. The playing of this song actually changes the climate and values of everyone listening to it for under 5 minutes, and that certain something of mine that’s a flaw for those other 23 hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds of each day turns into something to be celebrated. It’s quite a phenomenon.

On my car ride into work I decided to download “Baby Got Back” to my iPhone because I like it so much (shit, texting may be illegal now, but downloading ain’t). As I was scrolling through Sir Mix A Lot songs for 99 cents, I came across a song title that jumped out at me like woman with a square butt in a Burger King: “Buttermilk Biscuits” – a song to which I learned a dance routine with my fourth-grade dance troupe.

It couldn’t be, I thought… The song we danced to came from a demo tape of one of the friends of one of our high-school girl choreographers, and the guy responsible for the demo tape even came out to the high-school football game to watch us perform our dance routine to the song. It couldn’t have been, could it?

Once I got to work I had to search for biography info on Sir Mix A Lot, and I’ve got to tell you, there’s absolutely nothing that links him to the deep south or Louisiana, the place the guy with the demo tape supposedly lived at the time of my fourth-grade dance. I did, however, learn some interesting and unknown facts about Sir Mix A Lot, like the fact that he sampled David Bowie’s “Fame”, which almost blew my mind because I initially thought this was the same “Fame” from the dancing movie, which just last night we choreographed a dance to for our dance-off against Gotham Girls at tomorrow’s after party, but it turns out it’s not the same “Fame” after all…

Still, I got some satisfaction from knowing that those dance-choreographing high school girls who favored the thin and popular fourth-graders over me (and made me hate myself because my thighs touched when my knees were together) were the same high school girls who picked that song by the artist who would later be made famous for his love of big butts. Take that, bitches!

Really, we have nothing better to do than to make a stink over girls in a commercial with boxes in their pants? Over the glorification of something most of us have? Many, due to eating too much fast food? Complainers, don’t even front. Please, take pride in your back!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From Shit to Gold

Do you ever have those days (or weeks) where everything you seem to do goes wrong? Everything you touch turns to shit, and the more frustrated you get at your own ineptitude, the more you fuck up? That was last week for me.

Derby means so much to me now that it’s honestly hard to think back about something – anything – I cared as much about as I care about derby and my own performance in the sport. Add on trying to find a situation where that “something” was compromised by bad luck or a crappy time period, and it’s almost downright impossible. Since you now know my typical method of blog entry writing, I’ll leave this paragraph at that today, call my inability to relate this to anything else (yet still write something interesting) a draw, and just move on :)

After last week, what felt like the shittiest week in derby history since the last time I thought I had the shittiest derby week possible, I’ve been trying exceptionally hard to bring myself out of my self-loathing I’m-a-bad-player-and-should-be-embarrassed-to-be-alive funk. I think my performance at scrimmage practice last night gave me the lift that I needed so very much.

After the usual derby-dread while getting ready for practice, I rolled up to nothing short of a miracle. Call it the best beginning to a practice ever, call it a reversal in the black-hole of suck that has been the way I feel about myself lately, but whatever you call it, call it abso-fucking-loutely wonderful. As we’re all standing around unpacking our skate bags, I instantly become the focus of attention, which I’m not that used to. Thereafter, nothing short of a 10-minute conversation about how good my hair looked and how thin I looked – shit, what more can a girl ask for? I know I talk about and support big-girl pride on here, but no matter your size you know it feels good to get honest compliments about having lost a few pounds. If nothing else, it makes it way easier to skate in those tight booty shorts you wore to practice that night.

Following the flattery (which will get you everywhere), we warmed up for 45 minutes with some endurance drills and then began scrimmaging, first with our home teams and then with the All Stars. My good night quickly hit a wall when I kept forgetting to pay attention in the blocking snake drill. I just wasn’t looking behind me, and I kept getting leveled because I was off in good-hair and weight-loss lala land. That wasn’t really the root of my inability to focus, but it ties things in nicely, don’t you think? I really don’t know why I was so out of it, but I was, and that scared me, because I really didn’t want to have a bad night scrimmaging. Luckily, I didn’t.

Standing on the sidelines making rosters I told my team I was willing to jam more than once in a rotation, and as soon as that came out of my mouth I wondered who said it. Oh, it was me. Ok, I can do this – just calm down…

In my first attempt at jamming for the night, I jammed with my home team, Speed Regime, against our B-team, Female Trouble. Standing on that line, I had to remind myself not to go at the first whistle but the second. My stance was weird, but before I had time to adjust the second whistle blew. Here we go, I thought, took a deep breath, and didn’t even vie for lead jammer. I went at a quick pace, but I didn’t go balls out, because I know it’s more important for me to get through the pack so I can continue skating that jam than it is for me to mow over an opposing player, instantly get a major, and get sent to the box.

The strategy paid off and I got lead jammer anyhow. In a weird twist of fate, the opposing jammer immediately got sent to the box, so I went unopposed for a whole minute – YES! After making it through the pack clean three times, the other jammer came out of the box, I was having a hard time getting through the lead blocker, and I called it before any opposing points could be scored. What I didn’t remember at the time was that this would have still been the other jammer’s 1st pass through the pack, so I should have waited it out a bit longer, dug deep, and hustled. Eh, that’s why they call it practice, right? I ended that jam 12-0. I’ve never scored more than 3 points jamming, and I don’t usually even make it through my first pass. It was awesome!

I blocked more that night, pivoting for both Speed Regime and the All Stars. I’m a pretty good pivot, and I learned pivot strategy when I was a bigger and less buff rollergirl than I am now. Let’s just say I know exactly how to exploit a 20-foot call when the opportunity arises. Born from sheer exhaustion and laziness, that strategy is now part of a good arsenal of weapons I have developed as a skater. Many more fit girls can’t pivot. Hell, throw on a vest with 40lbs of weight and see what you’re inclined to do when you’re tired and know the rules.

I ended the night jamming for the All Stars, but sadly just as soon as I got lead jammer the jam got called for an injury on the track. It’s all good. I got lead motherfucking jammer, and I’m happy to end the night on that note!

I was thinking about why I’ve never really tried to jam before this season while in the car on the way to work this morning. First and foremost, I never had the desire. I would gasp for air just completing a full 2-minute jam. Second, I was never encouraged to try it. I thought more about that. Was it wrong that no one had ever suggested jammer as a position to me before or tried to help me learn that position? Or, was the subject never approached because everything about me said I was so against it? And why was I so against it? Had I inadvertently bought into the “because I’m big, I have to be a blocker” mentality? Or was I just too scared to try?

Whatever the reason(s), I can surely learn from them once I identify them, but the important thing for me is living in the moment – living in the “now” that I have decided jamming is something I want to try. For the last 4+ years I’ve only ever heard jammers complain about jamming, about not wanting to do it. All jammers except for my wife, Flo Shizzle, that is. She’s of the mentality that, “Shit, I’m in my 40s! I’m just happy to BE playing roller derby. Knock me down, I don’t give a shit! I’m happy to be here!” I know the excitement I’m feeling in regards to jamming right now won’t last forever, so I’m going to take advantage of it while I still have it, and I’m going to try and emulate Flo’s perspective, because really, I am happy just to be here.

Now, if only I can keep the “happy to be here” mood going… It’s hard getting into those cycles where everything you touch is shit, but I guess the important thing I realized yesterday is to keep going and eventually your luck will turn – your touch of shit will eventually become the Midis touch, and when you have the Midis touch, take advantage of it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Living (and Skating) in Fear

It’s no secret that I have an innate ability to stress myself out on a regular basis, but what I’m realizing is there appears to be a pattern were the stress reveals itself.

I’ve always enjoyed taking “tests” that reveal more about my IQ or personality, yet I always hated tests that actually counted toward something, like finals or the SATs. Why? Because when I’m doing something for someone else, I have something to lose.

As a kid, I was in all the advanced academic classes, which my parents loved to brag about to others. Knowing this gave me instant anxiety whenever I’d have to take a test. I’d freeze up and instantly panic, believing that if I didn’t do well I’d be taken out of those classes and I’d no longer be above average. And if I was no longer above average, then by methods of deductive reasoning my parents would no longer be as proud of me.

I’ve been putting the same pressure on myself to perform in derby like I did as a kid, only each practice has become like a test to me. It was easy to excel before I decided to try out for the All Stars, and it was even easier to excel when I first came off of injury. Once I made a goal for myself, I had something to lose, and things got unnecessarily harder. I went from “stoked I could do something new” during those moments where I could see a glimmer of progress to “ashamed I couldn’t perform” during all the other times. Not being able to perform at regular practice is hard, but not being able to perform at All Star practice is harder, because I know I’m under a microscope. I appreciate feedback, but I feel like an idiot when I’m doing something as dumb as reaching for another player with my elbows because my footwork isn’t where it should be for this level of play. I love challenging myself, but I’m beginning to think I only love it on my terms.

Truth is, I'm in that place where I’ve been dreading derby lately. I dread going to practice, because I know I’ll fuck up and someone will judge me based on that. I dread not being able to get up to speed as quickly as I think others think I should. I dread the All Star captains rethinking their decision to place me on a game roster, or worse yet, the team. I dread what little I have achieved will be taken away from me. I dread being embarrassed.

I started realizing last night that it wasn’t so long ago that I was having more fun than worry when it came to derby. I was excited to go to practice, to try new things, and to see what I was made of. Why can’t I revert back to that way of thinking now?

I suppose part of me thinks I must be “serious” when in jeopardy of losing something, but when I’m serious I don’t take risks, and when I don’t take risks, I don’t excel. When I’m “serious” I stagnate, I freak out, I stress out, and worst of all, I don’t have fun.

Why am I doing this, I asked myself. My immediate answer was “to go to Nationals”. But then I thought, do I really want to go to Nationals if it means I’m going to be miserable and paranoid and scared until those Nationals rosters are decided? “Yes! It’s Nationals!” said the competitive part of me. That answer was immediately followed by my rational self explaining that I would never make it to Nationals if I kept up this stress level; I’d never make it to Nationals if I didn’t stop worrying so much about what other people thought of me.

Deciding not to worry about what others think of me, especially in relation to the All Stars, is extremely hard for me, because I want to be perceived as a good player and I need to be perceived as a good player in order to play in games. Even though I know exactly how I operate, it’s hard to shift my mindset and tell myself to let go. Even now, as I’m writing this and I know what I need to do, I’m unsure that I’ll be able to do it! It’s just that difficult.

I want to be good at roller derby, and I need to realize that the only way I’ll ever become as good as I want to be is by doing it for me. I went through school and college being a good student for my parents, I’ve gone through the majority of my relationships trying to be a good partner for my partners, and I’ve gone through derby the majority of the time worrying myself sick that I won’t be as good as this person or that person thinks I should be. It’s time that I play derby on my terms – free of judgment from other people. Can I do it? I don’t know, but I sure as hell hope that I can.

I don’t want to live my life in fear anymore, but unfortunately this isn’t something that I can just “turn off”. It’s going to take a conscious effort to allow myself to be driven by opportunity and endless possibilities instead of fear of how I'll be judged by others. One step at a time, one day at a time. That’s all I can do.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Came First, The Player or The Team?

On Sunday we scrimmaged Philly, and I didn’t go. “The people playing Gotham need the time to practice together,” I told myself, “I’ll be riding the bench anyhow – I might as well stay home.” It was a bad decision, but one that I made at the time. I was feeling sorry for myself and not thinking clearly. Should I have gone? Definitively, YES. Even if I wasn’t placed in a single jam I should have been there to watch and learn and support my team.

I don’t know if it’s my general disdain for riding the bench or that in combination with a very stressful work environment at the given moment, but I’ve been allowing myself to feel a bit apathetic when it comes to “trying” to become one of the players on the all-star team who gets regular play time. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much want to be a player who actually plays in bouts, but it’s hard for me to just sit still when we’re scrimmaging other teams. If I don’t get the experience of working with my team, I won’t ever play, yet it’s the people who do play that get the continued experience of working with each other. What came first, the player or the team?

Patience may be a virtue, but it’s never been one of mine. I feel like I’m in this losing cycle where the only way I could ever jump in is if enough people got hurt or pregnant. I don’t want to become a regular player that way – I want to earn my way on by working well with my teammates, but if I hardly ever get a chance to play with them, how can I prove myself?

I’ve been thinking about this situation a lot lately, but it was only last night when I was reflecting on it again that I realized I’ve actually been on the ruling end of this type of situation. As a 2-year home-team co-captain, I once played a part in making the decision to give the vets more play time when playing opponents with whom we were more closely matched. Was it the right thing to do? I think so, but this is also coming from someone who helped found her league – someone who played in that very first game and has never been in the position of struggling to make her way onto a game roster. I’ve never done this before.

After two full days of beating myself up for missing the Philly scrimmage I went to practice as usual, but that night I surprised myself. Having thought and rethought about my riding the All Stars bench had gotten me kind of down, and I was feeling like I wasn’t really progressing as a player. I don’t know if it was because we were doing skills I already knew well or because there were just a lot of newer ladies at practice that night, but I felt – I really felt – like I kicked that practice’s ass. Almost two hours in we’re doing knee drags, and I’m popping back up like my legs are on springs – me sprinting out of each drag. I surprised myself by doing that, but even after the initial surprise I kept on doing it, and before long I realized that not only did I have a new pep in my step, but I also was going much faster than much of the group – something I’ve NEVER been known to do; I’ve always been the slowest girl out there (or at least that’s how I’ve thought about myself)!

Maybe it was karma that threw me a bone or maybe it was all in my head, but that single good practice has given me some hope that I can become good enough to stand out as someone who should be put on a game roster.

Tonight is our first home-team 09 season meeting, and I’m going to tell my team I want to jam. The way I figure it is that I need to open up enough avenues that may take me to my goal of All Star game play. As competition among leagues increases, everything’s harder, including the hits. Perhaps having a jammer that can take a hit and not fly out of bounds or fall down will be a benefit. This one’s a long shot, but it could pay off, and if it doesn’t, I’m still better for it.

I really don’t know what came first, the player or the team. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. I’ve learned hard lessons while struggling to find myself as an All Star, and this entry was especially hard to write because I feel like I’m really exposing myself here, and what I’m exposing is not always something to be proud of. Like everything else, though, sharing this with you makes me accountable for my actions. I want to be a better person, and I want to be a better player. I need to focus on the same things I said I needed to focus on a month ago: attend as many practices as possible, pair up with fellow All Stars during practice to establish a teamwork familiarity, and give it all I’ve got. That’s all I can really do – that and pray that I’ll become a better player and someone might notice.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Real Life of a Rollergirl

Often times I think to myself: Why are my dishes always dirty? Why do I feel like I really have to plan to run errands? Why haven’t I talked to my non-derby friends in over two months?

This weekend I left my house, not to go to practice (like I did Friday morning when I was supposed to be driving to work), but to go hang out with some of my oldest friends who I feel like I haven’t seen in forever. I heard the same statement and the same question from everyone I saw: “Where have you been?” and “Holy crap, you look good”.

Now, I didn’t include number 2 to toot my own horn, but I’m in good shape because I’m doing derby ALL THE TIME. Actually, that’s untrue. Part of why I haven’t written in over a week is because I haven’t been following my “attend every practice” guideline I set for myself and proclaimed on here, and I feel guilty. I’m not even attending derby all the time, but for the love of all things holy (my tights) it certainly feels like it!

The truth is that the life of a rollergirl is hard – really hard. You wake up in the morning, hair a mess from the after-practice shower that was had immediately before bed the night before. A survey of new bruises gives rise to the panic of how you will fix your hair, because you just remembered you have a meeting today and need to arrive early to strategize with your boss. Fuck.

Get ready, take out the dog, take out the trash, take two seconds to think about what time and where practice is tonight and what that means; if it’s early, pack the skates, a change of clothes, and something hardy to eat for a late lunch so you have energy for practice. If it’s late, pack a light lunch and an apple – you’ll eat a more hardy meal if and when you can get home from work on time, so you’ll have enough energy for practice. Crap. It’s an early night. Is anyone getting home to let out the dog after work? If not, plan to leave work early to do so and take work home.

Dog’s in, food’s packed, you know what today’s agenda looks like. Drive to work (if you’re lucky and your tired brain doesn’t take you to Skateland instead). Arrive late. Get posters for the next bout from trunk to hang around town on your lunch break. Need coffee. Get coffee. Coffee don’t help. Some weird muscle hurts. Ouch.

Meet with boss, sound like you know what you’re talking about, head to board room to meet with client and introduce yourself to them as “Cindy” or whatever your derby name is, because it’s Monday and you’ve been that person all weekend. You explain briefly your double life. “Like wrestling?” they ask. “Yeah, kinda,” you say to get them off your back and on to the task at hand.

Meeting over. Do some work. Unable to practice self-restraint, you check your personal email several hours into the work day and derby shit has hit the fan – if you’re lucky, only one thing has gone or is going wrong. If you’re not lucky, you consider using your letter opener to slit your wrists but then remember that if you did that you wouldn’t be able to bring those booty shorts from the bulk order for that new girl on your team tonight. Fuck.

Email, work, email, work, email, work. You miss lunch – will have to hang posters tomorrow. Work some more. Want chocolate. Have discussion in your head about if you should eat that this close to practice and if you do what that will mean. In your head you argue sugar-rush over heartburn, give in, but heartburn winds up winning anyhow – a prerequisite to the mouth pukes. Great.

End of the day, you’re running late to get home and let the dog out before practice. “Got a minute?” asks your boss. “No!” you blurt out, quickly recanting your emphatic answer. Finally get out, taking with you your laptop and work you promise yourself you’ll do after practice. Race home, let out dog, watch dog eat grass to make himself puke, think dog has to be fucking with you at this point. Calculating how late you’re gonna be to practice and if you’ll get attendance points for the night. In your head, argue saying “fuck it” and not going. Feel guilty. Go.

Gas light on. Can make it to the rink and back – make decision to get gas before work tomorrow. Make it to practice. Forgot water. Buy water. Get on gear, stretch, kick ass, get my ass kicked, wring out hair, pass off booty shorts to new girl on your team, pack up, discuss having to move the fundraiser last-minute because someone forgot to get the permit. Tell someone to send you an email reminder tomorrow to do something of importance. Load the car, put on tunes, drive home.

Look in the fridge, don’t see anything of interest, close the door. Repeat fourteen times and then wind up sitting on the couch stinking like Fritos and eating peanut butter out of the jar. Mmmm, dinner. Crap! It’s bedtime already! You didn’t do any of the work you promised your boss that you would do! Let out the dog, go upstairs, take a shower (or risk being booted out of bed from smelling like an armpit), get into bed, set alarm. Sleep. Ahhh… Five hours later you wake up, late for work with bad hair from going to bed with a wet head and realize you aren’t going to make it to work early like you wanted, because you have to stop and get gas.

Repeat.

Sound like a lot? It is, and if you’re on your league’s all-star team, it’s even harder and the guilt for having to attend “life” outside derby is even worse.

We do this because we love it – I love it – but if derby is something you care about and you actually want to become a better player it’s a fast track to burning yourself out. I am a derby junkie and if you’re reading this, then you probably are one too.

Where have I been? Enjoying my hobby. Why do I look so good? Derby is all I do, which is unfortunate because when I retire I know I won’t look this good, so enjoy it ladies on my team – enjoy seeing my fit ass in tights and booty shorts more often than you see your significant other. I don’t know why I’m telling you, I know you already do. Maybe one day I’ll meet him or her and we can hang out outside derby, but we both know that’s all we’ll talk about anyhow.

Jaded? Dunno. Tired? Fo Sho. Shit…