Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Derby Monster Ate My Life

Derby has been consuming so much of my life lately I’m not sure there’s a non-derby bone left in my body. The team is my full time, non-paying job. The fresh meat are my children, the vets are my needy girlfriends; it’s an interesting family. If I’m not busy worrying about my PR committee, I’m going to a board meeting, a roster meeting, or sitting down to create practices with Animal. I’m making contacts for events, printing flyers, hanging flyers, creating, designing, planning, thinking, stressing over everything. I go through brief moments of defeat and want to give it all up, and other moments of complete and utter derby love.

I got thinking recently when a non-derby friend asked if I ever had time for other things. My mind kind of went blank as I tried to think of what these “other things” might be. So I hypothetically removed derby from my life and tried to imagine what would be left. There wasn’t much, and it made me a little concerned. Everyone I spend time with is in derby or related to derby. I’m constantly making failed promises to hang out with non-derby friends and slowly diverting from anything else I used to do. As for my plan to either take more classes or find a better paying job… well I suppose that’s been on hold for a while. I have two part time jobs and I’m continually floundering. My brain is constantly in the here and now and what needs done this week, and never in the long term life-goals mindset.

I know a lot of this over thinking is just pre-season stress, because all work and no play makes Deadwards a frustrated girl. It is bout week, with our season opener this Saturday, so I have 50 zillion things to do and the bout will be my reward. I look forward to that and then realize that there’s five more home bouts and lots of things I want to see the team accomplish this year, so there really won’t be much more time for me to breathe. Especially since we’re kicking off our season with 3 bouts in a row; 1 home and 2 away. (Quad Cities 3/12, Unholy Rollers of the Mad Rollin Dolls 3/19 and Des Moines Derby Dames 3/26.)

Bout day will come and the whole league will be at the Marriott for a majority of the day, setting up, getting ready, and warming up. Then the doors will open and I will mentally deal with the fact that the Marriott is or is not full of people. It feels like a test for me and the PR committee, to see if we’ve been doing enough and if our efforts will pay off.  Then it’s time to skate. Intros can be kind of horrifying. Everyone’s eyes are only on you for one lap, and after I nearly tripped coming out of the curtain at Full Metal Derby last year, I get overly anxious. Next, the bout begins. If I’m jamming first, my nerves are tingling and my stomach is in knots. This first jam sets the bout, the team’s mood, and my performance. After that, it all just happens… until the last jam.

More times than not, I tend to be the jammer in the final few minutes of a bout. In our first ever bout against the Quad Cities in June of ’09, I huffed and puffed my way through the pack, but couldn’t manage to snag a few more points. Everyone thought we won, but the scoreboard updated and we ended up losing by three. Despite the loss, this was our first bout and I was wearing a fucking tutu (never again); it was pretty impressive.

This past June however, we had quite the lead on the Stateline Derby Divas and managed to jam every single person on the bench. Bang couldn’t stay out of the box as jammer, so with a few nods and a pivot panty on my head, the plan to pass the star was set. I toed the line and after a lap or two, Bang entered with the star and handed it off to me. I threw it on and before anyone knew what happened, I was coming around to score. It was fun to actually pull off a not often used strategy in a bout.

The next bout was in Des Moines, versus MIR; the one that still has a tender spot in my derby heart. I had been jamming a majority of the night and was all out exhausted. It was nearing the end and I told Tynamite that I couldn’t jam anymore, only block. After a few jams, it was down to the wire and I took the jam line anyway. This was it. I believe we had a small lead so all I had to do was get through first and call it off. I was nearly through and instead I got called off. I sat in the box and cried as we lost the bout.

Following that was an intense bout against the LaCrosse Skating Sirens. The score was pretty close the whole bout and we were down by a handful of points when I was on the jam line in the final minutes. There was some confusing between the refs and the benches and suddenly the jam was starting. Half the Sirens weren’t present in the pack and as they tried to take the line they were waved off for not being ready at the start of the jam. After the initial pass their jammer and a blocker visited the box which left one Siren on the track against me and two blockers. I skated until I was certain we had the lead and called it off. We won, but due to confusing and error, it didn’t feel well deserved.

To say the least, I’m a little nervous about Saturday. Not only will I be participating in a sport, I am helping cultivate a business. I want us as a team perform well, and as a league be successful. I also hope with each bout, we are reaching a little further and getting more and more people interested in this dynamic sport that I feel so passionate about. Roller derby doesn’t bring us fame or fortune. We don’t get scholarships or professional drafts or loads of money; the pay off is an intangible thing. I have instead earned a confidence, a family and a hunger for more. I just hope all my friends outside of Derbyland understand if I don’t ever come back.


1 comment:

  1. It's funny to see it in print, "i was wearing a fucking tutu." hahahaha, oh how far we have come. your non-derby friends will understand but you should try to hold on to them also!