Thursday, June 21, 2012

Win or Lose, it's How You Survive the Game

Wow, I really haven't written since before our very first bout of the season? It's been so long, even blogger has changed its layout on me.

The past six months have been a bit hectic. Last December I started a new part-time job working as a production assistant for the local news station. It's been really fun, and more in line with my interests for a career. However, it came with a catch: a 4am to 9am shift. I could have worked the evening shift, but since the roller derby monster ate my life, I must work around our practice schedule. It's also in Cedar Rapids which means dishing out more money on gas and having some expensive car problems. You win some, you lose some.

The last post was the eve-eve of our first WFTDA bout, which was of course also against the #2 team in our region (and arguably #1 now). We lost of course, but I found a small victory in keeping my head in the game and doing the best I could. Then MNRG sent their Rockits down here and somehow I lost my head again. Loss number two for the season. After almost a month of me trying to up the mental training for everyone, and tightening our teamwork, we had a successful bout in Sioux City, winning 175 to 111. Like the first time we played them, we were down at the half and came back for the W.

Photo by Jim Lee
 A couple weeks later we had a busy weekend in Chicago, with our Beta B team winning over the Shade Brigade and suffering our third All-Star loss to the Syndicate. In the beginning of May we traveled up to play Killamazoo and after a steller first half, we gained our fourth loss due to a penalty craze in the second half. (Although we won the shit out of the after party.) The end of May I got to stand at the sidelines as I watched our fresh meat become bouting skaters against the Push-Up Brawlers.

Now we're in the home stretch of spring bouting. The first weekend of June, we played the Des Moines Derby Dames and pulled out a last minute win there. Then this past weekend we tested ourselves by traveling ten hours, playing two bouts, and one of those teams was a top ten regional team. Overall, I feel like it was a successful weekend. Saturday we played the Ohio Rollergirls in a tough but exciting conclusion to their triple-header evening. Despite losing, I really feel like we stepped up our defense and performed amazingly. I started out the bout on shakey jammer legs, and after throwing a small fit, Tyna started blocking me more. I do love jamming, but blocking is so much fun. The following morning we played a closed bout against Demolition City, who lost similarly to Ohio the night before. It started out pretty close and the action stayed heated the whole time. Their blockers hit comparable to Ohio, and had some awesome teamwork. We just focused on shutting down their jammers and ended up with one victory to bring home. You win some, you lose some.
We got new unifroms and I chopped off most my hair.
Photo by Patrick Bloom
I hate losing.

Right now I feel like the point differential for my life is negative and I'm being lapped. I decided it was a good idea to live on my own this fall, but money is tight and it's going to be hard. Growing up is getting more and more difficult and I have to start making adult decisions. Currently I have many different variables pulling at my sanity and I'm not sure which ones should give. There are times, and I'm sure plenty of people outside of derbyland think that I should, but I have thought about quitting derby. At this point I can't fully justify dropping it, and I'm definitely not done with it yet. I've learned so much from this sport, and one major theme has been to never give up. I've been doing a lot of whining and pouting, when I should be looking for more solutions to my problems.

A specific derby moment ingrained in my memory is when we played our toughest bout against a version of the Minnesota All-Stars a little over a year ago. I had never before been shut down that hard during a jam, and I have referenced it painfully many times since. Vuedoo and the other girls in light blue were wiping the floor with my face and there wasn't a single thing I could do but get up and keep trying. I started to lose it mid-jam and after getting knocked down for the millionth time, I just wanted to skate of the track and cry. I no-doubtedly crumpled behind the bench and cried afterwards, but at the time there was nothing I could do but keep skating. I specifically remember that moment of panic, exhaustion, humiliation and total frustration that took over. I mentally gave up but physically kept skating, and I feel like I have been half-assedly living my life the same way. If I stopped filling my mind with negative garbage and spent more energy taking charge of my life, instead of throwing pity-parties, maybe I wouldn't constantly feel like I am drowning.

I know I write a version of this post every few months when I'm starting to majorly freak out about something. I've been feeling a small twange of optimism lately, and I am hoping I can hold on to that and swim my way out of this rip-tide.

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