Monday, April 25, 2011

Derby Breaks Hearts

I haven't written in a while...writer's block I guess.  I will try anyway since I have had things spinning around in my head.

Fact:  I LOVE roller derby.

Fact:  Derby has broken my heart MANY times.

Fact:  Derby will NOT love me back.

Fact:  I STILL love roller derby.

Derby is not for the faint of heart.  This is my opinion, not fact.  I have been involved in derby for over 3 years.  When I first started, I misunderstood the goals of the team as they were not clearly spoken.  Maybe it would have saved me some heartache had the goals been clearly stated from the beginning, but that doesn't really matter now.

In my first season with my team, if I wasn't put in a game or jam I thought it was because my team didn't believe in me.  I believed in myself so much that someone told me I entered the pack with no fear.  I had my ass handed to me many times, but I would get right back up and keep entering that pack with no fear.  This went on, scrimmage after scrimmage, bout after bout, but eventually, I started doubting myself and it affected my performance and my attitude.

I made the decision to work harder outside of practice to better myself so my team would see how hard I was working.  Throughout my second and third season I got put in the game more and more as I improved my speed, skill, agility and experience.  This boosted my ego little by little.  But I would have my heart broken many times even during this time.  I won't go into all the details, but there can only be 5 girls from a team out on the track at a time, and if I wasn't chosen it was hard not to take it personally. 

When the new girls came in each season during boot camp, I would watch them with indifference at first because I didn't want them taking my place of course, but then would see them struggle with things I struggled with and it made me empathetic.  Some believe in themselves and the ones that don't struggle even longer.  I see derby breaking their hearts too.  I halfway want them to play and I would gladly sit out if I could take their anguish and frustration away.  They have become sisters to me.  We fall, get hurt, sweat, bleed, laugh, cry, and experience ups and downs TOGETHER, just like family.

What doesn't kill you will make you stronger right?  So it goes with hearts broken by derby.  The good that comes out of getting up each time you are knocked down (by life, not on the rink) is learning to love yourself.  Every time derby didn't go the way I thought it should go, I thought of how I could make it better.  I stopped smoking, I eat healthier, I exercise 10+ hours per week, and I make quality family time because I need it.  I have found that the more I love myself, the more I am able to love those around me, including my derby family.  The new girls will go through the same heartache, and I can only pray that they are strong enough to endure so they can learn this HARD lesson too. 

If you were wondering, I made it to the Allstars team in my second season and now, entering my fourth season, I probably play 50% of each game.  I continue to have my ass handed to me at times too, and I just get right back up and skate my face off.  Hard work AND LOVING YOURSELF does pay off.