Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Brain Hurts More Than My Thigh.

Take one, please.  Wear it proudly.
Such a whiny little blog I have.  How do you stand it, Constant Reader?  I hereby bequeath to you an official Blog-reader’s Badge of Honor just for sticking it out and making it this far with me. 

Yes.  This sport makes me whine and complain and utter the most horrific disappointments in myself to the extent that even I, as I read through my earlier posts, want to vigorously shake my own shoulders and scream “WHY ARE YOU STILL DOING THIS?” until my head snaps clean off my neck.

It’s complicated.

Yeah, so I take my personal life onto the track with me.  Who doesn’t?  That’s a huge part of derby – being able to give hits, take hits, and get back up and do it again.  It’s all about the allegory.

My problem seems to be that if I take a hit in life, I let that hit happen AGAIN on the track, whether I could have avoided it or not.  I have LITERALLY watched me do nothing to defend myself as our most powerful blocker in the league veers directly toward me and takes me out.  WHAM!  Saw that coming.  Didn’t do anything.  Just took it.  WTF?!  
Me: "Who are you?!"  Life: "I'm Batman."

Do I do that in life?  Maybe I do, more often than I’m willing to admit.  Granted, I ALWAYS get back up and keep skating – both in life AND derby, but why do I even take the hit?  Why not juke out of it, or better yet, turn it around and knock the other person down first?  Am I using derby as a means of self-punishment?  Some twisted conduit that allows my personal failures to REALLY SINK IN to the point of having actual bruises to show for them? 

The skate wheel of Karma goes round and round...
In life, I like to think that I don’t knock people down in order to make way for my own triumphs.  I’ve seen plenty of examples of people who do, and one day a really big bitch named Karma is gonna jam up behind them and royally kick their ass.  Or not.  But who cares?  It’s not how I roll.  But in derby, you are expected to knock people around – as hard as you can – to help get points for your team.

Your Team.  As in, The People Who Have Your Back. 

I’ve noticed that when I’ve just interviewed for a job, drive home thinking I totally nailed it, and go through the rest of the week just biding my time until I get that phone call that’s supposed to change my life for the better, those days or weeks that go by before I actually get that phone call (which so far has only come in the form of an email or letter stating “Thank you for interviewing with us BUT…” blah blah blah) are the best practices in my derby career.  I feel great.  I do great.  I actually get points when I jam.  I’m tough to get around, and I’m hard to knock down. 

Then I get the bad news.  I still go to practice of course, but all of a sudden, I get halfway through a drill and I’m winded.  I can’t seem to get my footwork right.  I trip and fall on nothing but air.  I get knocked flat on my face.  I even try to give myself little pep talks before practice.  Sometimes they’re positive: “You know you can do this – you’ve had great practices before.  You rock at this, girl – go get ‘em.”  Sometimes they’re not so positive:  “Derby’s all you’ve got going for yourself right now.  Get with it, or you’ll have nothing.”

Neither one seems to work very well.  Apparently, I’m so busy unconsciously assigning the role of life-beater to the other girls in the league that I can’t seem to remember how to use derby as the therapeutic outlet it’s supposed to be so well known for.  It’s NOT as if I go to practice during those “down times” in my life just to prove to myself how worthless I really am – if I wanted to do that, I’d just quit.  You know – quitters quit, and all that rot.  So where is that burned out synapse that’s supposed to connect my brain to my soul?  I know what I want to have happen at practice, so why doesn’t it?  Do I really want a good practice if I’m not feeling all that great about the other things in my life?  Do I deserve a good practice?  How do I convince myself that I’m allowed to at least have SOMETHING (just derby) rather than ALL (a great job and derby) or NOTHING (no job, no derby)?!

Wait, earlier I said something about “Team” that made my brain hurt a little bit.  I did forget to tell you, Constant Reader, that I skated in my first public bout more than a month ago, and I did surprisingly well.  My biggest concern about skating in games centers around not wanting to be the fall guy – the one who sat in the box while the other team gathers those crucial points and wins the game because of my dumb mistake.  It’s a stupid fear with not much basis, but for now while I don’t feel so much like a star player, I don’t feel much like playing among the stars, ya know?  But the scrimmage I played in wasn’t against another league – it was a home game where we split our own league into two teams and invited some other skaters to join us.  Not so much on the line if my team loses, dig?  So I played. 

My husband, who jam-reffed the game, always tries very hard not to look AT me while I’m skating, because he knows he has to be impartial.  So he looks through me and pretends I’m just another faceless skater, so that if I commit a penalty, he can send me to the box fair and square just like anyone else.  So after the game, he told me that he kept noticing this blocker on my team who was somehow keeping two or three other blockers or even the opposing jammer back, all by herself, or doing really well holding the wall against the other team, etc.  Then he’d realize, “Hey, that’s my wife!”  And I noticed it too.  From somewhere deep inside came this weird energy and wild skill that I didn’t even know was there.  And I think that energy came from being on a Team in a real game and wanting to do well for my Team – not for ME, but for MY TEAM. 

At practice, it’s kind of hard not to separate myself from whatever team I end up on during scrimmage, because we mix it up and it’s not so official-feeling, and I’m somehow trying to focus so much on improving MYSELF that I lose perspective on how to work with my teammates.  I obviously need to stop being so self-centered and “alone” out there on the track. 

...and maybe out there in Life, too.

Whoa.  Now my brain really hurts.

Like I said, it’s complicated.  And I’m not sure how or why I made it this way for myself.  Just knock off the pity party and skate, Pippi.  You’re NOT winded, you’re upset about something else and it’s sucking all your energy.  So skate, Pippi.  Skate.  Skate.  Skate.  Keep skating.  You have a Team that’s got your back.  Skate some more.  Got knocked down?  You’re fine.  Get back in there and help your Team.  Skate.  Tried jamming and can’t seem to make it out of the pack?  You’re fine.  Tell your Team who to block so you can get through.  Skate.  Keep skating.  Someone’s got your back.

Now, HIT!