What makes us tick? What is it, inside of us, that just doesn’t allow us to give up? Determination? Stamina? Hard-thick-headedness?
I have returned to roller derby. I have also returned to a world of pain.
Last night, which was technically my 2nd practice after spending one year and two months away from my skates (yeah, spelling it out makes it look longer than 14 months), I worked on skating backwards on the banked track. I worked on healing all internal wounds from my past hounding me with attacks of “you can’t do this” and “you’re a spaz” and even “oh just give up already, you’re embarrassing yourself.”
“I shut that hateful bitch up.”
And I skated. I also fell. But those who don’t skate on the fringe of pushing themselves slightly beyond that line of what they can do well and what they do lesser than well never fall. They also never learn.
The practice only lasted one hour. What’s the worst that can happen in one hour, right? At one point we switched from the banked track to the flat track. I took advantage of this transition to quickly skate to my locker and sneak two quick inhalations from my asthma life-saver. My lungs were screaming, and my passageways were closing up on me. But I didn’t want anybody to know. I don’t – I refuse – to be labelled as the old lady among these 20-yr olds.
“But I am the old lady among the 20-yr olds.”
Shoot, I’m even older than some of them bitches’ mommies! Don’t get me wrong, I use the term bitches with love and affection. As in “Them chicks be my bitches, you mess with them, you mess with me, now get me my inhaler and a walker and I’m coming after you!”
We ended the practice with a game called BLOCK PARTY. The rules to BLOCK PARTY are:
- Skate around the track and knock each other down.
- You fall – you’re out.
- You fall on your own accord – you’re out.
- You lose your balance, and drop down on one knee – you’re out.
- You skate out of bounds – you’re out.
- No elbows. Just godhonest body hits, pushes, grinds, and *whiffs.
- It’s a last-(wo)man-standing-rock-em-sock-em kinda game.
I won. Me, the fortyfuckingseven year old, was that last annoying one who just refused to go down. When it got down to three there was a dude (a strong skater part of the referee team who skates with us regularly) and another chick of about the same body size and strength as me. Yeah, she’s a hottie.
The dude and I were roughing it, he and I almost lost our balance when she stepped in to finish him off. He fell, and she and I high five’d each other. With the Goliath gone, she and I were on an even playing field. I wanted to run back to my locker for the lifesaver I had stashed away. But nooooo. We had to fight it to the end. I felt like Rocky in the ring with that Russian: I was wore the fuck out.
“But also determined that I was NOT going down.”
Funny how as I was slamming with everything I had left in me, I also looked on to her as my teammate and didn’t want her to fail. I wanted to hug her, and tell her she could do it, and keep trying.
“Never give up. Just don’t.”
And then in this imaginary hug, I would knock her down. I wanted to win it so bad. I needed to be the last (wo)man standing. I needed to shut all the “I’ll never be good enough” complaints my head screams at me. I could taste it in my teeth grinding through my mouthguard.
I’m looking forward to more derby in my life, and being pushed beyond my limits, as long as have access to helpers (inhaler) and more helpers (ice packs) and then more helpers (ibuprofen).
What keeps YOU going through challenges?
(trying) to apply APPLYING these roller derby principles to my job search.
p.p.s. Thanks Marie for the kind reminder. Trying is not doing or achieving. It’s just trying…
* A whiff (not sure of the spelling) is when you know you’re about to get slammed and you slow down just with the right timing and the opposing skater slams off in mid-air, hopefully skating out of bounds, or losing balance. Very useful strategy when skating against Goliath’s.