I am aware that this is my first roller derby post on this site and so this should probably be about fresh meat or how to get started with roller derby, but I’ve covered all that in blog posts for my league; South West Angels of Terror.
Not only have I already covered fresh meat feelings and experiences, but I also want to keep this blog current and therefore relevant to what I’m actually thinking and feeling.
So, I find myself in a funny position within the league at the moment. At the very beginning of the season, I was selected as a member of our A-team/travel-team/call-it-what-you-will-team and this for me was a BIG achievement as well as a fairly big shock. I’d just spent almost 2 months away from training due to ill health and suddenly I was on the highest team… WHAT?!?
So, as an A team jammer, I made the sensible decision to take it easy and make sure I rested enough to allow myself to return to good(ish) health rather than pushing myself too hard and making myself ill again.
I then returned to training, began to get my attendance up and got back into it again.
The problem was, even though I was now ‘too good’ to be on the b team, it seems I am not yet good enough to jam for the a team and with stronger jammers returning from injury hopefully in time for the next game, I wonder if I’ll actually play for my team at all this season.
At first, this thought sucks and for some people, it’s what makes them lose their passion for roller derby, not to mention the loss of confidence when you feel like the last kid to be picked in the playground and I’ve known people from many leagues quit because of this, BUT there are positives to any situation if you only know how to look.
I NEVER GET TO JUST WATCH MY TEAM PLAY ANYMORE.
Usually, I’m nervous on the bench, examining the other team to see what I could do to penetrate their walls. The game goes by in a blur and whilst I will sometimes get to see my blockers do some awesome offence (for which I am always grateful), I miss out on watching our super solid walls, the recycling of the other jammer and the way my team deals with incoming offence.
If I’m not skating, more often than not you’ll find me with a clipboard or a whistle as I concentrate on NSOing.
Last season I was Line Up Manager (LUM) for the A team and was so busy telling everyone who was on next, I missed out on the action.
But, being a reserve, I get to watch and learn.
Another thing to do is think of this not as a rejection, but a chance to prove that you do deserve that spot on the team.
This can be achieved in many ways.
- Increase your attendance. Now, I attend two out of a possible three sessions a week most weeks and cannot improve upon this, but I make sure my attendance is known. (Seriously, the ladies who take attendance are sick of me!!)
- Really focus during drills and show determination to nail a move. I sometimes find it hard to let go of my fears and ‘just do it’ when I’m out of my comfort zone, but how else will I learn and improve? I have recently made a conscious effort to show dedication to learning and improving and am overcoming many barriers to do so. Whilst I doubt many others have noticed, I know that I’m doing my best and that makes me feel epic.
- Practice how you play. This is important for everyone. So often we don’t go for the big hit we know will hurt our teammate, but not only will that not help prepare us to make that hit in a real game, it will also not help the other prepare to take it. On a more personal level, I have incredibly boney shoulders which I know hurt and have the potential to break ribs, so in training, I won’t use them or I’ll at least angle them differently and hit less hard so the less spiky bit hits someone gently and I don’t really get anywhere. I know my team can take it and will then be able to better take hits off of other boney jammers in bouts, so no more holding back. The coaches and captains also never get to see the best of your skills and what you’re really capable of if you’re holding back all the time, so just go for it. (This is an attitude I have not yet mastered and still go easy on my own team, but I’m working on it.)
- Workout offskates. If your roller derby training includes a fitness session and you’re still going after everyone else has had to stop, people will notice and wonder how you have so much energy left. They may say they hate you as they lie on the floor, struggling for breath, but deep down, they admire you, and you know what? You deserve that admiration because you will have worked your butt off to get your fitness up. All those runs in the rain, all those other sports you attend training for, all those weights you lifted, all the planks, push ups, sit ups, squats and even (dare I say it) hill sprints (OMG!! WHO INVENTED THEM AND WHYYYYYYY?!?) will be worth it when the rest of the team has slid to the floor in a sweaty puddle and there you stand victorious!! Well, that’s the aim anyway.
- Attend open scrims and mixed games in your area. This is the best way to test out that new move you’ve been working on and shows commitment to the sport. It’s amazing how much you can learn from skating with other teams.
- Skate ramps. Because it’s cool.
On a serious note, any time spent in skates is time well spent, whether it’s outdoor skating, park skating or just practicing one-footed transitions in the kitchen. It’s worth it.
Since making an extra effort in training, I have made it onto the A team selection for the next bout which I’m super happy about. I feel stronger having really focused on my skating and improving my technique and know that I now appreciate that spot on the team all the more, but know that I will have to continue my efforts if I am to keep this spot.
So in conclusion; I WILL prove my worth and use this season for my development as a skater and all-round awesome person. I WILL bout this season in the purple of my team colours. I WILL train so hard that I will prove I’ve earned my place on my team and prove that I CAN DO IT.
Yeh, you heard me. THIS GIRL CAN.