Speed Bumps

If you’re not prepared for them, they’ll knock you on your ass.  Think when, not if. They’ll come in the form of space/floor and equipment troubles, and in the myriad physical and mental distractions or challenges that seem to scream, SLOW DOWN.  This isn’t news to anyone who’s played sports, I’m sure, but even what *YOU* want and what your *BODY* seems to want can be two very different things.  And that can be frustrating, particularly when your motivation is high and you’re careening towards some big goals.

One speed bump that I’ve observed in newer girls (including myself) occurs when there’s a gap between the derby in your head and the derby in your body. There’s a sort of leapfrog effect between the two; you transition from freshmeat skills training to jams and scrimmages, but you don’t know what to do out there… your body knows the skating and hitting techniques on their own, but your head doesn’t know the game, and you falter unexpectedly.  And then you watch derby; you watch scrimmages and jams you’re not skating in, and you begin to make sense of it in your head.  You learn what you’re supposed to do, how to work with other people offensively or defensively, and how you can be effective out there. But again, you falter on the track, because your body still has to catch up, build muscle memory, learn how to hit a moving target. This is a constant learning process, as long as you keep working at it. Looking back it might seem like just a speed bump, but when you’re feeling stuck, it can seem like more of a deep rut.

Group dynamics and stress within the league also weigh on the brain and can affect your playing. It’s a part of every league, every group that you’ll ever belong to. No matter how well-run the league is, how much you love your derby sisters, there will always be politics at work, trying to pull you all apart. RESIST, at least while you’re on the track.  The other things going in your LIFE? (outside of derby!?) — resist those, too.  We generally do so well at leaving everything at the door of the rink, but how much actually remains in our head and/or body, distracting us from the game? The last thing you need is a speed bump at the track entrance. Continue to allow derby to be the place where everything else disappears.

I’ve been dealing with some back/hip pain for a while and I’ve been reluctant to get it fully checked out. My instincts tell me that I’m not going to get a definitive diagnosis, and though it’s significantly altering my workout routine, I’M MANAGING, THANKS.  My head wants to be running 3-4 days a week, to work on sprints in my boot camp classes.  But the body says no; no running, especially no sprinting, and easy on the walking, buddy. But skating is mostly ok… I can manage through a workout or scrimmage, tough it out just like all the other girls recovering from ankle or other injuries.  And hope that this is just a speed bump, and not my brick wall.

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