Archive for the ‘Roller Derby’ Category

That Roller Derby Thing

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Fraidy Pain Wall
Photo by James Korn

When last we talked about that roller derby thing, I was expressing some dissatisfaction about how my journey was going. I received a lot of great support after sharing that particular blog post. There are only two comments on it, but I also received several in private. The most common theme was, “this is completely normal” and “you’re not alone.” Since “roller derby disillusionment” is one of the top search terms that now sends people to this blog, I’d say “you are not alone” is definitely an accurate assessment of the situation.

The thing is, roller derby tends to be something that you pour your whole self into. When you first start playing, it’s this new shiny thing that you hold up on a pedestal. Everything about it is so exciting and amazing… you’re learning so much about your abilities and discovering that you are capable of so much more than you ever dreamed! And then, things start to crack around the edges. Maybe it’s the first time that a brand new skater comes in that was practically born on skates and whizzes past you while performing a skill that you’ve worked on for months, but still don’t quite have down. Maybe it’s the first time someone gets the spot on the roster you thought you should have had. Maybe it’s the first time you get wind of some interpersonal drama that you were previously oblivious to. Whatever it is, the crack appears, and it spreads into your line of vision. Eventually, it becomes all you can see if you let it. You start to wonder why you bother, and if the trouble is worth everything that you put into it.

For me, I was frustrated, but I knew I wasn’t ready to give it up. I haven’t gotten everything I want out of roller derby yet. As in life, you can only change that which is in your control. But really, just deciding that I wasn’t going anywhere made the biggest difference. It meant returning to working hard instead of just kind of going through the motions because I didn’t know why I should bother anymore. I contacted the coach that I’d spent the most time working with and asked for feedback on how I was playing and what I could work on. He spent a day or so thinking about it, and sent me back a response. Nothing on it surprised me, and adding it to a few things I had on my own, I had a list of things to focus on. I wrote it on a post-it note, and left it by my computer where I would see it often.


After that, I set up a meeting with the team coach and captain that were setting the rosters to find out why they were choosing not to roster me. I can’t say that it was my most favorite meeting ever, and I can’t say that I agreed with all of their reasoning or everything they had to say. But at the same time, I couldn’t necessarily disagree with it either. As they say, perception is reality, so whether I agreed or not, at least I had something fairly concrete to work on. I’ve put my head down and kept working, and gradually things have improved. They certainly aren’t perfect… one of my closest friends on the league is in the same spot now that I was in when I accused roller derby of being a bad boyfriend in January, and that breaks my heart just as much as when I was there.

After all these conversations, and shift in my focus, I did finally make a roster. Yay! In April, we had a rematch with Lafayette, and we won! I got to play in 8 whole jams. :) It felt really good… and I didn’t go out there and suck it up either, haha! There were some really great moments like where I swept sideways on turn 4, and removed two blockers that had been pestering my jammer. Or pushed their jammer out of bounds behind the pack on turn 1. I got a lot of great feedback from the coaches and my team that night… though I didn’t know whether to be grateful they noticed, or a little offended that they seemed so surprised. 😉 We have two bouts remaining in our first season, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been rostered for both of them!

The roster is great, but honestly the main difference between now and January is that I know what I want, I have goals for the off-season and next season, and I decided that I’m not going to let any frustrations prevent me from going after what I want.

Roller Derby is a Bad Boyfriend

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012


Honestly, I’ve been debating whether to write this or not. Time stretches longer and longer between updates on this blog, and a lot of the reason is because most of my life outside of work centers around derby. And to be honest, I become more and more disillusioned with derby as the days go by. It feels like roller derby is a bad boyfriend. You know the one I’m talking about– he uses you, and doesn’t treat you all that well when you really think about it, but you love him and you remember how good things used to be so you stay anyway. Yeah… it’s kind of like that.

It’s a little weird to talk about. I usually confide in a few trusted people and outwardly pretend like everything is fine. But that’s not very genuine (or Jennuine) and anyone who knows me knows that I just don’t have it in me to fake it for very long. I’ve hit that wall, and so here it is: I’m not happy. It started with a lot of people– my support system– leaving the league for various reasons because they were unhappy. Its culminated in not being even rostered as an alternate for the only two bouts this season that I have been eligible. I’m hurt, I’m frustrated, and I don’t understand what the hell I’m doing wrong.

I wish I could wrap this all up with a nice sunshiny, happy conclusion, but I don’t have one. I wrote this whole post while mopping up huge crocodile tears. I wish I knew what to do. I am not ready to give this thing up, but I’ve also had way more “why the hell do I bother?” moments lately than I’m comfortable with. And I don’t know how to fix it.

Happy Father’s Day!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

College Graduation

My dad moved to Oklahoma last weekend, so I didn’t get to spend the day with him today. Still, in honor of the occasion, here is a picture of the two of us when I graduated college 6 years ago!

I had a good and busy weekend! Friday I called my dad’s mom and asked her what she was doing for dinner, so we headed to Texas Roadhouse. Mmm…

Saturday morning, I got up and decided to join some of the derby girls at the rink for lessons. After a snack and a shower, some of us headed north to Kalamazoo to watch the Killamazoo Derby Darlins take on the Naptown Warning Belles. It was a super exciting bout, and a good time was had by all!

This morning was a scrimmage practice and it kicked my booty! We tend to have a lower attendance on Sundays so we do very short scrimmages, if any at all. But we had a very experienced ref from another league in town so we scrimmaged pretty much the whole practice. We were playing 8 on 8, so there were not very many opportunities to rest! I left there and went to Chipotle to grab lunch… and I had to try twice to open the door to the restaurant because I was so tired and the door was heavier than I expected! lol No need for panic drug treatment centers, it was just me being plain old WORN OUT.

I was pretty useless for the rest of the day… I did get a load of laundry done (it was a desperate situation), and made chicken salad for lunches this week, but mostly I’ve lounged on the couch all day watching Dexter. And I called my daddy to say Happy Father’s Day, of course! :)

A Month of Derby

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I did not post here the entire month of May! That month was full to the brim of derby, and I was way too busy looking at bout pictures on Facebook to come post about it. 😉 Bout pictures make me happy. And they’re about the only pictures that never send me looking for the best cellulite treatment. Derby is empowering, y’all. Anyway… the month o’ derby started with a home bout for our league’s local teams.

MAYday Michiana, May 6, 2011
SBRG: The Lake Effect vs. The Bonnie Dooms

pain vs vicious

This bout was… interesting. I won’t go into all the details, but this bout was not without its drama. A couple of league skaters were dismissed in the weeks leading up to this bout, and on bout day a few skaters from both teams pulled themselves from the roster for various reasons. Both teams went into the bout with shaken up rosters and morale. But the first whistle blew, and everyone put the drama behind them to skate their butts off and put on a good show for our audience.

Early in the second half of this bout, I took a really hard fall and hurt my back. Being the wonderful team player that I am, I skated the rest of the bout anyway! (Yes, I’m on the medical committee and frequently tell people not to skate while injured…. bout vs. practice, do as I say not as I do, etc…) In fact, once everything was said and done, I was fairly convinced that I’d cracked a rib. Some ice and some painkillers later though, and everything was feeling much better by morning.

Final score: Bonnie Dooms 111, Lake Effect 98

Spring Roll!, May 14, 2011
SBRG Studebreakers vs. FWDG SWAT team and SBRG Studebreakers vs PVRD Weapons of Mass Destruction


The following weekend found us in Fort Wayne for the Spring Roll tournament! In the picture above, I’m number 75 on the left, holding a wall with my teammate, Gore Gore Bordella. We skated two bouts this day… the first was at the lovely early time of 8am against Ft. Wayne’s SWAT team. It was a rough one for me… In the first half, I spent some time behind a wall of Ft. Wayne girls– what we call being the goat. And being the goat SUCKS. In the second half, due to some decisions by the coaches, miscommunications, stars aligning, what have you… I ended up skating in only one jam. So I spent most of that half of the bout getting upset that I was obviously (in my mind) sucking so bad that I wasn’t even allowed to play. Yeaaahhh… not fun. And since my emotions are hard wired to my tear ducts. A fun 30-40 minutes of calming down after that bout ensued. Final Score: FWDG 175, SBRG 105

Then we had a looong break, getting lunch, watching juniors and men’s derby play and then we went up against Pioneer Valley’s women’s team at 5:30 pm. It was a penalty heavy bout for our team, and I really think we could have won this game if we could have kept our girls on the track. There was at least one occasion where it was all 5 of their skaters on the track for PVRD… aaaaand just me for SBRG. HA! That was fun. Cough. But these ladies were super sweet, and fun to play. After that jam of me vs. all of them, they said sorry for picking on me and complimented my attempts to break free. A lot of my teammates were really frustrated, but I think I used up my quota of upset for the day after bout one, so I just had a good time with bout two even though we didn’t win in the end. Final score: PVRD 139, SBRG 100

And last but not least for the month of May, we headed down to Lafayette for MayDay Mayhem, May 21, 2011
South Bend Studebreakers vs. Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls


I don’t know what to say about this bout except it was just FUN. We turned out to be really evenly matched with the LBD girls, and this bout was a fight down to the end. There were plenty of lead changes and ties to go around, but when the final whistle sounded, SBRG was ahead by 11 points. It’s always fun to play, but I gotta tell ya… winning feels good :)

We had such a good time playing Lafayette though, I would have still had just as much fun if the score had come out the other way around. They were great to play AND hang out with at the after party! Definitely looking forward to a rematch with these ladies at some point in the future.

Final Score: SBRG 88, LBD 77

Then we rounded out the month of May with derby break: a much needed week without practices, most of which I spent on my couch watching Netflix, eating candy, and finally cleaning my apartment before it was officially labeled a biohazard. So there you are… kind of long, but that’s what I was up to for the last month I wasn’t writing!

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