Roller Derby: The Great Humbler

John always quotes the wise and sage dog Jake from Adventure Time at me when I'm feeling down in the dumps about my derby skills, "Sucking at something is the first step to not sucking at something."

True story.

Who has two skates and has signed up for something that will kick me in the confidence more than she cares to admit to?

This girl!

Nothing in my life has caused me more moments of humility than playing roller derby. It's a constant source of being "knocked down a peg or twelve."

Sunday night, I cried after practice.

Yup. I did.

I had one of those practices where I wondered what the hell I was was even doing playing roller derby. Not every practice can be the best practice of your life. I know this. I've been playing roller derby long enough to know this very well. I've actually had two practices back in Winnipeg where I was such a hot mess I just took my gear off and went home. I had no right to be there. My  head wasn't in it, my heart wasn't in it and as far as I'm concerned that makes me an unsafe skater.

Sunday night wasn't that bad but I just couldn't get myself together for whatever reason. I fell coming out of a transition and landed on my ankle (I got really lucky there by the way, I've seen that exact fall break peoples ankles.) I was feeling tired and like I couldn't keep up. I was feeling out of my depth for the first time in a long time. I started to doubt myself. Why the hell was I training these girls if I couldn't keep myself together? Why should they trust me to train them if I can't even do a plank for a minute without wanting to die? And then there was the epic fall in front of my entire league and the guest trainer.

Source: Pinterest
John met me on my walk home from the bus stop I said I needed a hug and then immediately I started to cry. I retold the story of practice every harrowing detail. Every fall. Every moment of doubt. Every moment where I wanted to just give up. I actually uttered the words, "I don't why I'm even bothering."

John reminded me the only person that cares that I fell is me. The rest of the lovely ladies I skate with just care that I'm not hurt to badly. And I do it because I love it. And sometimes doing what we love humbles us to our core. He went on to ask me to name a derby girl who hasn't fallen in practice in front of everyone. I went on to name my derby heroes. Suzy Hotrod. Smack Daddy. Beyonslay. Smarty Pants. Bonnie Thunders. LuLuDemon. He assured me they all probably fell like I did too at some point.

Over and over and over again Roller Derby humbles me. Not just when I fall on my face either. Or when I have to say, "I don't know but I'll find out" when I'm asked a question. Not just when I am learning new things about the game or what I'm capable of. But when I'm talking to the new girls I'm training.

A few weeks ago I was having a crisis of Derby Faith. I was missing my league in Canada. I was missing members of derby family. I had watched my first bout DVD for the first time in forever and I was sitting there worried. Worried I wasn't fitting in with my new derby family (the little girl Tatiana who moved a lot growing up still lurks inside this 29 year old), I was worried my deep love for this game and this community was not getting across in a positive way. I was worried that my league mates thought I was a know it all prat. I was just worried. John went with me to practice that night because I was going to start teaching contact and he agreed to take some off skate hits.

One of the girls riding the train with us said tonight happened at just the right time. She was stressed out work, she had broken up with her boyfriend, and this practice and roller derby in general had came along at just the right time.

John elbowed me in the ribs. I knew what he was trying to say. The derby universe had just spoke to me in a very very big way. A very humbling way. Roller Derby was happening for others when they needed it most, just like it did for me in 2008.

Then Sunday night I was complaining on the train about being a hot mess and the lovely girl I was riding back to Bern with said that was probably her best practice yet. She's still very new and she was telling me how confident she felt. She was learning new things every time and she was feeling better about her skills every time. Humility was setting in. My hot mess practice is someone elses moment of win.

Okay, derbyverse, I hear you. I really do! I promise. I'll stop crying when I fall on my face and take it as a reminder that I can't be a rockstar all the time. I have to suck at something before I can not suck so much at something. I'll forgive myself for falling. I'll learn from it not wallow in it. I hear you LOUD and CLEAR derbyverse, I promise.


Jennie said…
I have never tried roller derby but I would probably cry a lot more then you! Keep going girl!
Thanks so much for linking up with us today!
I love that you quoted Jake from Adventure Time. As for roller derby - that is so awesome! I wish I had your courage to do it.
Sara Louise said…
It is beyond cool of you to be in roller derbies! So awesome.
Unknown said…
I think you are awesome. Everyone falls down, even the couch. As a relative newbie learning from someone who has been skating since 2005 it was good to see her fall! Made her seem more human and less intimidating to lil ol me that knew nothing about the sport. Just keep skating...just keep skating...just keep skating skating skating!

PS - You've been nominated.