Tag: comfort zone

Monday Motivation: Don’t Let the “What Ifs” Hold You Back

 

By Snack Attack

 

I’ll always look back and remember when I was a young girl, having birthday parties at Motion 26 or going to the Rollodrome. The ‘Drome was the place to be, especially on Friday nights. Some of my best memories were made there. The Rollodrome was the first place I was allowed to hang out with my friends unsupervised, cruising around on skates to The Ace of Base song “I Saw the Sign”. Ah, the first taste of freedom! I didn’t know any fancy moves and have always been quite the klutz. I wasn’t a skilled skater by any means- I couldn’t come to a stop without doing a few slow laps and eventually slamming into the wall before exiting the rink.

When I became a teenager my interests changed. My Friday nights were now being spent at the movies or the mall. My skates were left to collect dust.

I eventually was introduced to the world of Roller Derby. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but I do remember that it reminded me how much I enjoyed being on skates. I saw these women and was inspired. They were also pretty badass! I’d love to be a derby girl someday…

That someday kept getting further and further away from me. This was partly because life happened, but mostly it was due to a huge amount of fear and worry I had deep down. What if I can’t do this? What if I can’t skate like they can? What if I fall and break something? What if the derby members are not so welcoming? These “what ifs” were holding me back.

Years passed. I turned 30. I experienced several monumental changes. During this time I came to the realization that, if I want to accomplish a goal- as challenging it might be- I would have to put any fear I was harboring aside, give it my all and tackle it. 2018 was going to be my year I would embark on my Roller Derby goal.

I noticed on Facebook a new recruitment meeting, that read “Come see what Derby is all about.” I was no longer going to put this off because of my fears. I thought, what do I have to lose? I had known a few people that were already members of the Androscoggin Fallen Angels. Not going to lie, that gave me the extra nudge I needed to show up to this meeting. The room was filled with some players from The Inferno and members of the league. It was overwhelming. I did what I do best and just smiled, said “Hey how’s it going?” to anyone I made eye contact with. I was nervous, anxious, and also excited. The meeting started and I began to think “what have I gotten myself into!? This is going to be a huge challenge. Do I really want to do this? Can I do this? Will I fit in?”

One of the members said something at this meeting that has stuck with me. They said something along the lines of “I like you already” to everyone in attendance. Those few words were welcoming and comforting in this room of strangers. I left that evening still overwhelmed but looking forward to giving this a try.

I have attended several practices since that meeting. I’m so glad that I finally decided to pursue this by participating in the Derby 101 program. I have learned that this league is made up of some of the nicest, most charismatic people I have ever met. They want you to be a part of this league. They support you and want to see you succeed. Wherever this derby journey takes me,  I’m proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone. This is a league that has people from all different stages in life, different beliefs and backgrounds. A league that strives on positivity, growth, and empowerment. If you have had any hesitations or “what if’s” holding you back, I hope I can be your nudge to come check out derby.

I should also add that I can now stop several different ways on skates, and it doesn’t involve slamming into a wall!

Monday Motivation-Avoid the Bench Trap!

By Wild Violet

 

When I joined the Androscoggin Fallen Angels back in spring of 2016 I had no skating experience or athletic prowess to speak of. Sure, I do yoga once in a while and I am pretty flexible. But most of my time was spent sitting on my rump, making art or reading books. I never considered myself an “athlete”. I wanted to change that.

I saw a recruitment post on Facebook about the local roller derby league and attended an info session. While I sat there, observing their practice with info packet in hand, listening as the Angels told us about the league and what practices were like, I found myself wanting to jump right down off the balcony, strap on some skates, and join them. I filled out the paperwork, got my gear and insurance, and felt ready to roll.

A couple of weeks later I showed up for my very first practice, scared out of my mind and thinking to myself that I was insane for showing up and thinking I could do this. Looking around, I could see that I wasn’t the only brand new, “bambi-on-ice” skater. Several others were struggling to stay on their feet as well and I found that comforting. But as practice went on, it became clear that the years of roller skating I did as a kid were not going to translate into picking this derby skating stuff up quickly. This was friggin’ hard!

Practice after practice I showed up anyway. When we did the off-skates workouts, I huffed and puffed my way through. (Wait, what? Jogging!? Burpees!? Ugh, OK.) When it was time to lace up my skates and get out on the track for drills, I wobbled through every one. Yes, I did glance at the clock to see just how much longer I had to endure. I looked at that clock a LOT.

But what I didn’t do, the thing I avoided like the plague, was sit on the bench.

You see, on day one, as I drove myself to that first practice, I made a deal with myself. I agreed that unless I got injured, I was not going to sit my ass on the bench and watch. I wasn’t going to be a watcher anymore, I was going to be a doer. I knew I wasn’t going to be the best skater, I wasn’t going to be the strongest, the fastest, or the most agile. I knew from the get go that roller derby was going to take a lot of falling and failing on my part before I got good at it. But I also knew that I had to make it through that period of falling and failing, and I couldn’t do that while sitting down.

My personal rule was: You have to try everything and you can’t sit out.

And so, week after week, I went, I skated, and I improved. I eventually stopped huffing and puffing so much. I eventually stopped guffawing at the idea that I could be an athlete. I eventually stopped glancing at the clock every fifteen minutes.

And one magical day, the trainers called out that practice was over, and I found myself not only in disbelief that those two hours had flown by so fast, but also wishing that it wasn’t over and I didn’t have to take my skates off and go home. I was having so much fun that the desire to stop never popped up and I never had to remind myself of my personal rule.

Derby magic.

No, Derby Perseverance.

We all have different limitations and strengths. When we start something new, the person next to us might excel more quickly at it, and it may come to them more easily. In this case, it is tempting to tell oneself that we just aren’t cut out to do that thing, or that we aren’t ready. And that bench looks damn inviting. But the bench can become a habit.

It isn’t a bad place. I’ve had to sit there more than a few times when I’ve been healing a sprained knee or a pulled muscle. At those times the bench is a place to observe and do the mental work, learning by watching. The important thing is not to allow the bench to invite you to avoid pushing yourself out of your comfort zone enough to grow.

Julie Andrews said: “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”

In order to get to that 20th time, you have to push yourself through the first 19. And that means avoiding that bench.

 

Confession of a (Nearly) 50 Year Old Derby Girl: Living Out Of Control


One of the few things you can count on in life is that it will change, absolutely and without question. I like to say that I embrace the idea of change and I frequently seek change. But, I will also admit that I fight for control of change, and that is where my wheels usually come off.

I love to learn, and experience, and grow. But I don’t always grasp that it’s the things I can’t control that bring the most profound and valuable life experiences. I’m usually too busy trying to make them stop, or at least force them to submit to my will. Let me share how this might translate into derby life.

You decide to join a roller derby team which means you gotta learn how to skate. You strap eight tiny wheels to the feet that you have navigated for most of your life without conscious thought and then, well, you roll. Simple.

You envision that you’re going to glide smoothly across a glossy slick floor and go from point here to point there. And you’re going to do that in an upright and graceful state.

Suddenly, the feet, legs, butt, and arms that you routinely ignore as you push your cart down the grocery aisle or walk down the stairs are all in a panic, fighting for control. They yell at you to take charge, to use your brain to prevent them suffering some serious damage.

This is when you begin to realize two things simultaneously. A. You’re about to fail. And B. You hope like hell you don’t.

Fear driven determination kicks in and, with clenched fists and gritted teeth, you will yourself to stay vertical. After all, people are watching and your sense of self preservation and dignity is well developed and almighty.

You become acutely conscious of each action. You fight for control of everything. Toe stop down,  gingerly push. Roll forward. Teeter. Wobble. Accelerate. Make undignified whimper noises. Realize that starting was the easy part before you bend your knees, lean forward, wobble some more. Whimper louder and use your toe stop to try to stop. Hope you are actually stopping. Pirouette around toe stop and manage to keep your balance before coming to a tenuous stop. The trainer blows her whistle signaling to everyone to gather around her. Teeter. Thank goodness you happen to be stopped in the right place. Heave a sigh of relief as you stand, vertical status intact, and take a quick glance around at the cluster of women who have all just danced the same dance as you, aaaaand…

Wham! Suddenly, you’re looking up at the legs and butts of those same women. You never even felt it coming. Those sneaky, greasy, lowdown, $@&#% wheels slipped skyward and you found yourself instantly on your ass. You were just standing there, minding your own business and now you’re sprawled on the floor like your drunk Aunt Mitzi at every family wedding. But that’s not all. You’re about to have a derby lesson about the illusion of control.

First, you haven’t experienced that kind of pain on your backside since you fell off the monkey bars in third grade. Second, you may or may not be able to breathe. Third, various body parts are calling you ugly names. But, the worst, most mortifying thing of all, is your timid, wallflower bladder is cowering “Sorry, guys. I just couldn’t hold it!” Are you serious?

Now you have a decision to make about your so called control. You can unlace your skates and hightail it to the ladies and do some bladder damage control. You can pull up your hoodie, throw on your Foster Grants, grab your gear and control yourself right out the back door.

Or, you can stand up, own your uncomfortably moist situation, and make a mental note to be prepared for future episodes of derby PMS (Peed MySelf).

You can accept that falling happens, that eventually you’re going to get hit, and that it’s probably going to hurt. You can decide to look forward to your first derby kiss and hope that it’s a lovely dark purple so you can show all your friends how badass you are. You can decide that it’s okay that you’re not in control. Yet.

Falling on your ass hurts. It’s a complete and utter lack of control. It’s humiliating, but the first time is the worst. It does get better. But if you embrace the pain and the failure you’ll be rewarded with something priceless that comes from inside you.

Falling means you’re pushing, you’re persisting, you’re persevering. It means you’re finding the thrill of the skill every 

time you push yourself off the floor. It means that soon you’ll know what it feels like when you skim over the floor. You will know the feel cool air on your hot, salty face as you push to do your 27/5. You’ll get to feel a body buzz when you nail a killer turn around toe stop in your new, powerful and (dry) upright derby stance. No one can give that to you but you. And no one can take it away.

Life has a way of throwing some pretty brutal hits. You can be standing there minding your own business and then, without warning, you’re on your ass, and it hurts like hell and you wonder “What the hell just happened?” Maybe you need to take the bench, catch your breath, and pull yourself together. You can even hit the ladies to change your shorts. But, then you have to decide, are you going to sneak out the back door, play it safe, try and get control of the uncontrollable? Or are you going to get back up, live out of control and skate?

Workshop Review: Sparks goes to the New Skids on the Block Bootcamp

 

Derby has its own language. That’s probably true for most sports. But I’ve never played a team sport before. I’d also never been to a sports bootcamp before. So I didn’t realize that all of my nerves and doubts would fade into the background as soon as the brace put her hand on my shoulder and we sunk low into the tripod. We were learning new things, but I knew what to do right there in that spot, just then.

 

It didn’t quite start out that way, of course. About 300 times after I signed up for the Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block Bootcamp,  I thought “what in the world are you thinking, Sparks? You passed MSRs 4 months ago. You been in 1 ½ bouts. You’re gonna go out there and juke with Miracle Whips or block with Surgical Strike?” Apparently, I was.

 

So, I got myself to Montreal, up bright and early Saturday morning, and went straight to the wrong building. When I finally figured out where I was supposed to be, the locker room was full of people I didn’t know all squished together trying to put on gear with no arm room at all. But I knew they were all derby players and, therefore, my people. I smiled and someone squeezed over even farther to give me a place to sit. Everyone was nervous, I could hear it in the conversations I could understand (a lot were in French, which I could not), I could see it in the way people were having more trouble than usual getting their skates tied just right.

 

We all trooped out there and got instructions for warms ups. Warm ups are nearly universal, they felt like a sweaty but comfortable t-shirt.  And then the first partner drill–but in the language of derby, eye-contact, a raised eyebrow, and maybe a quick point-at-you-point-at-me is usually enough to get a partner. And even in this mixed company, it was still enough.

 

You don’t even have to speak the same language as your partner to laugh together when your elbow pads stick to each other as you are trying to seam up. Or when you trip again trying to skate backwards on the oddly sticky floor. It’s all just derby.

 

I left the 2-day clinic with a lot of new ideas on how to improve my skills and gameplay, but more importantly with a larger view of this derby community of which I am now a part. It’s vast, and growing every day. We all have things to teach each other, so talk derby to me.