Sunday, March 29, 2015

Merit Badges of Derby Doom!

I was driving through the neighborhood the other day and saw a gaggle (flock? swarm? huddle?) of Girl Scouts doing some community service project and it got me thinking about derby. I mean, what doesn't get me thinking about derby at this point in my life? Anyway, I started thinking about all of the merit badges the Scout organizations have for people to earn and then I started thinking about the anti-merit badges people seem hell bent on earning in derby. Remember, you do NOT want to earn these merit badges!

1. Eye rolling merit badge- Congratulations! You have earned the eye rolling merit badge! Your eye rolls are amazing, especially when the coaches try to introduce a new skill or strategy. Your eye rolling is magnificent when you instantly reject feedback, so you have rightfully earned this badge for your sash! Wear it proudly, and try not to get dizzy.

2. Consistently the last person to get geared up merit badge- My oh my, you are dedicated dawdler if you earned this badge! Your determination to be the last skater on the floor has not gone unnoticed by your captains and coaches.  They can tell you are really in for the long haul on this one! Just sit there and admire this merit badge while the rest of your team is warming up.

3. I'm not trying that hard merit badge- You definitely have the right attitude for this badge! Don't try your hardest at practice; you might not do as well as you think you can, and you must save face no matter what.  Effort is for suckers, right?

4. I'm sitting out of endurance because, I can merit badge- Oh you, you're so amazing during scrimmage, but when somebody even mentions the word "endurance" you're sitting down and taking your gear off. Why bother with endurance, you skate ok, right?

5. It's all about me me me merit badge- Me me me me me! Let me sing the song of my people! MEEEEEEE! Did you see what I did there? Look at how awesome that block I made was! What do you mean my wall was good...did you see what I did?

6. The cameo merit badge- Hey, why go to practice when you're awesome? The rest of your team needs to the practice, not you! Who cares if they can get better with you being there; that's not your problem, right?

7. Refuse to change merit badge- This is how you've always played derby, and anyone who gives you feedback be damned! You've been playing derby for x amount of years, and how dare someone tell you how to play this sport you've been owning! Learning new strategies is for chumps.

8. Creating drama merit badge- This badge signifies your artistry in creating drama where there originally was none! Creation is the highest achievement in human existence, and drama is one of the noble pursuits. Derby isn't fun without drama, so we're lucky to have you!

Yes, I could have gone on forever, but the point is not to want to earn one of these merit badges of doom. Derby can be tough enough without being that kind of teammate.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

what your helmet choices say about you (not serious)

Most of the time when I write about helmets, I drag out my soap box, get my megaphone charged, and shout about head injuries until I'm hoarse. But today, I'm going to psychoanalyze you by what helmet you wear; after being in derby for seven years, I can tell you that the color and type of helmet you choose for yourself tells me all about you.

Ok, not really, but it's fun. Two things, this is done for fun, and if your team skates with a certain color of helmet, that doesn't count. It has to be the helmet you're drawn to without team alliances impacting you.

So here we go.

White helmets: You probably see yourself as the good guy, and you want other people to see you that way too. White helmets, you need to not worry about what other people think of you so much. By the way, you should call your parents. They're worried about you playing derby, and they'd love to hear from you.

Purple Helmets: Perverts. Nothing more needs to be said.

Blue Helmets: You like to dance to the beat of your own drummer, and sometimes brush your teeth in the shower. If you are a ref who wears a blue helmet by choice, you're probably in your first or second year of reffing; you've got long way to go, baby.

Pink Helmets:  My bet is you're a Lisa Frank fan and probably laugh at fart jokes. You wear pink because you're making a stand that pink can be tough too, even though everyone else hate your stand and your pink helmet. Your coach makes you be the pivot just so she can cover up your helmet. Go stand next to the purple helmets.

Green Helmets: All people who choose to wear green helmets are insane. The brighter the green, the more cuckoo you absolutely are. If you are drawn to dark green helmets, you're just a little crazy...like you maybe have too many cats, and if you're wearing a neon green helmet, you probably want to be a cat. You also probably like to jam. (crazypants)
Look at those control freaks and the crazy helmet.

Red Helmets: You are a secret poet who writes long and moody odes to your derby blisters. You'd rather read a book in bed than scroll through Facebook. All people who wear red helmets are closeted control freaks. Don't hide in the closet anymore, we all know your dirty little secret,  bossy pants.

Brown Helmets: You are the anti Elvis and the anti-unicorn. Your favorite food is tacos and for fun, you play naked croquet at midnight with your neighbors. You probably love blocking one on one and your favorite sound in the world is a crunchy plow stop.

Yellow Helmets: Oh my, you are a special little snowflake, aren't you? You love the spotlight, and are known to break out into the song "Everything is Awesome" while waiting for a jam to start. You worry a lot about dental health and really wonder if you shouldn't floss more. You love to flash your winning smile when you're lead jammer.

Multicolor or patterned Helmets: We didn't want to tell you this, but everyone is sick of your knock knock jokes in the locker room. Also, your impression of Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own, is tired, so so tired. Multicolor helmet wearers are capable of playing every position on the track, but they are drawn to the outside for some reason. Also, they tend to be hoarders of derby gear. Throw out those four year old mouth guards, and maybe you'll have more room in your gear bag.

Black helmets: Black is the basic girl helmet color. You like pumpkin latte spiced coffee, yoga pants, and selfies. It's ok, go back to your Pinterest account and skip the rest of this article; you'll feel better. I'm sure there is a Buzzfeed quiz for you to take out there.

Hey, this was done in good fun, and I hope I made some of you chuckle. I've worn several different helmets in derby, and now am sporting a black hockey helmet. I don't care what color it is that you decide to wear, as long as it is a protective one. Remember, you need to have a functioning brain to be able to appreciate silly humor.















Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shit you should never say (or email) to your captains and coaches.

 We all say and do silly things at times in derby. I've been told by a few players that "they didn't get
Coaches should be hugged. Photo by A Boy Named Tsunami
into derby to think." Honestly, I totally understand that sentiment, because sometimes I don't want to think much either. Sometimes I just want to be a brute brute brute and not worry about strategy, game plans and social niceties. Thinking is so so hard. Unfortunately, when we don't think about what we say to coaches, we're setting ourselves up either piss them off, or make them feel like you don't care about the effort they're putting in to make practices successful. Do we try and say these things on purpose? Probably not, but as a captain and training director, I've heard my fill of the following statements. Try to avoid them at all costs!

1. Never email a coach and ask "Are we doing anything important at practice tonight? If we aren't, I might stay home because I've been really busy....blah blah blah." If you email this to your coaches and captains, the only reaction you should expect is serious eye rolling. I really have never met a coach or a captain that believes any practice they planned are unimportant. How would you like to be in charge of an event and have one of the participants say "Is this really worth it?" I'm pretty sure you would find it pretty insulting. Coaches are volunteers, and they're there to help the league get better; don't make them feel like they're wasting their time.

2. "I can't" What coaches and captains hear is "I won't" or "I'm scared" or "I don't want to take a risk." Recently at the Team North Carolina tryouts, one of the coaches made the entire group do fifteen push ups because someone said the "C" word, the C word being "I can't." We throw that phrase around a lot in derby; I can't jam, I can't do endurance right now, I can't block like that, and I can't cross train. Try to not verbalize the "I can't" when you're working on your sport, and focus more on the "I will."

3. "I don't think this drill is relevant" before trying it. Ah derby players, we're so very very strong minded and opinionated. Sometimes we think we know it all, especially when we've been playing derby for more than a few years. We get into a mindset that we have such limited time to practice, or even play this sport, that we don't want to waste any of it. Maybe we should be more open-minded and have faith that our coaches have really worked at creating a drill that is beneficial. I mean, at least TRY it first. Maybe it won't be the best and most perfect drill ever, but drills evolve through tweaking; if you don't give a drill a chance, how do you know if it sucks or not?

4. I didn't give this drill 100%." The only thing that makes this more annoying is when someone says it and then basically laughs about it. I know that we have defensive coping mechanisms built in, but it really can make a coach feel like you're not trying hard because you don't care, instead of not trying your best because you're afraid to fail.

5."I know!" When a coach is giving you feedback, and instead of accepting the feedback, you say "I know!" We don't like to accept feedback, especially when it is about something we're doing that isn't perfect. We want to let our coaches know we know that we're STILL doing it wrong, but what we think of as acknowledging feedback actually sounds like we're dismissing it.

6. I can't jam. GUILTY OF THIS ONE! I used to be a jammer, a long long time ago, but alas, I don't think my skill set works as a jammer with this rule set. When anyone says "I don't jam" what it usually means is "I'm not your best choice for this position" or "hey coach, how badly do you want to win this game/scrimmage/jam?" Sometimes coaches want to see what you can do, sometimes coaches want to see what walls do against you, and every once in a while a coach has run out of willing jammers and is desperately trying to get someone, ANYONE out to jam. Don't leave your coach in the lurch, as one of my favorite skater coaches used to say, "you can do anything for two minutes."


Sunday, March 1, 2015

An appeal for advice about returning from an injury

Derby causes injuries, and it's not always an easy or realistic thing for someone to expect to come back to this sport without anxiety. This anonymous poster has reached out to me to ask the derby community for advice. I think we all could spend some time pondering injuries, because our chances of being injured in this sport are pretty high. Recently, I broke a bone in my hand during a bout, and even though it was a minor injury compared to some, I felt vulnerable and mortal. I debated whether my hand injury was a gentle nudge from fate that it was time to wrap up my skating career. I'm still skating, for now, but major injuries do throw us for a loop. If you have any advice or a story to share, please post in the comments below.



Advice for Post-Injury Anxiety- by Anonymous

I am interested in feedback from the derby community - maybe we have skaters with an advanced understanding of psychology that can offer more details on this subject. I’m willing to take all the input I can get. First a little background…

I have returned from derby after a 2nd lower leg injury. Both injuries were freak accidents, like most roller derby injuries. I’ve watched a few people come back from similar injuries. In some ways, the physical healing of a 2nd ankle was easier with experience. With each break, I went through two surgeries, managed to keep my job, did a full course of PT, worked hard and came back when I knew my body was as ready as it was going to ever be. I’ve found there’s a period of relearning to trust your body, and that can be very challenging. The first time I injured myself, I was fairly new to derby and the return was a long process but in a good way - I had a long time of scrimmaging and conditioning before I bouted. I was confidently charging at goals without a second thought, but bouted only a few times before injuring the opposite leg at practice when someone fell across my leg. I never considered for a second it would happen again, to me.

The mental process is throwing me for a loop this time around. I trust my body and skills much less, even with plenty of support, feedback, and some skills intact.  I am again cleared to bout in a comparatively short period of time, and the reality is I need to polish up on some basic skills, form, and endurance. This is manageable, but it’s hard to focus and gain momentum. I am so haunted. I’ve had a life time of athletic injuries and I’ve never felt so affected. I’ve usually been able to get on the floor and work it out, and was in the process of doing just that, finding some pleasure in feeling like I could improve with each and every practice. I witnessed someone get hurt recently and I have had a hard time shaking the memory. The thought of following in her footsteps and earning a third break creeps in to casual thoughts throughout my day - whether I’m standing, moving, or sitting. I look at my gym bag, skate bag, whatever, and my chest clenches up with anxiety, down a spiral of what-if scenarios.  Progress in skills can’t keep away fluke accidents, and suddenly reasoning also sounds like bargaining to allow myself to continue playing a sport I love when I can strike all this internal drama. Someone else getting hurt has no bearing on my own health and future. But it’s like your own worst nightmare staring in to your face - one I lived through twice before. Just writing this copy has been enough to make me feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest.

How do I get past this?

I am seeking therapy, but I’m also interested in the perspective from the derby community, because it’s hard to find a therapist that gets it. It’s not easy to talk to people, I don’t want to appear compromised to teammates, and we all have our own shit going on. But those closest to me do know I’ve got something going on, despite the game face. I’ve never been a fraidy cat, and that is disorienting in itself. But now everything feels fragile. I mean, going to the gym or stepping down off a curb can inspire doubt, and I’ve been upright and mobile for six months, fully functional. And maybe talking about this, asking some of the tough questions, will help someone else, too.

I have been pretty much terrified of life for the last month or so, with my own nightmares creeping in to my waking thoughts almost constantly. I've tried to skate it off. I've tried to hibernate it off. I don’t want to go through life like this much less skate like this - and it’s creeping in to other areas of life. I'm running out of ideas. So, derby people, what would you recommend? Can anyone relate?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Resisting Feedback

I've seen this happen over and over again throughout my years in derby, and it always baffles me. Coaches give a player feedback, and he or she decides that the feedback isn't valid to her specifically, or that the coach doesn't know what she's talking about, or that she knows better than the coach. I realize that not every coach knows the answer to every issue on the track, but feedback is a necessary evil in any sport, and if you're resistant to feedback, you're not going to go very far.
Photo by A Boy Named Tsunami

All skaters, at some point, have received feedback that they don't agree with. I've been told by a couple of old school skaters that I would never make it in derby, and yet here I am starting my seventh season. Of course you're going to get feedback that isn't accurate, but most coaches will try to give you the best feedback to make you a better skater. How do you figure out what feedback to ignore, and what feedback to accept?

1. Consider the source.  Like I mentioned, the old school derby skaters didn't give me positive feedback. They didn't think I was tough enough and I didn't match their idea of a derby girl. Even though their feedback wasn't relevant, I did learn something from them. I learned that some people have preconceived notions of what roller derby athletes should look like, or act like. I also learned that when someone tells me I can't do something, I'm going to prove them wrong. When you're given feedback, you have to consider why the person has said what she's said. Is she coming from a helpful place? Does she have an agenda? If she does have an agenda, is it a positive one, or does she have an axe to grind? (And yes, all of those pronouns could have been "he" just as easily.)

2. Check your ego. Is someone telling you something you don't want to hear? Chances are, you're going to get some feedback that isn't going to be glowing. We don't improve if we only hear positive things about ourselves; it's not fun to be corrected when we're working so hard at our sport. Even though I'm not hyped about getting some correction to what I'm doing on the track, I'd rather hear it from my coaches, than hear it from the refs, calling me on a penalty.

3. Listen to the broken record. There are some universal truths in roller derby. You should be getting lower, you should be practicing how you'll play in a game, and you should be working on your basic skating skills. Some feedback is always right, and even if you're sick of hearing this kind of feedback, it's relevant! You can try to rationalize why your skating style runs contrary to known ideals, but you're really just wasting your own time and development as a skater. There's a reason you're hearing the same feedback over and over again.

4. Are you capable of evaluating yourself? Being able to self evaluate is an extremely important skill; you have to be able to practice it to be good at it. Can you really sit down with yourself and figure out what you're good at, and what you need to work on? It might be harder than you think. We don't get a lot of training in our world to learn how to self evaluate; teachers grade us, bosses promote us, and coaches give feedback. Some jobs ask for self evaluations once a year; we've all experienced how uncomfortable that can make us. Once a year isn't enough practice on something to make us good at it. Learn to self evaluate, and you will go far in life in general.

5. Learn from all feedback. You can always learn something from feedback; either you learn something about the person giving feedback, or about yourself. How do you take feedback? Are you instantly on the defensive? Are you capable of evaluating the feedback itself? Can you sift through the feedback and find the pure nuggets of gold that you can follow? If you can find the best parts from the feedback people give you, you will improve in derby.

Period.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Battle of the Allstars II, what I learned.

This is a story of a rag tag team of misfits who banded together, in spite of hospitalizations, emergency surgery, stomach bugs and unexpected trips out of the country, came to Pennsylvania and surprised a lot of people in the derby community.

We all fit in here.
Housing
Footie Pajamas.
Betty Switch's mom hosted the entire team, plus coaches, in her house. I think there were about twelve people sprawled out in the basement, while a few luckier folks got to crash in a bedroom upstairs. Switch's mom was a gracious host, who greeted us every morning with freshly made muffins. Who could hate that? Was it a bonding experience to eat with, sleep and breathe my teammates for 72 hours? Absolutely. I think it helped cement us as a team, especially since we were all from such different parts of NC and didn't have many scrimmages together to prepare for the tournament. You can learn so much about people when you're crammed in a space together; who knew that Tutu La Rue wore footie pajamas! Two investments helped make staying in the basement with so many people comfortable: I had a kick ass air mattress, and I had heavy duty ear plugs.

Venue and host league
They venue was small, but I think it was the right size for the tournament. Everything felt really cozy and intimate; the crowd was very present. We could hear just about every cheer, boo and conversation when we were playing. The floor, sport court, was a little sticky and slow, but for the most part, we adapted. Going in and out of the hockey benches was interesting and reminded me of the time the Carolina Bootleggers played Dutchland at their hockey venue.

I have to give the Bux- Mont Roller Derby Dolls, who hosted the whole shebang, a serious shout out. Our handlers were awesome, and really responsive! We had access to water, snacks, and multiple
Princess ended up with V-Diva's eyelashes on her skate
band-aids. For Team NC, who actually shut down our bout with the PA Allstars due to one of our players bleeding all over the damned track, band-aids were a premium. After the blood on the track, the stomach bug we passed around, the vomiting on the bench, I dubbed our team "Team Bodily Fluids." We really were a mess, and I am surprised that we survived the weekend. Oh yes, just a reminder to all the leagues out there; always have a bleach solution ready to go just in case someone bleeds all over the track.

Games
Team NC came into the tournament in eighth and we left ranked sixth. Because we lost our second game to the PA Allstars, we were knocked into the loser bracket. By Sunday, at eleven, we had played six games. The last game was between us and Michigan, and even though it was so close (seven points) I was a bit relieved that we didn't have to play a seventh game in three days.  Most of our players were throwing up on the bench; I spent a great deal of my off track time leaning over a garbage can, trying not to toss my cookies on the track.


People Watching
It was great to walk in and see some amazing folks there. I ran into Slack Kerowhack, Lady Quebeaum, and Jason Singer, which was super awesome because I rarely get to see any of those people in meat space. Facebook is great, but I love being able to actually have a conversation with someone without typos. I also loved people-watching in general. Oh hai Team New York, how you doin'? No, I didn't stalk anyone, but yes, I watched some people. Because the venue was so small, it was easy to see everyone who was there.

Final Thoughts
If given the opportunity, I would totally play in this tournament again. It was a great experience, and maybe next time Team NC won't be the recipient of the Biblical plagues. I hope this tournament continues to grow and provide more states with the opportunity to send an allstar team. Between this and State Wars last year, I think we're going to see more and more opportunities like this.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Looking back on the impact derby had on my life, by LaLa Lebow


 Derby permeates our lives, and we learn so many good and terrible lessons from it. La La Lebow shared a blog entry with me in 2014, but she had more to say on the subject. Here are her musings about her retirement and what derby has taught her.


Earlier this year I wrote a pretty powerful recollection of my journey through Roller Derby. I wrote it as anonymous because I didn’t want to attract attention. Well that epically failed some read it and instantly knew it was me. Some of those that voiced their opinion had been by my side when I took that journey some of them were the ones I butted heads with etc. The point of the article was not to point fingers or cause a giant crap storm but you know how that goes. You can’t control people’s feelings and their opinions. I was also in a pretty dark place mentally and emotionally when I wrote that. I had just lost my job I had for over two years and was dealing with severe mental and emotional anguish. Now I am much better and a much different person. Honestly nothing anyone can say or do will bother me because it can’t affect me unless I let it.

I got mixed reactions before which was something I expected, but I don’t think I thought about how strong some of them were going to be. Some people were hurt and angry others were down right shocked and surprised. Then there were the ones who took a step back and said ‘Yes I see where you were going with this. You wrote what some of us have felt at one time or another.’ I have talked to former rivals and teammates and gotten one opinion or another and I’ve taken it in stride and withstood the brunt of some pretty strong opinions, but that’s a good thing. I wrote that article a while ago before it was even posted. For years writing has been a tool through which I search through my emotions and help clear them out. Sometimes you get so much going on inside of you there has to be an outlet. Everyone expresses differently I chose writing years ago.
 

All of that being said I have no regrets for writing that article. None whatsoever, but I would be lying if I said the comments and remarks made didn’t hurt me. However, I’ve come to the conclusion just as I wrote how I felt every one of you has every right to express yourself as how you see fit. It is ridiculously freeing and almost euphoric to take your keyboard and just blast your thoughts. It can be a bit dangerous sometimes and not have quite the outcome you thought it would.

Putting out that article made me do a lot of reminiscing and thinking about derby. There were many times I sat down and just thought and some nights where I had dreams I was on the pivot or the jammer line again. Other moments I would get in my car and my gear bag that stayed in my hatch would permeate with its ever present stink and I would tear up. Then of course there was the article of Gotham dominating a certain team, or a local teammate getting MVP, and even my old teams posting pictures of current bouts and my heart would ache.

I started thinking yes derby gave me a lot of moments I wasn’t proud of but it also gave so many more moments where I was. Despite the previous article there were moments of elation and achievement. There moments where I was on such a high that I thought I could conquer the world. In writing this second part I have finally come full circle with my feelings and my journey.

In the previous blog entry I spoke of a death in my family, well there were three deaths in my family actually back to back in two months. I am not putting this out there to try to ask for sympathy it’s an important event in how I started this final leg of the journey and where my emotions culminated from. I was also given an ultimatum by healthcare providers about my knees the inflammation I’ve had for thirteen years has gotten to the point where there are days I don’t walk without a limp. You can also sometimes hear me coming before you even see me because the cartilage crackles and rattles in my knees. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration about hearing me before you see me but there are moments when I kneel and stand that when my legs straighten it sounds like dry wood cracking. Surgery on both knees is in my future, along with a possible knee replacement. I also have tendonitis in my shoulder and a heel spur in my left foot with collapsed arches. All of this didn’t come from derby; please don’t think it did, but derby did put the icing on the proverbial cake so to speak. I have been involved in contact sports since I was seven years old. I’m twenty-eight now so a little over 21 years that is HELL one one’s body. I’ve had two corrective major surgeries on one knee already not looking forwards to any time soon having anymore if I can help it. When you start feeling like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and ibuprofen and icy hot are just putting a band-aid on things, and more than one health practitioner tells you point blank to STOP, you kind of re evaluate things. Every hit hurts as you all know, but when you can’t even take a fall on one knee with it taking more than a few seconds to get up without searing pain, there is a problem. 

 
Also something I kept hidden for years was the fact I suffered from severe anxiety and depression. For the first time in years I have let loose emotions that I have hidden for a long, long, long time. I can tell you derby didn’t trigger these other things, did but derby did give me a push in the right direction. I started seeing my faults blaring at me like neon signs. I wasn’t happy, and I can promise you nothing could have changed that except me. I finally got some professional help, and between me and my therapist derby has come up. I’ve showed her pictures and talked about the times I was a real solid B.I.T.C.H, and the other times I was happy and at peace with myself. Those times have helped me pinpoint certain parts of my personality and helped me come to terms with some things and also helped me find the tools I need to no longer suppress those emotions but to learn how to filter them and let them out in a healthier more productive way. I’m still not perfect, and I still very much have my moments, but they are fewer and farther between. Roller derby really helped me start the path to finding myself; even if it helped me see a few ugly parts of myself, it also helped me see some of the beautiful parts of myself.
 

To those I hurt with my article, that was never my intention and hopefully one day you’ll see that it was how I felt at the time. I don’t blame anyone for my behavior and I certainly never intended for it to be something to embarrass anyone but I can’t help the way you felt after reading it. Also if you feel like said circumstances referenced in the article were false or over extended in truth than that's fine. Everyone has their own opinion of how events happen and how everyone feels individually is different. I just ask that from this point on respect my wishes and know that I am completely and utterly DONE with derby. I have no intention of NSOing, reffing, or play ever again because this is a choice I made. I can only take responsibility for myself, as I have learned. This second and final part isn’t supposed to be an apology or a last resort of sympathy is the cold hard truth.

This past year has been hell but sometimes; you have to go through the darkest times to find yourself.

There is still a part of me that is that girl with the skates on her feet that likes to kick ass and take names, who slapped hands with her teammates, who spent nights at Waffle House talking strategy with her teammates and coaches, and who spent many sleepless night biting her nails over one dramatic event or another.

My husband, yes I got married this past year, laughs at me sometimes because I can’t ever seem to make up my mind if derby was something that hindered or helped me. Unfortunately there are days where I have my regrets but again there are the days where I smile and want to hug my jersey.

As I prepare for the next stage of my life, being a wife and in a few years a mother, I’m glad I took this journey, even if some days I question it I always come up with the final answer of ‘Yes, yes I’m glad I did.’
 
So, to the many miles driven, the many laps skates, the giant hematomas, the almost broken bones, the ruined joints, the fainting spells, the vomit, the life-long friends, the “enemies” (HA-HA!! Seriously this is a joke…..), the rivals, the blood and tears spilt, the money spent on yet ANOTHER set of bearings or pads, the decals, the sleepless nights watching Gotham kick ass, and of course every single moment I asked myself ‘Is it all worth it?’ 

 
I can’t change how people feel but I can how I feel. I’m so happy that I’m coming to terms with so many things. Congratulations to my previous team for finally getting WTFDA and good luck and god speed to the freshies with hearts in their eyes. Much love to the friends who I have like me who are no longer involved in this sport but are never too busy to invite me to their houses for dinner and to share a good laugh with or to watch kitty videos in youtube. Just to everyone I am in a good place now and I’m living and thriving in it as much as I can and I wish the same thing for you.