Being sick really sucks, but it gives me the time to sit and ponder things instead of running off to skate or you know, have a life or whatever. Being on self quarantine has given me time to think about what I want my goals to be for next season. I'm not sure that other derby folk think about their derby resolutions, but I do at the beginning of every season. This year, I offer up a list of resolutions that anyone can take as their own. Are you going to be able to do all of them? Of course not, but sometimes it helps to have a list to choose from.
PERSONAL DERBY RESOLUTIONS
All skaters should be trying to improve their individual skills and game every season. These individual goals should be sweated over publicly and celebrated privately, or on Facebook, whatever. Seriously though, you should have a notebook to document your daily improvement. Go buy one and throw it in your skate bag.
1. Improve on your footwork. There is never going to be a point in your derby career when you can say "Damn, my footwork is absolutely perfect." Look up footwork drills online, go to open skate and imitate the jam skaters, watch online videos of footwork drills and see if you can copy what they're doing. The great thing about footwork is you don't HAVE to be at derby practice to work on it. Yea!
2. Protect your joints. It's time for everyone who plays derby to come face to face with the disturbing fact that you are most likely going to get injured in this sport. Most derby injuries happen to our knees, our ankles and our shoulders, so it is your job to protect these trouble spots by making them stronger. Plyometrics, Crossfit, weight training, whatever floats your boat, can protect your joints and hold some injuries at bay. Also, are you keeping up with your calcium intake? Women need to make sure they stay on top of their calcium!
3. Develop your core. Core muscles make you more stable on the track, but many of us don't do enough core work because we're almost exclusively thinking about strengthening our legs. I used to have a really weak core, and then due to derby, I got a pretty heinous back injury. Now I'm working on my core strength on top of rehabbing a four year back injury. Skip the injury part and just work on your core strength!
4. Do something that isn't derby oriented at least once a week. For some of you, this is a ridiculous resolution, for the rest of you, this might feel overwhelming. I do think it's in your best interest to occupy your time once in a while NOT doing derby stuff. I have my art, and some awesome ex-derby friends who help keep me from going completely overboard on derby. Remember, this is a fantastic, amazing sport, but it's not your life; it's a PART of your life.
5. Stretch. Most of us don't stretch after practice, which is NOT healthy. I'm guilty. I'm trying to make this resolution top priority this year; I know my hips and back will thank me! Being more flexible is important for a long derby career.
6. Get to some outside training. Sometimes your league can't give everyone every kind of training they need, so go and take advantage of any outside training that comes your way. Last year I got the chance to go to Bonnie D. Stroyer's training down in Charleston this year, and it was totally worth the trip. If you can't swing the outside training, at least try to go to another league's practice. A different perspective can really change the way you think about your game.
GLOBAL DERBY RESOLUTIONS
This will be my fifth season playing derby, and I have decided that when I leave derby, I'm going to try to leave it better than I found it. If you love the sport as much as I do, you should also strive to leave derby better than you found it.
1. Pass on your knowledge to newbies. I know that if you've been in derby for longer than two seasons, sometimes it really becomes a bit of a chore to train the newbies. We all suffer from burn out from time to time and just want to focus on our own thing, but newbies are the future of your league, and if you want your league to be strong for a long time, then get to helping them! A little attention can really go a long way; it can keep a newbie invested and excited about derby, even when the training, the practices, and the volunteer work grinds them down.
2. Tell your volunteers that you appreciate them. Our sport really lives or dies by volunteers, and they really don't get the attaboys the way they should from skaters. The more positive of an experience volunteers have, the more they will recruit others to volunteer! Even if they recruit people to volunteer in different states for different leagues, it's still a great thing for derby.
3. Become an ambassador for your sport. If you're wearing your jersey, or league shirt in public, be ready to talk the sport up. You are a minor celebrity when you're wearing your jersey, whether you like it or not, so behave in a manner that reflects the best of our sport. Smile! Talk about your league, where the sport is going, and answer questions when people have them. Don't be annoyed if people are interested in talking to you about derby! If you are, then you probably shouldn't wear the jersey in public.
4. Get involved with the derby community. Our community is growing, and we are all in this together. Gone are the days when leagues isolated themselves from each other; it's time to share ideas with each other, learn from each other and support each other! Leagues that work together can become stronger, while leagues that refuse to share are going to find themselves playing catch up. Invite leagues to scrimmage with you, or even host a training together. Your league doesn't have all of the answers, so don't shut the door to your neighboring leagues who might. Network!
Have a great New Years! Let's hope we meet on the track this seaon!