|After Ballz' and my first game.|
Dear Freshmeat Q-
I'm so glad you've discovered roller derby, and I know by now you've also discovered it's not easy at all, and sometimes it's really heartbreaking. I know you're hungry for advice, but you don't know who to listen to; listen to your future self and let me give you some guidance.
First of all, upgrade your plates. You're skating on less than great plates and I know, you're afraid to change them out because you learned to skate on them and you're worried that you won't be as good on other plates. Don't let that fear hold you back; when you get your new plates, you do have a short period of adjustment on them, but you get so much better so much faster! Don't let fear of change and superstition keep you from improving your gear!
Speaking of gear, you need to stop dithering about getting a hockey helmet because you think you'll look stupid in it. Who cares if you look stupid in it? It's a much better helmet than that Triple Eight Sweat Saver you're tooling around in. Just get one. You're going to get one eventually, sooner than later would be better.
Get some good socks; I don't want you to have to live through the blister debacle three months into your freshmeat year. Trust me, the initials MRSA are bandied about by the urgent care doctor. It's just an ugly situation that you could head off by getting the right socks, like the Smart wool ones I wear religiously now! Also, take a picture of your feet right now! They'll never look that pretty again.
Work on your backwards skating! You hate doing it, therefore you avoid it; that will bite you in the ass later on. Last year you spent forever learning how to be proficient at it; learn how to be good at skating backwards now! Don't leave it for the future! Seriously, you could be spending your time working on something...anything else....like your crappy side mohawk turn. Yes, you finally conquer that, but it was a real struggle for a season.
Start training on P90x now! I waited until last year to start it. We could be so much more mighty in the future if you started doing the core training now! NOW!
Let your injuries heal. You're going to really screw up your ankle in 2010, and you're going to come back too soon and eventually the injury is going to lead your arch slowly and painfully collapsing in your right foot. Don't let people push you into skating too quickly again. Rehabilitate your injury! Collapsing arches hurt like hell! Be kind to your body, it's the only one you get.
Realize that not everyone is going to take this as seriously as you do. It's ok to be gung ho about derby, but stop getting personally annoyed when other people aren't. Not everyone is going to be as into derby as you are; some people see this as a social club, or a fun work out. Not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices that you are, and THAT'S OK! STOP GETTING ANNOYED!
It's ok to hate derby, practice or you teammates occasionally. Sometimes you need a break, and if you find yourself hating everyone and everything about derby, then you need to renew yourself. Take a break, go and visit another team, get away from your league's drama and just get your head cleared. Don't feel guilty about needing to get away, just go.
And there you have it. You've done most of the other parts of derby right, so I can keep this letter pretty short. Keep going, Q. You can make it, and don't ever let anyone tell you you can't wear your pink fuzzy leg warmers.
Present Day Q