Sunday, August 10, 2014

Roller derby isn't always positive thing.

When people share their stories about derby, sometimes they're inspiring. Sometimes they're helpful, and sometimes they're brutally honest. 

 


Roller Derby made me something I didn't want to be anymore..... 
By anonymous

So everyone has this story of how they started roller derby and how they joined a league. They talk about their journey and the mile markers they accrue. Heartache sometimes follows, and anger arises from time to time. Your best friends become your worst enemies and your enemies become your friends. You talk about how roller derby changed you sometimes for the better. But does anyone ever mention how it changed you...for the worse? Well I'm going to tell you that story; it's not pretty and I'm not proud of it. It's not an admission of guilt but more as a learning tool. Hopefully by reading this someone will realize a few things about themselves. It doesn't make you evil or horrible; it just makes you human.

I was in my mid-twenties looking for something in life; I had suffered on and off with bouts of anxiety and depression. Most of my twenties felt like I was a leaf blowing on the wind, never really having a sense of direction. I changed jobs several times. I moved in and out several times with my parents following the loss of jobs and loss of financial security. I wasn't an addict or alcoholic of any sort, I just lacked direction. I hit a stable point in my life and started putting myself out there again. I made new friends as I moved to a new town and got a new job. It wasn't long before a good friend talked me into going skating, something I hadn't done since middle school. She was an avid roller blader and could do some aggressive inlining moves. We traveled to the next town about twice a week for a year to skate leisurely. Having been an athlete previously in my life, it was hard to be reminded that I was out of shape and uncoordinated. Over time I got more comfortable on my cheap skates and locally the Roller Derby scene blew up. I met and talked to a few of the girls and got pulled into coming to a few practices. The team was a baby at the time and we hardly knew what we were doing, not to mention what we were doing was probably dangerous. We didn't have any real knowledge of the sport and tried to do everything through trial and error. No one took us seriously. Finally, after some time, a more established league took pity on us and sent their coaches to help us. 

Just as I was gaining a foothold in derby,  an internal conflict blew up my world. Some of my teammates I was friendlier with defected to another team. I was of course expected to follow, and I did. My first mistake. I burnt some serious bridges there. Soon people were unfriending me on facebook and sending me nasty emails and private messages. It hurt, and instead of being the bigger person, I took the anger from that and I fired back. I made fun of them behind their backs and giggled at their lack of progress. Essentially I became a bully. Where I improved, they just kept going in circles and I found it hysterical. God....I realize how much of a bitch I was then. I would reap what I sowed later for sure. 

Well it didn't take long before my attitude started to grow, and even though I was still a rookie, I thought I knew it all. I started throwing little hissy fits if I didn't make roster or if I didn't get played enough. I even started to get jealous of the advanced players on my team and other teams. I soon got a rep for a bad sport and cheap hitter. I even alienated my derby mom; she still doesn't talk to me to this day. During this time I didn't notice this behavior; because I was a follower. I followed the bigger bullies so I became a lesser bully. I wasn't quite as vindictive or mean as my "friends" but still it was bad enough to warrant to be called "ONE OF THEM." People started avoiding me.
 

Soon I felt like this team was not good enough for me. Several of the star players left because they were in the military, or due to life circumstances. For awhile it felt good that I was now a senior player, but it didn't last long. My so called friends became the B.O.D and they turned their loaded guns onto me. I was under the spotlight now and under their scrutiny. Eventually I moved away and ended up closer to one team than the other so it was hard to make practices for my current team. So for awhile I traveled back and forth and practiced with both teams and tried to continue to play for one. Soon the stress started to get to me. I decided to leave my current team and join the new team. To make it even more ironic, it was the first team that I ever stepped out on the track with. Yes that's right, the very team that I first skated with that I had made fun of I was back with them. They had a lot of new members and no one hardly remembered what had happened previously. They still hadn't bouted much and were very inexperienced so they welcomed a "VET" player with open arms. 

Vet....sure....that's what I thought I was. I couldn't even skate backwards, my hits were still wrong placed too hard, my cross over were haphazard and wonky and I BARELY made 25 laps because I didn't push myself hard enough. I also took it personal when I got laid flat on my ass and started to become a revenge hitter. I was a peach. So reboot and here I was in my first league again with a larger and much younger team. I had no competition, only possibilities. Out of sheer blind faith and dumb luck I was voted captain. The screw ups just kept coming. I started being verbally abusive to others at practice. I also started facebook stalking people. Right now as I write this I'm smacking my forehead, literally. I even ended up in facebook wars. I took every hit, penalty, and word personally and I took it out on my teammates. It wasn't long before I blew up when a player complained to me about not being on the roster. We tried to talk one one one and there was a giant argument. She was a captain elect for next season so I threw the roster at her and told her in not so many nice words she had no idea how hard it was to be a captain and good luck on her own. I bailed on my team right before a bout. To make it better I went home and deleted every one of the girls who I thought pissed me off from my contact lists and unfriended and blocked them on facebook. Can I have the Miss Congeniality award now? 

Six months down the road, I lost some much needed weight and decided I would try to come back. I felt like I had learned my lesson and saw the error of my ways.  I tried to reconstruct some semblance of the friendships I had before. That was the first time I felt the sting of my actions come back onto me full force. So I sunk down my shoulders and took my punishment. Slowly but surely I became a better player. I started to listen to my coach more and communicate and respect my teammates. I made new and long-lasting friendships. My hits were clean and I soon became a player to lookout for because I was good and I worked well with my team, and not because I was mean and cheap. Other teams wanted to borrow me and I did a lot of traveling. This to me was the pinnacle of my derby career. Then tragedy struck in my family, a death. I wasn't the same after that. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I tried to continue derby, but I lost my heart for it. I didn't really get involved with petty B.S. anymore, but listening to it surrounding me, I really didn't see the point. Depression hit me again and the thing that once made me happy now only made me miserable. It was so negative all the time because that's all I could find in it anymore was the negative. Soon after all of that I started to have some major health issues that would physically make me unable to play anymore. I tried NSOing but it wasn't the same. I even tried being a spectator but it also wasn't the same. So I took myself out of the sport completely, at least for a little while. My jerseys hang on my wall along with my MVP's and I still follow blogs and my close friends to see where the sport is going. I lament a lot looking back and realizing a good portion of my derby career was spent being an asshole to people. I regret that a lot. I am just thankful before it was over I was able to do somewhat of a 180. I didn't sell my gear; it's in storage and believe it or not I still skate 2-3 days a week. I will always enjoy skating. My time for derby has come and gone I'm afraid though. I will always love the sport, but not so much the person it made me at times. In the future I hope to love it as a spectator. For right now though I'm just happy skating once in awhile and getting updates from my friends. Take my story as a learning tool as I said in the beginning. Learn that you are responsible for your actions. Learn that it's okay to be human but don't be an asshole. No one's perfect by any means but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be. Derby didn't save my soul but it sure pointed it in the right direction.

2 comments:

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