Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Obligatory Thankful Blog: 2014 Style

I've been writing this blog for three years now, every week of every month, and for something that started as a way to express my frustrations/opinions about derby in a "safe" place (because people in my league weren't listening) and I really am shocked that anyone other than my friends thought it was worth reading. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if I will run out of topics before I leave derby.

But I doubt it. 

Usually something new comes up and puts pepper in my writing pool, and I'm spurred on to keep writing, thinking and reviewing ideas that deal with the derbs.

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis, knows that I love to complain about things in general; this week's blog is dedicated to acknowledging the good things that happen in our sport. Now, I know Thanksgiving is a ridiculous holiday with horrible, genocidal connotations, but I'm trying to follow the idea of being thankful instead of being a mass murderer, so here goes my list of things I'm thankful for in derby.

1. I'm thankful to see people start taking helmet choice seriously. Finally, I'm beginning to see people ditch their crappy helmets and get some better head protection. Thanks to S1 for being omnipresent on the track at Champs and on with their commercials, now we have leagues starting to look at the sorry helmets so many of their skaters are wearing. I've seen fewer "sweat savers" out there, and more and more hockey helmets and S1s. People are starting to realize that keeping your head safe means you can have a longer and healthier derby career. Hooray! Still though, there are a few of you out there clinging to your jacked up, ill-fitting, craptacular helmets. It's time to trade up! Yes, safe helmets are more expensive, but you can't just go out and buy a new brain.

2. I'm incredibly thankful for my face shield. This year I suffered my third broken nose from derby, and I finally decided that it sucks to have to wear a tampon in your nostril, so I went out the next day and got a damned face shield. It's saved my face so many times since I bought it, especially since I've been working on getting lower and lower in my derby stance. Even this week at State Wars, my shield paid for itself when I got nailed in the face with a shoulder. Whoot whoot! No broken nose for the win! Seriously, think about getting a face shield for yourself, especially if you're sick of getting dinged in the face. I think you'll really see the light when you have the sweaty imprint of a shoulder on your shield, delineated in grease.

3. I'm thankful that it's starting to be acceptable to change leagues because athletes want their needs met. When I asked the question "would you leave your league for a better opportunity in your derby career" on Facebook in 2011, I got a lot of negative answers. "I'd never betray my league, how dare you ask me that" and etc. Now I see people ready to either step up to a higher level of training, or step down to a more casual level of play. Derby has come a long way, and it is becoming several different things for different people at different times in their derby careers. I think if derby is going to continue to be a viable sport, you'll see more small leagues consolidating and becoming mega-leagues in the future. Want to be competitive? Talk your neighboring league into combining as soon as possible; it will be the wave of the future.

4. I'm thankful for the feed. It gets better and better each year, as far as I'm concerned, and the computer audience is getting to see facial expressions and instant reactions. Who didn't love seeing "The crawl seen 'round the world" at Champs this year? You could see the "what the hell is happening???" looks on every players' face.  Could you see that from track lel? Maybe, but it was really hilarious to see on my television.  I know there are still issues with the feed dying every once in a while, but every year it's gotten much more reliable and worth paying for.  I'm hoping that the World Cup will be that crystal clear. Finger's crossed!

5. I'm thankful for the balance derby has given me over the years. Before I started derby, I had a horrible injury due to my dog pulling me off of my feet while she chased a cat in the neighborhood. I sprained my ankle in the most egregious way possible without needing surgery, and it still bothers me when the weather turns cold. Ever since I started derby, I haven't had balance issues at all; my core is tighter, my ability to recover my balance and my agility has been able to keep me from breaking myself again, even when my dog is bound and determined to yank me all over creation chasing all manner of varmints.

6. I'm thankful that Rose City gave Gotham a run for their money. Damn, that was one of the most exciting games I've ever seen, and it has been an extremely long time coming. Gotham has been on a roll for years, and it looked like Texas was going to be the closest to putting a dent in their armor with fifty point differential, but then Rose came, and gave the derbyverse some hope that what Gotham has managed to create as a team, could happen somewhere else. Don't get me wrong, I love Gotham, but I was really beginning to wonder if that level of play could happen in another league somewhere, or was Gotham going to be the best we as derby athletes could ever be. Rose was able to reproduce another team that was able to rival the Gotham machine, and that means it can be reproduced elsewhere. It's possible, and that makes playing and training a more hopeful situation.

7. I'm thankful for people who get something out of this blog and to the people who have guest posted on it. Seriously, I no longer write out of complete frustration with derby; I write for people who are struggling with various situations in derby, while thinking they are completely alone. You are never alone when it comes to issues in derby. Thank you to each person who has written a guest blog over the years; your guest posts are great because usually you have a more intimate take on certain subjects that are near and dear to you. Your contributions also give me a chance to take a week off of writing and just enjoy reading a blog post! Also, thank you to the photographers who allow me to use their fine work in my blog. My three regular photogs are A Boy Named Tsunami, Lesley Etherson and Joshua R. Craig. They've been amazing to let me use their work this whole time.

And there ya go. I'm sure I'll be back to my grumpy self next week. Hope your holiday was good and everyone is enjoying the off season.

1 comment:

  1. I'm thankful for this blog, I'm still new to derby and your posts explain a lot while making me laugh :-)