Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks by Mosh Pit Momma

 Yet another guest blog, but this one is about giving thanks for what we have learned and earned in derby. Enjoy.

It was the weekend closing out my second season of roller derby. Sitting on the floor geared up and ready to go, I watched the B teams take to the track. I sat there, half laughing at the silly mistakes they made and half feeling like I was looking in the mirror. With just over a year or so of skating experience, I still felt (and feel) like a novice.

I was a crazy feeling when I found out earlier in the season that I had made our All Star team and even more so when I occasionally joined our jammer rotation. In the last two seasons, I have tried to take everything as an opportunity, an opportunity to try, to learn new things or simply skate with new people. At some point this past season we scrimmaged Mother State Roller Derby – the cross fit, endurance driven… robots of roller derby. Long story short, I survived and I was able to use that experience any time I was nervous about stepping on to the track.
Photo by Joe Rone

After a long trip back from one of our most challenging bouts of the season (Thanks Gate City!), I woke up early the next morning to venture out to the VA All Star tryouts.

“It’s just a Saturday practice with a different team,” I told myself, “It would be cool to make the team, but, if I don’t we have a busy enough 2016 season.”

I went to All Star tryouts not because I think of myself as an all-star, but because I thought it would be fun to meet and skate with amazing skaters – and it totally was.

During tryouts I skated with skaters from teams we had strived to beat. I occasionally realized how far I had come; reflecting on how this time two years ago I couldn’t skate backwards with anyone watching and there I was, skating backwards, around people and while being judged. During tryouts, I faced a fear I had going in, taking a hit from 40 Ounce Bounce, and to my surprise I survived (thought I am convinced she had toned it down).

The next day the results of tryouts were (finally!) posted to Facebook. Nervous and eager, I scrolled through the post, down to the list of skaters who had made it. Then, I checked it a few more times to make sure I had read it right.

I had made the All Stars.

But, it wasn’t an overwhelming feeling of excitement or pride that I had, but confusion and even upset. I had tried out with four of my teammates and of the five of us, only two had made it. My success didn’t seem fair and it felt wrong to celebrate while they faced disappointment. These were the people that I had skated since I started and some of the people that taught me how to skate.
The thing is, I wouldn’t be the skater I am today if it weren’t for the teammates I tried out with and everyone I have met along the way. Saying I am grateful for the opportunities I have had or thankful for the guidance I have been given seems like an understatement.

Over the last two season, I have had the opportunity to be coached by various coaches, to skate with new transfer skaters and visiting skaters, to work with visiting referees and even visit new leagues. I have meet some amazing people, weather they were on skates or off skates, and I’ve also met some people who I am sure I felt my day could have gone without. But truth be told, if it weren’t for each of those experiences, I am not sure I would be who I am today (on skates and off). The people who I may have felt I could have done without have given me a reason to be better (let’s be real, who doesn’t try to be better than a skater they don’t like?). While the “amazing” people taught me new things, provided me with new opportunities, but most of all, gave me a chance. 

Thank you to everyone I have taken the track with. 
Thank you to all the teams who have played us, as each bout served as a new learning and growth opportunity. 
Thank you to the visiting skaters who dropped into practice over the years and shared both their wisdom and skills. 
Thank you to all the wonderful skaters at Assassination Roller Derby and Dallas Derby Devils for not only being great host, but treating me like part of the team. 
Thank you referees, weather visiting practice or making the calls during a game, for your knowledge and time. 
Thank you coaches who have moved on to new leagues for the lessons and skills you taught. 
Thank you Five 40 Roller Girls for believing in me when I may not have, for encouraging me to keep trying, for your guidance, support and all the lessons along the way.

Thank you all for helping me become the skater I am today. 

I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had and look forward all the new ones to come.