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Published on August 22nd, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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Agony Auntie Lulu Answers Your Questions!

Agony Auntie Lulu Demon answers all your questions! Write her for advice: submissions@derbylife.com

Q: How do I know when it’s serious enough with someone I’m dating to introduce them to my team? How do I tell my team to take it easy on someone new in my life?

A: You’ll know it’s introduction time when the person you are dating asks to meet the people you spend 90% of your leisure time with and 100% of your time talking about! If they don’t ask to meet the community that is obviously so important to you or they aren’t at least curious about how you spend most of your evenings, then they aren’t serious about the relationship. Yet.

As for your teammates taking it easy on a new boyfriend/girlfriend – that’s a hard one as rollergirls seem to have a bit of a “filter” problem (ie. they have difficulties filtering out what they think from what comes out of their mouths). Plus you are their number one concern and you can’t blame them for being protective.

Maybe have a quiet chat with your closest buddies (not at practice! you know everyone is on gossip alert) and tell them how important this new relationship is to you and how you would like to have a semblance of a life outside derby. They are probably still going to tell you exactly what they think of this new person, but hopefully now they will tell you in private rather than to his/her face.

Q: Our league has several moms, and lots of us bring our kids to practice. Most of the kids are well behaved, but one in particular is just out of control. How can we tell this child’s mother to either control her child or leave the child at home? Is it even fair to tell her not to bring the child, if it would keep her from making practice?

A: First off it’s not fair to the rest of your league mates to make sacrifices in their lives to come to practice only to have it disrupted by someone’s child. Everyone spends time and money in order to come to practice and once you are there all members of your league need to realize that this time is valuable and should be respected.

The mother needs to realize that the actions of her child are negatively impacting the rest of the teams’ experience and that is not acceptable. The sooner this happens the easier it will be. Teams and Leagues need to be nurtured and protected in order to grow. Once you allow something to fester, resentment quickly builds up among other members and before long you have people being snarky on the track or not turning up to practice because it is “not worth their time.”

Obviously this is a delicate issue as the mother in question may not have many options. Have a face to face meeting on neutral territory (not at practice and not when the child in question is around) and explain the situation. Maybe she is not even aware of the effect her child is having at practice. Remember to separate out the actions of the child that are causing the problems from any judgements that you have about the child him/herself or her parenting skills.

This is not about anyone judging the child or the mother, this is about addressing the problem behaviours. Brainstorm some solutions beforehand – maybe one of the older kids could look after the younger kids? Maybe league members with kids could organize some form of rotating child care on practice nights?

As long as you address the problem with respect for both the team and the individual I am sure you can come up with a solution that will work for everyone.

Q: My partner decided to quit derby, but I am still heavily involved, and I’m not ready to stop playing or working for my league. She is more and more tired of hearing about derby. She joined before we started dating, and brought me into it, and I feel guilty that it’s not fun for her anymore, but it’s still fun for me and my team needs me. We can compromise on what events to go to together, but we aren’t finding the balance at home, when I want to talk about derby and she doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. Suggestions?

A: STOP TALKING ABOUT DERBY!! Seriously, there are so many other things to talk about with your partner and non-derby friends (if you have any of these left!) Just as people talk about “leaving work at the office,” when you leave the track or log out of the forum, don’t take it home with you. If you want to talk about derby, that’s what your league and teammates are for.

Obviously there are important things that you have to talk about, or derby experiences that you want to share with your partner, but put a time limit on it. When you see her eyes glaze over – STOP! I have been in derby long enough that I can talk for hours about anything derby related – but I know how boring this is to people not involved in the sport. It’s one of the reasons that I make an effort to keep up my non-derby friends and it’s so refreshing to talk about things in the “real world.”

Now here’s the bigger question: can your relationship survive without derby? It was obviously a big part of the connection that you guys had in the beginning and I am sure you have many shared experiences through it. Was it keeping your relationship together? If so, you are going to have to find new ways to appreciate each other and enjoy your time together. It might mean spending less time on derby and more time with your partner doing “non-derby” things. Yes, this is a change, but it’s all about what is most important to you and at the end of the day, we all have to find some balance in our lives.

Q: I just returned from 6 months leave of absence because of a leg break. I am starting to be allowed to skate contact at practice, but I lost my fearlessness. I feel like a weak link when things get crazy in the pack, I just can’t seem to follow all the way through like I used to. How do I find my way out of the fear in my body and get back to really throwing my body into this full force?

A: First off I know what it feels like to be broken. 10 years ago I was in a car accident and broke my arm, pelvis and two vertebrae in my neck. I know the fear and frustration that comes from suddenly not feeling like you have control over your own body. It sucks.

To begin with you have to be honest with yourself and your team mates. It takes a much shorter length of time for a bone to heal, than for your mind to forget the trauma of the break. So even though you may be physically healed, don’t be too hard on yourself when you are starting back. Have a chat with your team or send an email and honestly express the way you are feeling. That way they wont have unrealistic expectations of you and you won’t feel like you are letting them down.

Next, remember that derby is going to be around for a LONG time. You don’t have to be a superstar right now. Take it slow and listen to your body – although your bones may be healed, the muscles take longer to come back so keep doing those boring physio exercises!

As for the fear, that takes just as much mental training. Set goals for yourself at practice that you can achieve and feel successful. If there are certain things that are more difficult now, work up to them in baby steps. When you feel negative thoughts coming into your mind about your performance replace them with positive thoughts about stuff you did earlier in the practice or at a previous practice.

At home take some time to sit quietly and visualize yourself being successful in a play or skating powerfully all the way through the pack, run the same scenario over and over and remember the feeling that you get from this success. Once your brain starts to recognize these feelings you can use them at practice when you are getting down on yourself – just bring back these scenarios and bask in the positiveness – you will see a difference in your performance.

Most of all remember that derby is about having fun! So stop beating yourself up about your performance, enjoy being back in the game and you will be kicking ass again in no time.

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