The Trainer no image

Published on October 16th, 2012 | by Throttle-her

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An Open Letter to my Left Ankle

Haven’t we been through a lot over the past six months? I just want you to know I don’t blame you. I know when you dislocated and broke my fibula too, it was probably my own fault, and I’ve come to accept that we may never know what actually damaged our functional relationship. They say separation makes the heart grow fonder. However, I am not fond of our memories in the operating room, deciphering the Orthopedic Doctor code that included phrases like “probably,” and taking public transportation to those mundane physical therapy appointments.

I’m sure now that a lot of the worst is behind us, and you no longer have the hardware poking at your side, we are going to have a lot of work ahead of us the next few months. So I want to just take a moment and appreciate the things you have done for me, you know, other than bearing weight and bending and stuff. Now that this trying time nears an end, I want to recognize some of the other gifts you gave me so you know how much I appreciate you and maybe we can avoid any ugliness in the future.

1. I am way tougher than I ever thought.

There was a point where our separation was observed by all the league and more than a few guests. It was ugly, but I stared at the ceiling, eyes dry, senses sharp, and took deep breaths while friends took care of me and watched you turn blue. I am someone that passes out at needles, but I take a little relief that in that time of crisis, I kept calm and cool, and was able to face most of the evening in that same state. I even held on to my sarcasm, much to my medical staff’s amusement, and talked a lot about roller derby. And then after surgery, I had to give myself a shot every day for a month. That was a dick move, but I forgive you for it, since we avoided clots. Even if we can’t avoid every injury, I’m still not afraid of being injured because really, I know I can handle it and I’m just not discouraged all that easily. Which I hope you figure out the first time I put my hip in to someone while on skates. It’s closer than you think, and I’m not afraid.

2. You reinforced my relationships.

My second thought staring at the rink floor was “Oh god, my derby widow is going to kill me, and then my derby wife will dig up my grave.” Every other sports injury in my life has pretty much followed that format. But somehow, my boyfriend took pride in helping me stay comfortable, my derby wife was eager to help me get to ortho appointments for a glimpse of Dr. Hottie, and even my mom was positive, though my injury was timed 10 days before she was due to visit for a sightseeing trip on Easter. Mom really loves roller derby.

It took me a while to stop being confused by the positive responses, and welcome the help. On top of the help and positivity – they all supported my return to derby from day 1, even when I was in doubt. As an added bonus, my boyfriend is still carrying my laundry up and down two floors for me, so props to you for that.

3. Even injured, I can be a help to my league, and in return, nurture even more relationships.

I am half-glad I was benched as we did our first boot camp, so I could meet all our new, eager girls that worked to tryout. I kept track of their attendance, went to scrimmage nights to talk to them about rules and experiences, and knew when they needed a kind word. And I loved it; it was a wonderful distraction from my own anxieties. They were gracious to me for it, but they don’t know how much that helped me too. Same when I got to help teams with bench coaching, which is a wonderful brain teaser of a derby job, and when I was brought to help manage a team to make use of my digital talents. All while I was on crutches or limping along. I also learned it’s important to not only have computer-based derby jobs – I need interaction to keep me feeling involved. Which will help me as we continue on our journey back to derby. Even while not skating, I learned what will help me keep balance going forward, and I continued to learn about the sport and be an asset to the league.

4. I did it all once, so I can do it again.

For the first few months, it was the positives of that first 2.5 hours of that scrimmage night that I focused on. How I forced an all-star out of bounds, drew that fourth minor on a jammer, and took out an apex jumper while holding an impenetrable wall. How much I was encouraged that evening as people watched my months of hard work come together – and later semi-mourn as they watched it fall apart in the blink of an eye. So even after months of surgery, therapy, and doctor visits, I have some great things and people to return to, not including hockey stops. Those are fun for like 10% of derby people. But maybe I’ll finally master those too, once I know we have the basics down and we are strong again. But I think in some ways I am already stronger, and we don’t have that far to go after all.

But just in case, do me a solid and tell all my other body parts that it’s cool, and we can all work together again. We may owe my right leg a little bit of an apology after the world’s longest flamingo impression.

So here’s to amazing friends, a supportive league, and my bones coming back to derby stronger than ever before. We got this.

Except for hockey stops.

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