Published on April 24th, 2014 | by Frisky Sour2
My Nine-Month injury – Taking my own advice
In August 2012, I skated in my last roller derby bout. At 33 years old, I was very much aware that if I wanted to have babies, there was no time like the present. My team, the Break Neck Betties, had just won our second Rose City Rollers championship in a row. A lot of my buddies retired at the same time.
Just because retirement wasn’t forced on me, or that I had other things to look forward to, didn’t mean that I didn’t miss it. Mostly, I missed the comradeship of spending six hours a week with my friends. Also, I missed hitting people. Luckily, my league has a recreational program. That’s where I’ll be skating for the foreseeable future. Soon, I swear. I’ll be there soon.
There’s no way I’m coming back to competitive play any time in the near future – not when my husband, a musician, works so many nights and weekends… It would be nearly impossible to get childcare for practice and bouts. Add in required events, volunteer hours, and everything else, and how do moms get anything done while playing roller derby? If you do, I commend you. We can barely keep in clean onesies and soft-tipped baby spoons at our house as it is.
A funny thing happened, though, while I was retired. Roller derby moved on without me.
Now I want to go back, and it’s a whole new game. And I have a whole new body.
Though it seems like just yesterday that I played my last game, it’s been almost twenty months. Time flies when you’re busy watching a baby grow up. I have never scrimmaged with a single whistle start. I’ve been to the gym once in the last eighteen months or so. Basically, I’m fresh meat with a decent background.
After retiring, I took my free time to write a book for roller derby beginners. Now that I’m ready to go back to roller derby, it’s time to take some of the advice that I’ve been doling out.
Don’t be afraid to look stupid.
People might expect me to be an example, but it’s going to take a while to get my skills back. My example for the time being will be that it’s okay to not be perfect.. Derp your way to fun and fitness!
Sure, I get exercise in my daily life: walks, squats, and shoulder presses with a squirmy 20-pound weight. Unfortunately, that’s about it. Roller derby practice will be a great opportunity to work up a sweat and work out some frustrations.
…but don’t be hard on yourself.
Why would my fitness level be the same as when I was training five days a week? If it is the same, why was I training five days a week in the first place? Yes, I blog about roller derby and read about it, but it’s fine if I forget the finer points of the new rules, especially in the heat of scrimmage. Everyone makes mistakes.
Get a new helmet.
Confession time: I skated for four years in the same helmet. I’ve told other people over and over to replace their helmets, and I have never done it. Not once. It’s time. I’ll need a new mouth guard too, since my old one has been sitting in my gear bag since my last bout, probably growing a (bacterial) family of its own.
Worry less and have more fun.
Being competitive is fine. Re-evaluating your self-worth if you’re knocked out first in Queen of the Track or get passed in a sprint lap? Not good for your mental health. My best will have to be good enough this time around.
Scrimmage just for kicks.
I tell new skaters that they should go to no-stakes just-for-fun scrimmages where no one is evaluating their skills or sizing them up. That’s every scrimmage for me, now. I’m free to be terrible!
Hang out with new friends.
It’s hard to carve out time to get to practice, let alone spend social time afterward. I don’t have to go out for drinks or lunch after every practice, but there’s a compromise to be made there. Maybe every few practices I can hang out with my new Wreckers friends. Or, they can come over and play with the baby if they want to.
My nine-month injury may have taken me out of the game for twenty months, but I’m still here, and so is the game. We just changed. I can’t wait to spend some time getting re-acquainted.