January 17, 2013

New Years Resolutions of a Roller Derby Girl

Learn the Rules.
We all “know” the rules, but only a handful of us know the rules well enough to squeeze the benefits out of them.  Rules are essential when forming strategy in order to put you at an advantage.  If I had to be honest with myself, I haven’t taken the time to learn to rules as well as I could because frankly, I kind of find them a bit boring to read.  No offense to WFTDA, it’s just fairly dry material and there always seems to be something a little more pertinent that I have to deal with.  I’ve gotten by on knowing the big rules, but I would like to know them so well that I can use them to my advantage.  Challenging calls, being smart about exiting the penalty box, and knowing how to enter the track in a sticky situation is pivotal in gaining the advantage in a bout.  These little advantages can be the difference in whether you win a bout or not, and I plan to help my team win. Especially now, with the new rule set, it’s the perfect time to really learn the rules and start playing derby a little smarter.

Make it to RollerCon.
If you have never been to RollerCon, this is probably one of the things you have promised yourself this year.  You’re going to scrimp and save and eat Ramen and not buy shoes just so you can go to this conference for a few days in Vegas.  Having attended last year I find myself itching to go back this year.  This conference is a field day for any derby girl including skate classes galore, live bouts being played all day, rules sessions, nutritional information, informative classes, copious amounts of merch, and Team USA casually walking around the hotel and sunbathing by the pool.  I came back from RollerCon last year feeling like I crammed as many classes as I could and was excited to share some things that I had learned with my league.  One of my sisters pulled me aside a few weeks later and told me that I had improved in such a way that she didn’t even recognize me as a skater when I came back.  She told me that I looked so much more balanced and confident on my skates and that she could tell my skating had significantly improved.  Don’t get me wrong- RollerCon is not a quick fix for anything- whatever you learn at RollerCon will need to be practiced over and over again in order to stick, but it’s definitely a huge resource that will help you progress in derby.

Win One MVP Trophy
I selfishly admit that I secretly covet to be voted MVP of a bout.  I have been awarded this esteemed trophy once before, and although it was glorious and filled my soul with delight, it was more of a casual bout.  This year, I would like to be voted MVP of a travel bout where no one knows me, they just undoubtedly see me as a value to my team.

Jump The Apex. 
This is pretty much every derby girls’ wet dream.  We see people like Suzy hotrod, Urrk’n, Atomatrix, and Bonnie Thunders do this with ease.  When they come up on a congested pack before a corner, instead of fighting their way through and possibly getting stuck, they just jump out of bounds and cut off an entire section of the track, soaring through the air with grace as they do it, and as a result they fly away ahead of the pack and onto victory.  It’s the ultimate derby girl move that’s incredibly valuable to have in your arsenal, and it turns you from an average derby girl to an awesome one.  Once you have mastered this amazing move you’re no longer afraid of taking chances, and that is the attribute of a true derby girl; they choose to be fearless.

Be Awesome
The truth is, it’s easy to be cool but it’s hard to be awesome.  It’s easy to show up to practice and not try as hard as you can.  Our lives take precedent over derby and oftentimes we find ourselves saving our energy for work, family, and other responsibilities.  We come to practice, go through the motions, and convince ourselves we’re getting a good workout and that we’re being challenged.  We’re not.  So this year, I’m going to be awesome, and awesome takes hard work.  I’m going to push myself through ruts, work my body to the bone, and leave it all on the track.  This is what makes a good derby girl, but more importantly, this is what makes a good athlete.  Oftentimes we forget that we are athletes that play a competitive sport, and I’m going to start acting like one.  I’m not going to whine when I’m sore, when I’m tired, when I don’t have time for other things, or when I can’t master a skill.  I will choose instead to smile at myself and say, “I’m an athlete, and instead of being mediocre, I have chosen to be awesome.”

Looking forward to a great year, 

The Original Skankster

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