August 30, 2013

Sometimes Happiness is a Choice

Thank you iOna. Thank you for taking a step back and asking me to take a step up when I didn't think I wanted to. Thank you for passing me that torch, but mostly, thank you for keeping me in derby. Last month, I wasn't sure I still wanted to keep paying and going to practices but because I felt like I couldn't drop my committee work, I didn't quit. I might have, but I didn't. It was stressful for me last month at the end of a series of stressful months. It was the biggest PR event of the year and my first as the interim head of PR. I laid awake in bed the night before that big-ass event SERIOUSLY wondering if we would arrive for our booth at New West Fest Bohemian Nights and we wouldn't be on the list. Yes, I did talk (face to face even!) with the people running it. Yes, they definitely charged our card for the space. Yes, I did wait until the last possible moment to submit our information for insurance for this, THE BIGGEST PR EVENT OF THE YEAR. Similar to when you're sick and google your symptoms late at night in a fit of delirium, it was truly late night paranoia at it's finest. So yeah, I panicked a little. Or a lot, but it doesn't count when Mr. Maguire is the only one who sees it, right?

Between the life things that have been going on for me this summer, and my waning interest in getting hit by Spice Cadet at scrimmage, I was really considering if I was ready to be done skating. Sure, I could NSO... I could even keep my board position... I might even be interested in just being a fan for a heartbeat... These were all the thoughts that plagued me before practice. I would go to practice and not sprint with heart, I wouldn't recover with speed, I wouldn't toe-stop run with any attempt at agility. I kept thinking about who I was going to make snotty comments to when so-and-so OBVIOUSLY missed the point of that drill! Or when I seriously didn't think I was going to be able to do that endurance bullshit the trainer is asking us to do. Derby wasn't fun. I wasn't fun.

Bonus points if you know what this is from.
You will win a smug sense of satisfaction.
And then two weeks ago I woke up and realized, I can be happy again. I can just do that. It's a thing, and it's happening, everyday, inside my head and heart. I AM happy again. BOOM. There it is. A simple choice to be happy. In work and at home and at derby and even when Suzy MuffinCrusher FLATTENS me in a bout in front of my parents. Whatever. It's derby. You get knocked down. I've spent most of the last year getting knocked down and I have been recovering more and more slowly. But not anymore. That is what decided that morning in bed.

I was fed up. With the people in my life, with the people at my job, with my... uh job in general (sorry Shannon!) and I realized I was fed up with me. That I was the problem. Everywhere I went, there I was. It was like "Ugh, it's another day with that girl..." but it was me!! And then one day it wasn't. It's been hard to figure out how to be me again. The person who likes people. The person who looks for the positive. There person you can count on to be your friend and to ask you about your day and really care about the answer. Where did that girl go? She just needed a break I guess, but it's time for that to be my thing again. It is time to be the tireless cheerleader of the league again. It just feels better to holler at muh betches on the track that they're jamming like champs, and dishing out unstoppable hits, and building impenetrable walls. That is who I am. Because everytime I say something nice to someone I am giving myself a lift in positivity as well. It's pretty selfish really.

I may have a bachelors degree in bullshit (or History and Political Science, but it's the same thing, right?) but I don't need to speak primarily in snark. Sarcasm only gets you so far before it gets shady. A little well timed honesty does wonders for the soul, especially when you can complement a friend. Tell her you like her sassy skirt (Pootie!) or you loved her bravery at jamming the first jam IN HER FIRST BOUT (Malady?!) and most of all, tell her that you're proud of her life choices (Mome and Femme. Just... ALWAYS) because you are. Then ride the crest of having the capacity to look outside your selfish and dark inner world for a heartbeat to notice your friends. They're the family that you choose. Derby is the family that I choose. I forgot this for a while, but it chose me too.

These last two scrimmages have shown me that when I bring the awesome to the track, it rewards me. Remembering that it can be fun and that when it isn't, that is my own damn fault. Get out of your head Molly and into the game. Remember that you're a friend and a sister to these women and they need a communicator and booty blocker when you're out there. Remember that they forgive and that when Miz offers you a tip, she is not tearing you down and that she is building you up. So, thank you iOna for unknowingly being the spark that reinvigorated my warm and honest smile. Tonight, derby doesn't suck. No ma'am.

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

August 22, 2013

Don't be a hero! Injuries in Roller Derby

This Monday I went to roller derby practice.  It was a normal practice, just like every other practice before it.  There was no strange scent in the air, no looming sense of anxiety or the hint of a terrible fate on the horizon (stay with me I'm trying to build dramatic effect).  Everything was normal and after 2 hours of practice we peeled off our skates and got our running shoes on - ready to finish off with our grueling, hour-long off-skates practice.

But something went wrong!  Halfway through doing some resistance drills, being the klutz that I am, I tripped and brought another girl down with me.  My heart stopped.  I had fallen, my shoe had come off, and I had landed hard with my ankle twisting in a weird direction.  As I got up everything seemed to be ok (by that I mean it hurt but nothing was broken) and I thought about continuing the off-skates.  I had come to conquer dammit!  I wasn't going to give up!  As many sit-ups or burpees as that man wanted me to do I was going to with a smile on my face.  My plan was to finish the off-skates like a pro and then go home and die of exhaustion.

Instead I took of my other shoe, sat down, and another skater brought me some ice.  Why do you ask? Because that's what you should do.  I felt pain in my foot, and instead of pushing it to the max and risking an actual injury (which is 40% more likely now can you tell I just made up that statistic?) I chose to play it safe and take care of my body.  When you hurt something, like your ankle or foot, you become unstable and that's when the risk for injury becomes greater.  Roller Derby is a cruel mistress.  It can turn on you at any moment.  One second your landing an apex jump and in another your in a cast.  I don't say this to scare you.  I say this because sometimes it's not a good idea to be the tough girl.  Sometimes you can't be a hero and you need to take a day to let your body rest.

LuluDemon addressed this same issue in a class a RollerCon.  Talking specifically about jamming, she said that when you feel like you have no more energy, your legs are jelly, and you can't finish the jam stably, call it off.  When you persist on making those points you not only risk going to the penalty box for cuts and sloppy hits, you can risk really hurting yourself.  This is a full-contact sport, and sloppy roller derby is the most dangerous roller derby.  You could hurt yourself or even hurt another teammate. Thankfully, my ankle craziness turned out to be nothing and the other girl was perfectly fine.  I had landed weird but the next day it felt fine, and I was able to continue skating like normal.  Now for your viewing pleasure here are some non-sourced non-verified statistics for you as to when you should NOT work out:

Your Old Sports Injury Is Bothering You

Skip the workout and see your doctor. This is usually not a good sign, especially if you have pain during activity. Sudden pain requires immediate medical attention.

You Felt a Sharp Pain the Last Time You Worked Out
Do not work out until you see a doctor to rule out an injury. If you exercise anyway, you may make the injury worse. “Although it is expected to feel soreness after you work out, it is never OK to feel pain.”
In 2007 (i know, right? I couldn't find more recent stats??) WFTDA published some interesting data on roller derby injuries:
  • Of 1,070 respondents – 574 (46%) reported an injury that kept them from participation on one or more occasions
  • Of those 574, 262 (46%) report a knee injury (far and away the most common)
I'll admit it, sometimes girls can be catty.  We look at a girl taking a rest from a drill and we think, "I'm not having any trouble.  What's her problem that this is too hard for her?"  Believe me, I've done it and I kick myself every day for it.  The truth is, nobody's body is the same.  We're all different.  We eat different foods, do different exercise, have different daily activities, have different genes for goodness sake.  Maybe something is going on with our friends body that we don't know about.  Instead of judging them, let's just let them be.  They're better at listening to their own body than we are, and if we say anything it should only be to ask if they need our help.  

Let's recap:  If things hurt, don't skate.  Also, be nice.
I have also enclosed a link that is not for the faint of heart.  If you enjoy horror movies, and looking at roller derby injuries, then this is the place for you!
The Original Skankter

August 15, 2013

Me, Myself, and I

My id. I tried for many years to silence it, to make myself be things I wasn't. To do things I wasn't suited for. Hangout with people that didn't get me. But one day, you have to face the fact that your id won't go away. Once I learned to embrace my id, things sort of fell into place. Failed relationships, awkward social interactions, and much anxiety over the course of those years were all the tools that I needed to figure my business out. That and the birth of my skater identity, Mollytov Maguire.

During my earliest fresh meat moments I used to wonder how I was going to do this. It's a struggle. Lory vs. Molly was an epic battle, a knockdown, drag-out, street-fight. Lory fights pretty cheap. Using shame and guilt, she's managed to not do a lot of things in the past. She is a girl who had years of practice with "can't" and "shouldn't" or just plain "won't" but fortunately for Lory, Molly is a real badass. She is a woman who knows how to say what she wants confidently and go after it. She will chase the jammer. She will take the hit when she needs to.

After Molly won the battle in 2012, there was a long period of time when I identified more as Molly. Unfortunately, that got me into some trouble (what a pushy-ass broad!) and I spent most of 2013 learning to navigate between the two. From the pleasing and polite Lory to the intense and unforgiving Molly where was the middle ground? What to do? I had just gotten down the ability/lady balls to say "no" when it was appropriate (probably a more than it was appropriate, actually) when a fresh meat friend named this new identity for me, L'Molly.  She knew me from outside derby and, to her, I was Lory. She had a hard time at first calling me Molly at practice and events because she knew the other part of my personality. She would say "Hey, Luuuh-MOLLY!" and we would look at each other and giggle. Well, here was a brand new opportunity. I have re-branded my identity into what is probably the best of both Lory and Molly. At the tender age of 30, I am finally figuring out how to use both "no" and "yes" to my best advantage. This is the difference between knowing when to break the wall to help my jammer and knowing when to guard my position.

Now we're almost through my first full season as a veteran skater, and I think "Damn, it's been a long road, but I am getting there." I still have practices where I think I am actually getting worse at derby (see the last 3 practices) but I am getting better at life. I was recently interviewed by a local magazine and the interviewer quoted me as saying "It’s allowed me to be more me – brought out the form I was always meant to be." Derby has brought out the best version of me that I have yet to experience. Continually. Continual growth and development on and off the track in almost every area of my life. Those long repressed parts of my personality were finally able to surface. Just like a tiger can't change it's stripes, a derby girl can't be held down. Not for long any way!

The problem with having that sort of duality of identity was that I wasn't able to compartmentalize the two. I am still not. I needed to embrace both parts. Molly isn't Lory's "alter-ego" and Lory isn't the vanilla version of Molly. I am both parts at all times. I am a whole person. Molly isn't a dirty little secret that I hide in the closet, only to be trotted out at game time. She's bold and wonderful and charming. Women of the derby world don't need to hide the glitter at the office, we need to splash it on everything we touch (which, if you've spent much time with glitter, this isn't hard to do. Right Flaco?) and make it big, beautiful and wholly ours! But we also can't walk around booty blocking people in the breakfast burrito line either. So from one derby girl to many; be the powerhouse of womanhood you're meant to be on and off the track!

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

August 8, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite RollerCon

RollerCon.  The Mecca of WFTDA roller derby.  Last week, thousands of roller derby ladies flocked en mass to the sparkling desert of Las Vegas in order to learn a few things, meet some new people, let off some steam, and play a ton of roller derby.  Now, I could write about a million pages on RollerCon full of sultry details and great experiences, but I think I'll settle with just telling you a few of my favorite things about this crazy conference.

The largest purpose of RollerCon is to turn average roller derby ladies into rockstars on the track.  Classes are offered by the most experienced skaters in the world like Suzy Hotrod, Smarty Pants, Trish the Dish, Demanda Riot, LuluDemon, and Scald Eagle.  These women are amazing skaters who tear it up on the daily with their nationally ranked teams, and in these classes they share all their dirty little secrets!  LuluDemon teaches how to outsmart another jammer, Suzy transforms passive skaters into fighting machines, and Demanda Riot is just plain scary.  RollerCon is about sharing information, strategy, and practice habits, and it helps even out the playing field for us girls who don't get to play for Gotham.

This bout never fails to disappoint.  The Vagine Regime vs. The Caulksuckers has now become an annual RollerCon tradition and is an incredible bout between gay and straight skaters.  This bout consists of the top skaters in the nation, but also includes the top fans as well.  These fans brave crazy costumes, dance, and lead cheers all throughout the bout. Why do you ask?  Because more important than anything else in roller derby, we are proud of who we are and we are accepting of others who are different than us.  Celebrating how we are unique is important no matter the venue, and what better way to do it than with vagina and banana costumes?

Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself introducing your mom to someone named General Disappointment or Ophelia Melons.  Now take that and multiply it by 100.  That's RollerCon.  One of my favorite activities at RollerCon is just to people-watch and read everyone's awesome names off the backs of their shirts.  Each one is unique to the skater and I often find myself impressed at other skaters' ingenuity and bold choices.  Who wants a piece of Poysenberry Pie?  I do!

Now there are nightly parties and activities each night at RollerCon, but the Black and Blue Ball is the party. Skaters, Refs, NSOs, and the RollerCon Crew all come down to the pool at the Riviera decked out in their party best.  I danced all night on that floor and I saw a Marie Antoinette, the opera-singer from The Fifth Element, Cleopatra, a sausage, and a very nice man in a dominatrix outfit.  If you can imagine an all-out party until the break of dawn full of dancing, canoodling (whatever that means) and pool shenanigans with some of the coolest people on the planet than you have perfectly envisioned this party.  And as in perfect derby tradition, Trish the Dish DJ's and it's awesome.

"Seeing old friends and making new ones?"  Did I just step back into 1995 during a summer camp commercial?  Yes, because that's what RollerCon is: Summercamp.  You get to meet some really cool people and stay up late to all hours of the night telling stories and daring each other.  You also get to see all the friends you've made while playing other leagues.  This year there was only me and another girl from our league that went.  Needless to say, I found myself a little lonely.  I ran into the Ark Valley High Rollers from Salida, CO that we had played just a few weeks before and they pretty much adopted me as one of their own.  Hanging out with these girls was totally awesome and I know I made some friends for derby life.

I know, I know, now you're super jealous that you didn't go to RollerCon.  It's ok, it happens to all of us. The good news is, tickets go on sale this November for next years' con.  If you find yourself wanting to improve and have a great time next July, hit me up in Vegas.  I'll show you the ropes.


The Original Skankster