September 5, 2013

When Life Gives You Jamming, Make PB & J's

Oh, jamming.  Sometimes even the word gives me anxiety.  I spent most of last season being a blocker because that's where my team needed me, and let me tell ya it was awesome.  I felt so much less pressure because I didn't have to score points, I got to know my other teammates a little better, and I learned a lot about derby (and we can all admit that killing the jammer is a ton of fun).  Recently, we've had a few skaters leave due to life changing events like post-doctorate work and grad-school (excuse me but don't they know derby is more important???) and I've been moved back into jamming.  This has caused, if anything, a small amount of constant anxiety that is present with me at all times.

Jamming is intense and demands a lot.  It pushes you physically to your edge, strains you mentally, while the whole time all eyes are on you.  It's an incredible amount of pressure to be responsible for the points scored for your team. Yes, yes, I know, the jammer is not completely responsible.  Derby is a team sport and it's just as much about your pack as it is about you, but it's a lot of pressure to perform individually.

We've all stood in the circle getting ready for our next jam.  Someone holds up the jammer pantie.  We all stand in silence while we look around, waiting for someone to volunteer so we're off the hook.  Finally someone sighs loudly and says, "Ugh. I'll do it," and we all take a deep breath of relief.  Thank God, I think. I can breathe for 2 minutes.  Now let me tell you something: It's ok to breathe for 2 minutes, but then you have to get in there.  Derby is a contact sport and is about overcoming your fears.  So overcome them. Resting on your laurels doesn't do anyone any good; not your team and not yourself.  Push.  And then give yourself a high-five for it.

Jamming is also hard because it's easy to get tired (cardio is hard, ok?)  You're basically sprinting for 2 minutes.  It may sound like a short amount of time; it's not.  Sometimes I need someone to step in and relieve me for a bit.  When my legs are jelly, I don't jam.  This is a good thing. I don't want to get injured, get a penalty, or even worse injure someone else.  Just look at your coach and say:

But let's not forget the icing!  Jamming has its incredibly sweet moments too.  Remember that time you got a power jam and scored 20 points?  Remember when you jumped past that girl and got through the pack? Remember when you just didn't go to the box?  Admit it, it felt good.  It felt more than good; it felt...delicious.  Jamming is difficult, but that's what makes it so worth it.  I get to push myself and challenge what I'm able to accomplish.  So every once in a while, I have this incredible moment where I feel on top of the world.  Then I go out on the next jam and fall on my ass.  Oh well, this is derby!

So even though you left practice feeling like this:

I think of what it felt like to completely shut out the other jammer...

And remember my friends, 


The Original Skankster

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