October 3, 2013

From Left Turns to T-Bones, It's Progress

Terrible derp face on my part.
Awesome shot from Pixel This Photography
Something seems to have clicked. Finally. I was coming to peace with the fact that I might always play derby badly. That I may never "get" it and that the fun of being out there with my friends might have to be enough. And then the planets aligned and I made it to another level. I am not going to say that I am anywhere near a level that could be considered competitive but I am saying that this is the best I have ever played. I had 3 weeks of scrimmages in which I didn't cry ONCE and more importantly, I didn't want to cry either. It was just fun. It felt like home. Like I belonged on the track with my team.

I had lines that I played with consistently and I understood most of my role out there with them. I felt how they were playing and positioned myself accordingly. And then there was the bout. The Punchy Brewsters are FoCo's traveling "B" team. We don't play sanctioned bouts, but we play with HEART man! There were two such bouts in as many weeks for us and I was disappointed in my performance in it. I had been doing actual derby things in the scrimmages leading up, my on-track-confidence was at an all time high, and I thought I was ready. Instead, I as a person making left turns amid a derby bout (or so I felt) and that was sucky.
Pixel This Photography

I prayed to the derby gods that the bout the following weekend would be different. That I would hit other people and I would work hard to stay with my line and get to the front when it was time. I SWORE those were things I could do, but doubt started working its way in. I started to wonder if I could only play well (or what felt like it to me) at scrimmage? Were the only people who would ever know that I sometimes hit people the ones who skated/reffed/NSO'ed on Thursday nights?

I can remember other people starting to get good, DAMN GOOD, at derby. Starrmageddeon for example. I can remember our first scrimmage after our winter break last year when she went to hit me and there was some serious MEAT on that hit. I just looked at her and thought "Oh god. I am pretty sure I am the worst player in this league." and the same thing when C.C. ShebashYa jammed right past me later in practice. I wondered how I became worse at derby over the break and they got better. I was, again, not trying to judge myself too harshly about my skills or abilities, really trying to not punish myself for the lack thereof.

Aw yeah! I'm BOOTY BLOCKING in this shot.
Not just turning left.
Precision 10 Images
With these feelings building over the year (a year that will go down in the history books are the worst ever) it was getting harder and harder to be motivated to come to practice. And then it began. The climb to greatness. Or in my case, no being the worst skater on the track at all times-ness. It just clicked. I have heard a thousand times that with doing things you're dedicated to there is sometimes a plateau point. A point at which your skills don't seem to be improving or growing. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, they explode. This is what happened for me.

I am so glad I stuck it out through those doldrums. I think that I had to learn to love derby even if I was never going to be any good at all in order to start the great skill ascent again. I am pretty sure this is for life now. I said a while back that I felt like a derby poser before I bouted and now I realize that I *maybe* never stopped feeling that way. Until now. I really REALLY feel like I am part of the team. Not just a body on the track that makes left turns. It feels damn good people!

Derby love,

Mollytov Maguire

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