Here it goes...confessions of fresh meat. I am now half-way through the new recruit process with the Dead Girl Derby league in Kansas City. The fateful night of skills testing will be here before I know it. The past several weeks have been such an amazing experience that I have not yet been able to set down and put it into words. Friends and co-workers ask me how practice has been going and what it is like to try out for a roller derby league. I give them a basic answer and post the general status updates, but I really never try to paint a vivid picture of what the experience has been like for me so far. I cherish the experience so much that I almost selfishly try to keep it all to myself.
So many emotions are wrapped up in this process for me. Fear (of getting my ass kicked or embarrassed), pride (I bust at the seams with it when I think about Dead Girl Derby), reprisal on the memories of my bullies (all of those popular athletes in Jr High and High School that made this athletically challenged nerd's life hell), satisfaction (when I think about all that I have accomplished in the past several weeks), and finally, empowerment (when I realize that I share a home with my biggest fan who never stops encouraging me and cheering me on. He is the best). Maybe sharing a little bit of this process with others isn't so bad after all.
My confidence level throughout this process has ebbed, it has flowed, and a couple of times it has evaporated into thin air. My very first practice was amazing. I jumped into an endurance test, completing 20 laps in 4 min. 35 seconds, safely under the 5 minute requirement. I left practice thinking I was some kind of speed demon. The next two practices were spent picking my ass up off of the ground every 3 minutes. I left the rink thinking I was crazy for even considering this sport and full disclosure, there may have been at least one tear shed on the drive home. I've had more good practices than bad and I'm trying to really focus on what I've accomplished each night.
In my Social Work Masters program, entire semesters were dedicated to Group Theories and learning how to facilitate cohesion within various types of groups. Scrap everything I learned there. Group cohesion happens when you show up for practice at 8pm regardless of the holiday or weather, sweat your asses off with 40+ other chicks who are skating around in their underwear and fishnets, and booty checking each other to the ground. You are all in it together. You all stink to high hell and you compliment each others' bruises at the end of the long night. I've made more friends in the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 4 years. Regardless of what our fate turns out to be in derby, just going through this experience together makes me predict that I will remain friends with many of these ladies (and gentlemen) beyond the rink.
I spend my lunch breaks at work obsessing over the skills set list. I highlight the ones that I need to work on, I cross out the ones that I feel like I am beginning to "master." The next day, I'm whiting out and rethinking my plan of attack for being able to complete these skills by the mid-October test. A nerdy perfectionist...that's just who I am.
So what I need to work on....CONFIDENCE! It's time to get over myself, take those falls, dish out those hits, and do it as if I've been doing it for years. My derby tights may be cute, but they will look a lot better with a Dead Girl uniform than collecting dust on the shelf of my closet. I can't give up...I have to make this league! Thanks everyone for encouraging me to share a little more about this process. Your support means the world to me.