Today was Day 1 of Roller Derby Boot Camp (RDBC) and I was nervous as all hell.
I had a car accident 2 days prior that left me with a concussion, cranial muscle tension, and slight bruising on my chest. I had foggy thinking and a slow memory and was pretty sure I was going to have to sit RDBC out. I was angry and frustrated and began to feel like a beautiful possibility was being taken from me.
So I went to My Doctor who confirmed the muscle tension and released me to practice “as tolerated.” Okay, so now it’s on, and I am still nervous. My skating skills are mediocre at best.
I can skate forward if I hold onto something and push-off.
I can skate around a rink with fluctuating confidence.
I don’t know how to cross over, start from a stopped position, or stop. That’s why I practiced so much over these last couple weeks at the local rink.
At work just before leaving to practice, I had to have a conversation with myself reminding me that I am exactly where I need to be and I am building up for where I am now. I am not going to compare myself to others, but I will be inspired by them. I will not take harsh direction as personal criticism but see it as a gauge of what is desired. I will listen to what I need and challenge myself in ways that are best for my safety, physical health, and progress in the best way I know.
I left work 45 minutes early just to make sure I got there on time, but that didn’t help. There was major traffic getting there which landed me 30 minutes late to the rink after getting geared up. My heart was racing, my head was loopy, and I stood at the edge of the brightly taped surface that is to be out “rink” where the majority of the team was in the middle of drills.
One of our trainers began yelling at the four of us who came in late, “Why are you late!?! This is NOT acceptable. There is no good excuse. It’s disrespectful to the team and your teammates have been on the rink for 30 minutes. THIS IS NOT OKAY! If you aren’t committed and serious then don’t waste my time!”
I heard her and understood what she was saying, but paid not mind. Sure it rattled me for the first 15 seconds, but then I remembered that I left work 45 minutes early to make the effort to be there early, had to stop by and get cash for the payment they required since I had not one check left in my check book, and I was just in a car accident and made the effort to get checked out by a doctor be sure I could still be there. The traffic that held me back from getting there on time was out of my control and I have no scent of irresponsibility or inconsiderateness on my hands.
As I stood watching the other members do their laps, I could hear my heart race in nervousness from the frantic suiting up I just did and the yelling that just happened. I took deep breaths and remembered that I did nothing wrong, and that I was going to begin from where I am at, not compare myself to others, and proceed at a pace that builds on where I am at. I will listen to what I need and challenge myself at the right level. After the other members did two laps I waddled my way in and just let myself get comfortable with being in new gear, on skates, on a new surface, and surrounded my at least 25 other female skaters of various levels.
Most women were doing drills between sprinting and position/squats, and I merely skated around to get settled in. We stopped to do some good stretches and get our gear checked out.
We then proceeded to do a lap “in position” (learned forward, squatting as low as you can go), doing duck/plie walks, and walking on our stops. My lower back was getting tight and I had to take small quick breaks due to it. It’s obvious my core muscles need lots of work to hold that position in place while supporting my back.
At this time I was feeling a bit more comfortable, but still clumsy in my ability to stand from a sitting position, stop without grabbing onto something, and start from pushing off my stopper.
Next was learning 3 falling and 2 stopping technique. Eesh I was nervous as all heck, but feeling comfortable at being there and knowing I wasn’t going to be the only one having trouble. Shit this is first time! I can’t expect to do it perfect right? I’m here to practice and learn, and do it all crazy and get better.
Sure enough the first try was very messy, but after about 4-6 runs through each technique I seemed to get a little better and less sacred. I noticed other members who were struggling like me which helped normalize the situation anyway.
I also noticed that I was now doing things like standing up from down position much easier, and pushing off my stopper to start skating AND stopping a bit easier using my stopper or pivoting out my skate to turn around to a stop. Oh damn these were accomplishments for me. I guess I had no choice but to do them since we were moving along the drills quickly.
So Day 1 of Roller Derby Boot Camp was a success. I definitely tapped into my own support system and allowed myself to be where I am and push myself harder into things I wasn’t sure I could do. Even though there is yelling from the trainers, tales of injury, and consequences of not following rules, I still feel like it’s a safe place to be challenged in getting out of my comfort zone. I can see that the trainers say what they say out of concern for our safety and optimal progress potential.
When I arrived at the warehouse for RDBC, I was a nervous mess, but when I left the warehouse on cloud nine and ready to take the next steps. I know that other members there are ahead of me and that some members will advance faster than me, but I am not them and they are not me. I just want to advance to the best me. In actuality, all I wanted was to survive Day 1, and I did.