So I started roller derby on November 14th, 2010. Almost exactly 8 months later, on July 9th, the girls from my fresh meat ‘class’ were set to take our minimum skills. Now, there was a lot of us who started out in November, but our numbers had dropped significantly, which probably only 6 or 7 of us regularly attending the Freshie practices each week. For the few months leading up to minimum skills, I was absolutely dreading them. I was not ready, I was always in pain, my skills were not at the level of the other girls in my class. I was freaking out. I did not want to be the only girl who didn’t make it through.
In the weeks before minimum skills testing, I spoke with our head coach. I was hemming and hawing about whether or not I should do them. Down the wire, the week we were set to test, I had to make a decision. I took 30 seconds to run through the pros and cons, was over taken with a sense of confidence and opened my mouth to say “Yes! Lets do it! I am a badass roller derby player with mad skillz!” Before those words could actually leave my mouth though, my coach announced “I think you should wait until the fall.”
I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.
I nodded okay, and said I understood completely. That I was fine with it. That it didn’t matter. That I agreed with her. But inside, I was devastated. On the way home I called my partner, and cried. Then I called my mom, and cried. Then I got home and talked to the cat, and cried. I felt judged. Was I really that bad? My partner told me that it just meant I needed to really commit myself to working harder. I got angry. I was working hard! I worked my butt off every practice! Kindly, my partner pointed out that yes, I worked hard at the practices. But I only went to one practice a week. I never skated outdoors despite buying outdoor wheels. I never worked on conditioning outside of practice, even though I said I would.
All of these things are true. Does it mean I don’t work hard? That I am not committed to derby? Absolutely not. I have just mistakenly believed that eventually derby would be easy for me.
Derby is not easy for me.