Sometimes what I’m told in practice really resonates with me. Usually it’s some type of advice designed to make me a better player (it does), but sometimes I apply it to life outside of derby. It’s sort of an outside motivator, and if you’re like me, you need a lot of motivation to do just about anything. This will probably be the cheesiest and clichéd article we’ll have in our fresh meat series, but I’m okay with that.
“Don't be afraid of falling, it's going to happen a lot. The sooner you get used to it the quicker you learn.”
My junior derby coach told me that, the first day of junior league practice. As I mentioned in my previous article, I was a little too scared to let go of the wall; but she convinced and I fell and then I learned. I slowly learned how to fall the right way, and then how to catch myself. This is a valuable skill for the real world. It's okay to mess up, and make mistakes, you learn from them. Sometimes you’ll catch yourself mid fall, and save yourself some embarrassment, but it happens to the best of us. Everyone falls at one point or another, but it’s really about how quickly they recover from that fall that matters.
“Keep pushing, don't stop!”
This is something my teammates say to me every practice. I try and sometimes fail at pushing through the brick wall that’s made up of my fellow teammates. I may have fallen but I didn’t give up. I kept pushing, like they told me, and like I tell myself. Sometimes I struggle in my life, but I hear my teammates’ voices in my head telling me to keep pushing, and that’s exactly what I do. I keep pushing and I never stop, I like to think it’s what my team would want me to do. (This sounds like the cat poster that says, “Hang in there!”)
“Don't be afraid to use your teammates.”
Dirty Kopp said this to me one night at practice. What she meant was, “use your blockers, they’re there for a reason,” and that I can't block by myself. The next drill we did, I made sure she was with me, and I did what she told me. She was right of course, it’s way easier to use your blockers instead of going at it alone. Just like it’s easier to ask for help instead of trying to face things by yourself in daily life. That’s why you have your friends and family, they’re like your blockers. They’ll help you through anything.
There's usually a shrug and an "Oh well," at the beginning of that phrase. It's basically the equivalent of "C'est la vie," or "That's life." Derby is one of the most frustrating and fulfilling sports I have ever played. It’s frustrating because you can give everything you have, and push yourself past your limits in a bout and still lose. You wonder what you did wrong, but it’s not about what you did wrong, sometimes it just happens. The only thing you can do is go out in the next bout give it your all. Maybe then you’ll win. Losing doesn’t make you any less of a person or player, in fact it makes you better, and stronger, and that’s derby.
I usually hold on to the praise and compliments I get from my team and save them for my bad days. When things aren’t going right for me, I think back to Sunday or Wednesday night’s practices and I can hear my teammates cheering me on, and supporting the rest of our derby family. They all have good advice to give and share, all you have to do is listen.
That’s all for now—we’ll meet again in the Grindhouse.