Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sometimes, It's Just Hard

Way back in January, the Red Rockettes coaches announced that there would be a real, live, put-on-your-big-girl-no-pants bout against the Black Diamond Divas. The BDDs are one of the Wasatch Roller Derby home teams. They're the real deal. Until now, we've only scrimmaged against each other, and twice against the Happy Valley Derby Darlins. The thought of playing against a Wasatch team scared most of us, and it really really scared me.

It's been a long, stressful road to this bout. For the last three months, this bout has been a source of motivation, pressure, competition, stress, intensity, and terror. For starters, our mamas had to create a roster of only fourteen players out of a pool of fifty. Fifty girls competing for fourteen spots creates a lot of pressure. But it also creates a lot of motivation to make attendance, work hard, and get picked for the final roster.

We went through three rounds of cuts over these months before the final roster was announced. Fifty was scaled back to about twenty-five; twenty-five went down to seventeen, then the final fourteen bout players were officially announced a few weeks ago. We knew three of those spots belonged to the mamas, so we were really competing for only eleven spots. After each round of cuts, an updated list was emailed to the group. When I made it through the first round, I breathed a sigh of relief and the lump of anxiety in my stomach started to grow.

When I made it through the second round, I fist pumped and told myself, "This is enough. Making it this far is good enough for me." There was much rejoicing in Bone land. Then...

What has two thumbs and made it on the final roster? This gal.

And what has two thumbs, made the roster, and has been self-imploding ever since?

Also this gal.

It's not that I'm ungrateful or not flattered to have been picked; I am incredibly humbled and appreciative that I made it this far. It blows me away that the mamas have enough faith in my abilities to put me on the track alongside them, and against really tough components. But along with the flattery came feelings of guilt, because there are so many girls who deserve this more than me. There are girls who never miss a practice, they work their butts off, they go to the extra practices, and their positive attitudes are contagious.

Then there's me. I've been beating myself up this entire session, for a million different reasons. My skills aren't improving, I keep gaining weight, I'm tired all the time, I'm slow on the track, I let negative people get to me, on and on. I feel like I've lost my drive to get better, which makes me feel even worse because I know that's my choice, that's in my control, and I haven't done anything to change it. I have only myself to blame. I haven't even wanted to blog in over a month, I haven't followed up on my three-part series for the Rockettes, nothing. That's how I really know it's gotten bad - I've had zero motivation.

Plus my anxiety over turning thirty hasn't helped at all. I remember Manna telling me months ago, "Once your body hits thirty, it's all downhill from there." I didn't think my body could go downhill any faster, but apparently it's only going to get worse. (Note: actually turning thirty wasn't bad at all, thanks to all the people who made it amazing, but that's for another post.) It was just the idea of being thirty that was depressing me.

The roster skaters (we're in the process of coming up with an official name for the bout. I think it's something along the lines of Bloody Sphincters or something like that) have been scrimmaging against everyone else. "Everyone Else" means all the other Rockettes, along with any Wasatch or Salt City derby girls who come to scrimmage.

Last week, there were lots of Wasatch girls who came to play. And when I say they came to play, they came to play. Many of the Wasatch girls came from the all-star team, Midnight Terror. Midnight Terror skaters are the best of the best; they're like celebrities to me - just hearing their names makes me pee a little. Girls like Skull Candy, Skatey Gaga, and Harry Slaughter. They're terrifying, and I was out on the track with them.

So how did I handle it? Well, the first time I went out, I stuck my pointer finger up Skull Candy's butt. Literally, I think I poked her butthole. I wish I could tell you how exactly this happened, bit all I know is that it did. And she wasn't even phased! She gave me kind of a weird look, and then proceeded to leave me in her dust as she sped off.

This is so typical Bone. I go out there, determined to make a good impression on my derby idols, and instead I violated the butt of one of the most amazing jammers you'll ever see. I desperately wanted them to think I was cool, and then I spent the rest of the night telling everyone to smell my finger.

It was a hard scrimmage. Our bench manager (who also happens to be my derby wife) did an amazing job of putting our lineups together, and trying to figure out what works best. I tried to listen, I tried to do what I was told, but nothing was working. Every jam, I felt like I spent all my time falling behind and trying to catch up. I was slow, out of breath, weak, and taking up space on the track. I felt like I was fresh meat all over again, and I was mentally beating myself up.

But I kept a brave face and didn't fall apart. I was actually doing pretty well until Bruiser Ego came over to me at the end.

You know how there are certain people that you never ever want to let down? You don't want them to see you when you're weak or vulnerable; you never want to disappoint them. That's how Bruiser is for me. She came over and hugged me, and I just lost it. I was sobbing on her shoulder, hoping that no one would notice.

I whispered through my tears, "I don't belong here. They made a huge mistake putting me on this roster, I shouldn't even be out there. I don't belong here."

Of course Bruiser was sweet and comforting, and she gave me words of encouragement. She said, "You absolutely do belong here."

She didn't blow smoke up my ass by trying to build me up with false compliments, she wasn't just being nice; I really believed her when she said that I belonged there. Maybe I just needed to have a moment, and it just happened to be on Bruiser's shoulder. But she said exactly what I needed to hear.

I do belong with the Rockettes, even if it's only to make people laugh because I stuck my finger up Skull Candy's butt.