This season hasn’t turned out exactly as I had imagined it would so far. I don’t mean that in a bad way either. I’ve probably learned and understood more than I ever could have hoped.
When I started roller derby a little more than a year ago, I didn’t know anything about the sport. I hadn’t even been on skates in almost 10 years.
My fresh meat self came in with an inflated ego and some very unrealistic ideals and expectations. I was always good at sports so in turn, I’d be good at derby. There would be no reason for me not to get rostered by the end of the season. I was involved in everything, at every activity and made more than the minimum practices. I was awesome!
Then reality sunk in. Derby was not something that was going to come easy. Just because I showed up to more events and practices did not mean I would have an advantage over my other teammates. I was not awesome.
I wanted things to go my way. It hurt. I thought about quitting.
My teammates didn’t sugar coat it either when I talked to them. They told me some day I would understand. I hated them a little at times. The truth is—they were right.
I ended my first season of derby never even getting to “sit the bench” as an alternate. My ego was popped.
Now, you’ve all read about my trials and tribulations. This year has really been a great year for me. I started it with a new attitude and lookout. I also busted my ass to get better and continue to do so. (Despite a minor setback from heat, but that’s a whole other story.)
When the roster was posted for the very first bout, I jumped out of my seat with joy. No really, I did. At the bottom of the list I found my name among the alternates. I’d accomplished something. In that moment, all the heartache I had felt the previous season went away. I was on that roster as an alternate because I had worked hard and earned it. It wasn’t by default or because I thought I deserved it. It felt good. That’s not the end of the story though.
A week before the bout my rostered teammate tripped and broke her ankle. I remember telling her it was just a bruise. Then she called and gave me the news that I would be skating. I was in disbelief until the morning of the bout when she stood in front of me with her leg in a brace. “Oh damn, I’m really skating today.”
I took a seat at the end of the bench, put a smile on my face and expected to never get up, but I was ok with that. To my surprise though, I skated, and I have in every bout since that very day. And I get. I get what it means to skate on bout day.