To skate roller derby, one needs to be willing to make some sacrifices with their spare time. We all have things we would like to be doing during practice time: sleeping, cleaning, shopping, relaxing with our families and children, catching up on work. We practice 3 nights a week. For 2 1/2hours. The Guns'N'Rollers in Oregon practice 5 nights a week for 3 hours. If you want to learn how to play the game, then come to practice and pay attention.
To skate roller derby, one needs to learn how to read their body. If you hit the floor of COURSE its going to hurt! It sucks getting nailed in the ribs with your wind knocked out! Every single time PoundHer-Down gives a hip hit, it is GOING TO REALIGN YOUR SPINAL COLUMN. It comes with the territory. If you are hitting the floor and crying for 2 minutes, stopping a Jam to make sure the entire room knows that you just took a big hit, and then getting up ready to skate again... stop. Thats not how we play. We play full contact. Know when you can get up and skate it off or if your body is telling you you need to stop and stop skating. If you break your collar bone, if you bust an ankle, if you tear your ACL, stop the game. But don't be a party pooper. When the 3rd Jam is called off for you but you keep getting back up to skate after having yourself a good meltdown, it just gets old.
I've been thinking about putting all the above in writing for awhile now, just didn't know how. And now you have it. Plus I think we shoud have a practice with yoga. So low and behold, to my utter amazement, I was reading my USARS magazine and they had a special on BOTH! What?!? Right? What are the odds? They featured an article by Clara Nipper called Yoga for Derby GIrls (pg. 11), on the "yin and yang" that make roller derby and yoga. Consider it. A few pages later (pg. 16) they had the Handy Index of Excuses by Bunnie Low-Browski from her Everybody Loves Bunny blogspot. Here it is for those of you who do not read your USARS magazine:
Handy Index of Excuses
Ever feel like giving up? Is derby too hard today? Is this drill killing you? No, you're just getting started. When those thoughts creep in just remember- you can change everything by changing your mind. If you believe it, it's already the truth. So go ahead and try it out. Next time you start to feel like you should just coast off to the side and maybe sit down for a second, maybe take a breather... check this "Handy Index of Excuses" and follow the prescription.
Play smarter. Take big, deep breaths. And, stop whining, everyone is tired! This is roller derby!
-I need water.
Yeah. And are you going to die of thirst before this drill is over? Think about kids in Haiti. Maybe they're thirsty too. But do they stop in the middle of drills to go get water? No. No, they don't.
-I'm gonna PUKE!
Cool man, trash can is right over there. Remember to hydrate and get right back in, we need a jammer.
-I need to stretch.
OK. In fact, why don't we all just stretch? And we'll take off our skates and get mats. We can put on Moby and we'll call it Yoga...no, but really though. Stretch what you need to stretch. But do it with the quickness, we're down a man.
-I'm having an off day.
Oh yeah? I'm having an "off" life. That's the reason I play derby. This is your time off from everything else. So whatever is on your mind, get over it and get in the game.
-I have a headache/cold sore/runny nose/stomach virus/ halitosis/backache/sore throat/etc.
So, are you in or out? Because, if you're in, you're going to have to let that all fade into the nether regions of your gigantic brain. You can do anything you want; even with your runny nose. And Hydrate!
-I have the flu.
GO home! NOW! Before you get us all sick! You are crazy!! ...but I dig the commitment, dude. Next time, call in.
-I'm too weak. I'm out of shape. My endurance is lacking.
Wonder why? Here's a news flash- building your endurance and strength actually! (Literally!) Physically! HURTS! But don't worry: it won't hurt as bad next time.
-I'm too slow.
Look at the big picture. Maybe today you're falling behind the pack. Maybe today you didn't make 25 in five, but this is only the beginning. Get to speed skating practices and keep focused on the goal. Work on your stride and form, and show some hustle. You'll never get faster if you stop.
-I'm too big. I'm too small.
Don't drink the Kool-Aid. Roller derby is for every body type. Find the strengths in being big or small. Find a favorite player who looks like your body double. Watch how they use their size to the good....then, do that.
-....I'll never make a roster.
Not with that attitude. Decide not to give in to excuses. You should know by now there are no good ones. You either do or you don't. So put your mouth guard in, and go knock someone down!