You’ve Got Mail
There it sits. It hit my inbox last night.
The call to arms…the announcement for the first sign up/practice for the Cherries with the Desert Dolls Roller Derby League.
Next Wednesday, all of this talking will be done, and it will be time for me to walk the walk…or skate the skate, as it were.
I knew to expect it sometime toward the end of the month. I’ve been excited about it; and, I’ve been dreading it, too. Against my better judgement, I’ve continued to talk about it, write about it, and think about derby non-stop. I started working with a trainer at the gym late last year, so that I could get into some sort of shape to be able to try out.
After spending all day with derby on the brain, and a stomach in knots, Dave, Ben and I headed to the gym. My trainer, Jill, was excited to hear that the date had been set, and took Ben and I out onto the floor. She came up with some new exercises to try, geared toward helping with balance and agility.
One of the first ones she wanted me to do was an easy one. I was to stand facing a pedestal. It was a small one…only about a foot high. She wanted me to jump up onto the stand, landing as lightly as I could with both feet. Suddenly, the fear that had been clawing at the edges of my psyche all of this time over derby ripped through and I got stuck. I couldn’t make my feet move off of the floor. I started sweating, and tried to will myself to do it.
I knew that it wasn’t going to tip over. I’ve watched people do the same exact thing. Ben can jump up onto the higher ones with no hesitation. In my mind, I kept picturing a guy that we’d seen jumping several months ago. He’d been jumping up onto one of the stands that was much higher…maybe four feet high. Suddenly, he missed, and hit his shin on the way down. He hit so hard that it raised a huge knot immediately, and he couldn’t get up off of the floor. The pain was incredible and they had to half-carry him out.
Jill could see that I was having a hard time, and wanted to move on to something else. She’s good at adapting to my skill level, while still pushing me.
I took a deep breath and jumped up. I did it!
She had me do it nine more times, and it took a lot of mental scolding, telling myself that there was no reason I couldn’t do it. If I had just done it, rather than stand there thinking about it, I would have been fine.
This is a lesson that I am going to have to remember. It’s like that line in Bull Durham:
“You just got lesson number one. Don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.”
About a week ago, I found a group on Facebook, called Derby Over 40. I started reading the posts and I was blown away. like so many other people who I’ve “met” online, this community is full of some truly inspirational people.
Suddenly, I have a place where I can pose a serious question and, rather than the “Rah! Rah! You can do it!” responses (which are great in their own way) I get honest, thoughtful advice, tips, reassurance and support.
Posting that I am feeling absolutely terrified because I was never a great skater as a kid, because I haven’t been on skates in years and years and because the first time I put on skates in years, I ended up with a broken elbow earned countless comments about how many had never skated at all before derby, or who went to their first practice with their skates in the box they’d come in.
I got links to YouTube videos and all sorts of tips. My favorite was, “Don’t look at the floor. It’s not going anywhere and if you watch it, you’ll end up kissing it!”
I’m a little distressed at how many broken bones people have had; but, they all healed and went right back to skating.
The best part is that every single person in this group is over the age of forty. Many didn’t even start derby until after forty. Time and again, I saw, “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number!”
With one kid graduating from high school on Tuesday, and the other getting promoted from eighth grade on Thursday next week, I’ve got plenty of reasons to try to forget my age and try something new…just in time for my 44th birthday on the 28th!
P.S. Once I get my derby name, I’ll get to update my signature. I have some ideas; but, they have to be cleared through the Derby Name Register. Stay tuned!