Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are You Having Fun Yet?

“Are you having fun yet?”

That’s the question that was asked me at Monday’s ill-fated, crappy attitude by yours truly’s practice and is the question that rested with me for the better part of yesterday, in part fueled by a comment or two (okay, the only comment or two!) offered up by readers.
And as I pondered that question, “Am I having fun with this roller derby adventure?” I took to taking a bit of a mental pros and cons inventory, trying to answer that very question.  Of course, rocket scientist that I am failed to take into account my nonexistent memory banks at this point and those nifty little categories have fallen by the wayside. 

But, never fear; I’m going to try and offer up just a few that seem to ebb and flow at the edge of my memory banks and share the answer to this pressing question, “Am I having fun yet?”
Let’s start with the positive and go from there.

When I first decided to start this journey, I was definitely feeling left out of the derby world as a whole. I know deep down that much of that exclusion was more internal, my feeling shy and whatnot as opposed to anything tangible or real by those out there, but, regardless, I felt like an outsider. Yet, I’ll confess that now that I’ve been in the rink and on skates, I feel less like that outsider and, while not completely an “insider,” at least good enough to hang around the conversation.
And yes, I’ve met some people. Good people, real people, and very encouraging people have all stepped forward with consistently well-timed words of wisdom and “’Atta boys!”  It’s really surprisingly really, as every other sport I’ve ever played involved no small amount of posturing and sizing each other up. And while derby isn’t fully excluded from that, it’s also one of the more welcoming circles I’ve entered into. They’ve not only welcomed me into their roller rink but also into their homes and lives and for that I’m grateful and look forward to more.

I have had some small victories thus far, with something as simple as managing to stay upright longer than twelve seconds being the initial, not to mention failing to break any more bones on subsequent falls. I’ve challenged myself, with the aid of some nudges from the sidelines, and have raced (sure, it was slow and yes, I lost, badly…) in a drill or two and have even had the opportunity to do a beyond slow jam with the team just to get a feel.  Okay, so that was really fun.
And, even though it’s on the periphery of the whole experience, I’ve really enjoyed maintaining this little blog, sharing my experience, whiny some days and jubilant on others, with you guys. It’s provided me an outlet to write and share and is a great tool for processing my derby experiences while hopefully opening doors down the road.

Okay, so those are some good things.  And I even used the word “fun” in there.
Now for the “not so fun.”

Huh, that’s weird. I’m kinda having a tough time thinking of the negative aspects of this deal.  I mean, sure, I can point to things like feeling like a total dork dressed up in all my derby finery while rolling round and round with a dose of up and down tossed in for good measure around our mini track at the end of the floor.  And yes, rushing to practice after a long, long day at work every time can be daunting and, like Monday, downright frustrating.
And sure, I’m still totally lacking confidence in my skills, unsure with my footing and uncomfortable going around turns.  And snowplows?  Don’t even get me started.

And yes, it sucks, sucks, sucks to be on the bottom rung looking up the ladder watching skaters who literally make me feel like a baby out on the track. It’s quite a blow to one’s pride.
But, as ProseHack so eloquently reminded me in a comment to yesterday’s post, “Positive thinking equals positive results! This is not a competition between is a competition between what your mind says you can do and what your body says you can do. NEVER LISTEN TO YOUR BODY because it limits you. And never let your mind tell you that you can't...because you CAN.”

And I’m not gonna let myself down on this one. I’ve a few regrets in my past and those that linger in my memory the most typically are associated with giving up on things prematurely, to not seeing them done through.
I’m not giving up.

And, okay, while maybe I didn’t on Monday, I am having fun.
Huh, I'm having fun. How 'bout that?
Just a question for those of you who’ve been there before, what keeps you guys coming back? What is the thing that pulls you back for more, even when you’ve had that crappy practice or that junky day? What about derby draws you back again and again?

(And please continue to consider giving to our little charity project, RescueProject Rainbow, as we attempt to help raise funds that will be used to provide Christmas gifts and more for families raising developmentally disabled children.  Any and all help is appreciated and I implore you to please share the link with all of your social media friends. Let’s show them that the derby community cares!)


  1. What keeps me coming back? Honestly? It's a few things:

    1. The incredibly exhausting workout. I have a hard time shutting my brain down at night. When I've had the chance to really practice, I'm too darn tired to think!

    2. Because I am not a natural at skating and I have a huge learning curve. There are always nay-sayers out there. I want to prove them wrong. No one who knew me even after the first year I started (November 2007) would have expected me to stick with it. I did. So there. ;)

    3. I believe roller derby is as much a mental outlet as a physical outlet. It builds confidence and brings you outside your comfort zone. I'm no doctor, but I think keeping your mind and body engaged beyond the normal fare has to be good for you in the longrun.

  2. I really like #2. Wait, that didn't sound right; I really like answer #2. I'm one of those people, those who hates to be told that he can't do something. Now I may tell myself that tons of times but for someone else to challenge me? Well, I'll be damned if I let someone else dictate my future for me...