Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Image Issues

Yeah, it's a look only a mother could love...
Okay, so while I’m still in the process of learning to skate which, of course, is simply the primer to derby domination (fingers crossed!), I got to looking at a few of the pictures that we’ve taken thus far along the journey.  And, well, wow…

I’m seriously in need of an image makeover.
And deep down, I guess I sort of knew it.  Part of it stems from simply lacking the confidence within right now as I step into the rink.  I’m surrounded by skaters far more accomplished and much farther along in their journeys than myself and that’s a bit intimidating.  Even those who’ve only been doing it for a little while longer manage to affect far more swagger into their roll than I.  And those who’ve been rocking this sport for a while, well, they just make me feel silly.

Sure, I already felt silly sitting down and wearing more gear than I’ve worn in just about ever, save for a brief stint of Pee-Wee football.  From the skates, knee pads, the elbow pads, the wrist guards, the mouth guard, and the way cool helmet, I feel more like the classic “fat guy in a little coat” as opposed to a fierce warrior gearing up for battle.
Oh, and did I mention the smell of these items?  You’re right; I probably don’t need to mention it because you’re probably smelling it right now. Rest assured, rookie; that new pad smell?  Yeah, it lasts just about long enough for you to take them out of the box and stick them on your body.  After that, you’ll officially smell like death for the duration of your sporting activities.  And while you can mask those odors with Febreeze and all those fancy sprays, it’s still there, lurking, lying in wait.  And when you least expect it, there it is again.

So yeah, I put on all of this stuff and, well, you can see for yourself in the above picture.  This is not the picture of a roller derby juggernaut; instead, there’s a sense of dorkiness personified.
See, here’s the thing.  When I walk out onto the track, I want to inspire fear in the heart of the opposition, not that I’ve faced any yet, but you get the picture.  Like Aragorn, King Leonidas, or even better, Darth Vader, setting foot on the battlefield, I want opposing skaters to look my way and tremble. 

And at one time, in another sport, I could manage that.  I remember my old glory days playing volleyball and having that ability to set foot on a court and to instantly command some sense of respect.  It wasn’t cocky but it was confident and self-assured, knowing that within me lay the tools, the skill, and most importantly, the hard work invested, to get the job done.  And it oozed from my pores.
At least that’s how it felt.

"Luke, I am your jammer..."
And now, as I’ve opened the door on this whole new world, I think the thing that intimidates me the most is that I’ve not put in that hard work and thus, lack all the tools thus far.  Sure, I look like a full-on nerd with all the gear but I can live with that if I have the tools; without?  Not so much.  And there’s part of me that sincerely and strongly believes that I can do this thing, that I can truly see myself grow and strengthen and rise to the level of those who I watch and, in many ways, admire.
But, let’s be honest, when you’re out there, skating (if it can be called that yet) around a mini-sized oval,  watching the “bigs” rock it on the real track, hustling and bustling like it’s nobody’s business, and your sole victory is that you didn’t fall and bust your ass that time?  Yeah, that’s a little intimidating.

However, I keep reminding myself, “This is new, knucklehead!  If it was easy, nobody would do it!” 
And, weird as it sounds, I’m right.  So I’m going to keep fighting and working, sans any more broken bones, I hope, and, perhaps, one day, I’ll be able to walk in the rink, gear up, and step onto the track and truly look cool.

Until then, I’ll just have to bask in my dorkiness.
But I still wouldn’t mind a Darth Vader derby helmet or something.  Gotta take confidence wherever you can get it, right?

(And please remember, the families and children of Project Rainbow need YOUR help!  Please, please, please help this amazing program provide a wonderful Christmas for these families while helping to promote the good name of roller derby worldwide!  Let's show this world what an amazing community derby possesses!  To donate or for more info: And please share this link with all your friends!)

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