Friday, April 20, 2012

I don't know about you, but I'd really like to table this.

I haven't written much about roller derby lately. "I'm going to the derby. Roller, not Kentucky." That's my favorite thing my friend Jennifer said about attending my first bout. Jennifer cracks me up.

When I think about why I haven't written much about derby, it's because I'm having some problems with my mental game right now. I'm aware of this. I'm not entirely sure what to do about it at this moment, but I know it's an issue. I would tell you I am working on it, but that would be a lie. I can't quite put my finger on all of it, so how could I be working on it?  I need a working definition first, and then, I'll get right on it.  Maybe.

I just know I'm on a derby low right now.  And I'm trying to sort it all out. 

I still love the game. I still love the skating. I've hit a place where I see girls who I taught to stop, fall, turn, and hit surpassing my skating abilities. I don't begrudge them this at all. I'm actually quite a proud little derby mama when they knock me down because I know I have had a hand in that skill. I taught them well. Especially the ones who literally could not skate when they arrived.  When one gets up on her toestops and runs, I think, "I remember when she couldn't even stand still on her toestops without falling over." I remember when I couldn't stand on my toestops without falling over either.   And thanks to good instruction from VIP and a lot of practice, I can run backwards on them uphill both ways. But not in the snow... Snow would be bad.

You might be saying, "Reckless, get back in there and up your game. Beat up those girls you taught.  Get crucial.  Make it intense.  Degrassi it up."

I agree.   However, it doesn't work always that way.

Sometimes, you push yourself and nothing happens. There is a thing called a plateau.  I'm camping on one right now.  And this campground has flushing toilets, electricity, and good food.  I'm finding it hard to pack up and leave because it's a pretty comfortable place.

I was on a plateau last July, too, and it spread out as far as my beady little eyes could see. It was discouraging. However, I figured if I kept skating I would eventually get off it. I did. I didn't see it at the time, but if I look back I can see that expanse and know I'm beyond that particular place. I can also look at the pictures of all the bruises I had last July, August, and September. 

The photos of bruises are ugly evidence that I was challenging my body to do something it wasn't used to. 

I was Degrassi in living color.  Ask me.

I call those pictures the Derby Dozen.  Maybe I'll post them all together sometime.

I was pushing myself, and I spent months making out with the floor. The floor and I got very personal, even strangely intimate in moments (We have special derby names for those injuries where we land on a wheel or skate.  Ask me in person so I don't further contribute to the delinquency of minors who come to this site looking for pictures of a naked housewife.).

It was frustrating. It was painful. I was angry at my body for not responding the way I envisioned it responding in my head. I told my feet to turn one way, and they just stayed still. I told my hips to hit the girl on my left, and I fell on the floor. It felt like I was not making any progress, and there were many moments when I left the floor on the verge of tears wondering how I had ever made a team. And, yes, there were moments where I wanted to quit. I *may* have almost quit after every practice for months. But, then, I'd wake up the next morning and decide I would give it one more practice and then decide if I would quit.  We know I didn't quit, but I wanted to.   

I had to skate it out. When I looked back months later, I realized one day that I could do something I couldn't do a few months ago. And then I was off the plateau. Progress was noticeable.

I realized not too long ago that I can actually do a decent running start on my skates now.  I know I couldn't do one at all last September.  I don't jam, so I had not practiced it in drills for months.   When I went to show some Crash Test Hunnies what it was supposed to look like, I did it.   I'm not sure when I started doing a running toe stop without having to psych myself up for it and really concentrate on what I was doing, but somewhere between September and last Thursday, it happened.

So, I know I make progress. I just do it slowly.  I have to wait and skate this place out, too. 

But here's part of the problem with that. 

I just don't want to.

I've become a camper.

And although I'm telling myself it's time to leave the campground because my vacation time is running out, I've realized my car is dead because I purposely left the door open all night to drain the battery.  And then, I'm all, "Whee! Vacay extended until someone can drive me to Costco."

I know.  The camping metaphor isn't working for me either.  And neither is the camping, but...

Sometimes, it's hard to fight through a good thing to get to something even better.  

I know I need to skate it out, and I know I need to put in at least 95% effort (I know you are arguing for 100%, but I don't feel like having a major injury right now, thankyouverymuch.  100% is registering as a broken ankle or whiplash or torn meniscus today.).  And 95% is far greater than the 72.4% I'm pretty sure I have been operating at for the last two months.

I, in no way, shape, or form, think 72.4% is acceptable.  72.4% is passable.  It's safe.  It involves no risk.  I won't arrive anywhere with 72.4%.  In fact, as far as The Game of Roller Derby is concerned, I'll never arrive.  The game is constantly evolving.  The limits of skating skill get challenged every single day.

I need to challenge my body to do something it's arguing with my mind about, but I'm not sure how to get my brain to agree to ramp it up to 95% in order to get my body to stop shouting at my mind. 

Do you see my problem? Conundrum much? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Defeatist elitist?

I know part of my mental block is all the injuries around me right now.  They are everywhere.  And some are pretty gruesome (sorry, ladies).  I think I'm afraid I can't get off this plateau without a serious injury, and rather than skate full force (or at least 95%) to get beyond it, I've been skating in slow circles to avoid that injury and stay where I am.  It even sounds ridiculous as I type it, but I know I'm drinking that Kool Aid.  It's cold, and it sure tastes good. 

I'm psyching myself out.  I'm tabling my own internal discussion. I'll get back to it after the Muertas play the Mafia.