I have finally made my-not so-triumphant return to the world of roller derby, it’s only been 3 weeks but it’s been a tough 3 weeks of not being able to skate! Aaagh! But finally, now I have returned.
My last post I shared with you what it’s like being stuck off skates and not able to join in, so now I’m going to share with you just what it was like going back after 3 weeks of not skating.
Second of all, I’ve learnt that you know what, it’s OKAY to be a little scared!! When you take a fall or a hit or anything in any sport where you get an actual legit injury, it’s perfectly natural to have a little fear to go back into it. I for one am still a little nervous about hard contact right now. I’m more than happy to make contact while we’re practicing blocking and such but when it comes to the end games where there’s harder contact involved, in particular in a pack, right now I’m a little nervous. Not necessarily because I’m scared of taking a hit, because of course I’m not, I’m playing roller derby! More because I know that I probably still have some tissue damage on my head, and even with my very pretty and awesome super well fitting new helmet, I don’t want to risk taking a hit and potentially knocking my head as it’s probably still a little fragile. I’m going to ease back into the hard contact stuff.
That leads me onto another lesson I learned, which is that there really is no need to rush, I think there’s probably a lot of people who start as a pre min in roller derby and all they’re thinking about is, “I can’t wait to pass my min skills and compete, I just want to get through my min skills so I can play!” I know I was involved in that group. The truth is however, as you start progressing and learning more and getting better, for myself anyway, that attitude has diminished. It’s not getting through your min skills so you can score points and compete that’s important. It’s progressing in a way you feel comfortable, doing things you never thought you would be able to do, making more friends than you thought it would ever possible to have and being part of this amazing community that stretches so much further than your own team.
Some people even decide that playing in bouts and competing isn’t their end goal for derby at all, instead it’s just becoming amazing on skates and being part of this amazing sport. You don’t need to compete in bouts to be an important, even crucial part of roller derby, there’s always a need for referees, NSOs (non skating officials), announcers and so much more! And with the variety of roles you can play in the sustenance of this awesome sport comes one even more important thing: absolutely no pressure.
And isn’t that amazing? To know that you’re under no pressure to do anything you don’t want to do, and to still be important. My first session back everyone was so happy to see me back on skates, and everyone has been so supportive, even when I’ve asked to sit out or when I’m apologising for getting tired and falling more than usual. Nobody laughs (well they do because we all do!), or tuts, or gets frustrated, because that’s not what it’s about, it’s not about pushing each other to breaking point beyond something they’re able to do, it’s about being patient, giving and receiving guidance and learning at whatever pace you are comfortable with.
I know I’ll get back to where I was before and then even better, and better and better, in however much time I decide I want to. So if you’re having some time off and thinking about going back soon, and you’re a little scared. That’s so unbelievably fine! Just take your time, ease back in and take some time to focus on getting your techniques absolutely down instead of trying to get things done quicker, or ticked off quicker, just because you think you should.
As somebody said to me after I finished training today: “Get your technique absolutely down, and the rest will follow on its own.”
What’s the point in being able to do something, if you can’t do it well? Or indeed comfortably and confidently.
The final thing I will say is simple: I AM BACK ON SKATES AND ABSOLUTELY LOVING IT!
Keep on rolling and being excellent to each other!
Sarah (BecksRated) xxxx