May 2013 06

Quick survey, are you frustrated with the progress of your training? Are there things that you can’t do perfectly and really wish you could? Yes? Congratulations, you’re part of the 99% of roller derby players or wannabes who are suffering from “wish-I-could syndrome”. Here’s the reality, wishing doesn’t get stuff done. It sucks, I know, I WISH wishing got stuff done, I really do! But take it from someone who worked for over 3 years to lose 20kg. Trust me, that weight didn’t just get wished away. It was really really hard, but I feel that I’m a stronger person inside for the struggle that I endured… but this isn’t a weight-loss story, this is a derby story.

So here’s another reality – roller derby is a sport and sports are challenging – yeah, it’s meant to be hard. That’s why we do it, right? For the challenge. You don’t play poker because you have an uncanny knack of always knowing what cards your opponent is holding, or play basket ball because the ball is guaranteed to ALWAYS go in the hoop. You train for derby to get better at it, to learn something new, to reach goals and to accomplish something. If reaching goals was easy, if jumping the apex was easy, then there wouldn’t be any fun in learning it and there wouldn’t be any reward in nailing it. It would just be something that happens to everyone. Boring!

Hey, remember when crossing over was scary? If you’re still in that stage of learning cross-overs, know this – it isn’t scary forever! But once you nail your cross-overs you need to find something else that’s a bit scary, and do that till it’s not scary anymore! That’s the beauty of roller derby, and most sports that require skill, you have the opportunity to reach goals, then set new ones, then reach those, then set new ones, then reach those… this could go on forever, but you get my point.

Goals: set them, reach them, repeat.

For me at the moment, my scary thing is tomahawks to the inside line. Yep, super scary! I’m kinda like Ben stiller in Zoolander, I can only turn one way. I’m getting better at them, but the hardest thing for me is stopping my mind from going “Woah, stop right there, you can’t do a tomahawk that way!”. It’s my demon.

It’s funny, I love rollercoasters, I really love them! Who doesn’t? You know what else I really love, going on a “donut” behind a really fast boat or riding on the back of my husband’s dirt bike while he hits full throttle. Why are they fun? Because they’re scary! But never once have I gone to get on a rollercoaster or the back of a motorbike and frozen at the last second, unable to lift my foot up to get on… So when I physically freeze, like I’m momentarily paralyzed, as I go to do a tomahawk to the inside line, guess what! Yeah… it’s FRUSTRATING!!!!

So, here’s the stage I’m at now… I can now tomahawk to the left! Woo Hoo! But then put me on a derby track and tell me to tomahawk to the inside line… dun duunn! It doesn’t happen! I freeze! “But I CAN do it” I tell myself, and I slow it down, concentrate really hard and convince myself I’m not going to break myself and I pull it off! Why couldn’t I do it before?

Here is my theory of why:

I’m sabotaging myself! Yep, me, my own worst enemy! I want to do it so bad, I want to be able to hit a jammer off the track with my booty on the inside line and stay in bounds got-damnit! So why am I sabotaging myself? It’s not like I’m thinking “nah I don’t want to be able to tomahawk to the inside, because it’s kinda cool to say that I’m like Zoolander … ” NO!!    I really. Want. To Nail it!!!!    However, what I DON’T want to do, is believe in myself. Wow. Epiphany!

Growing up I was taught to be humble, don’t brag, don’t boast, don’t be a show off, don’t gloat, don’t be arrogant, self-obsessed, bigheaded, egotistical… ok that’s all good and I agree with rule 101 of derby – don’t be a douche! But when did this ever start to mean: don’t give yourself credit for your achievements, don’t take a compliment, DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF??? I think there has been a misunderstanding somewhere along the line and I think it’s time to make a change!

You know what I hear a lot of … “I Can’t…” THAT, right there, is a limitation!  At S2D2 we’ve started banning this phrase because it’s a big fat brick wall. It’s really grippy wheels on a really sticky floor, it’s a stubborn blocker in the way of your dreams and goals. The sooner you realize that you and your mind are the only reason why you haven’t yet nailed hockey stops, the sooner you can get on with learning other really rad tricks! Stop saying “I can’t”.

If you’re making excuses right now, then you’re demonstrating bad habit number two that crushes dreams and leaves goals unaccomplished all over the world! I had a really bad habit when I was overweight of saying “I don’t have time to exercise” or “all the diets out there are too confusing, I can’t make sense of it all.” One day I realized that they were excuses, not legitimate reasons for being lazy and unhealthy. Now that I think about it, from an early age we’ve all made up excuses, why we haven’t done our homework, why we didn’t clean our room, why we stole our cousins nail polish and ruined the carpet. Here’s an idea – leave those excuses back in your childhood, stop blaming somebody or something else and start taking responsibility for your life like a grown up. Excuses are kinda like wishes, they don’t accomplish anything unless you take action, and they are for children. Derby is for adults (with the exception of brats leagues – and even they make less excuses than most of us grown-ups!) Do you want to play derby? Yes? Then get on with it! If you’re making excuses for why you “can’t” do something in derby, then you probably don’t want to play derby or you don’t want to believe in yourself? Which one is it? Keep it real and be honest with yourself.

Example time: I’d promised to do my first 10km non-stop run with my husband last Saturday morning, I really wanted to crack that 10km mark but when I woke up I started making excuses in my head. Maybe I should just do my standard 6km, My throat feels a bit croaky, is that a headache I can feel coming on? Wah wah wah! So I intercepted those excuses of why I shouldn’t run 10km and started thinking of reasons why I SHOULD! I’m going to be so proud when I finish this run, I’m gunna be able to eat so much got-damn food after this run, I’m gunna be closer to my goal after this run! Hell yeah, and guess what! I didn’t die! Holy geebus, it worked!

Yes, it was scary, and it was hard and there were a lot more excuses and doubts that I had to overcome as I completed the run. However, if I had backed out of that run I’d still be frustrated that I haven’t cracked the 10km mark, I wouldn’t have been on such a natural high for the rest of the day and I wouldn’t be any closer to my goal of running a half marathon.

On that run, at about the 9.2km mark, I realised that I nearly let fear stop me from accomplishing something that I really wanted, and that I should believe in myself more! Maybe I should support and compliment myself as much as I do my team mates? *Gasp* How dare I be so self-absorbed!!

So, if you think you’re not progressing as fast as other skaters in your league, then maybe you’re being harder on yourself than they are? Maybe you’re not scared of hockey stops, maybe your scared of believing in yourself? Maybe you’re making excuses and blaming something else rather than taking responsibility for your fear. Maybe you need to make friends with yourself again and give yourself reasons why you CAN do it.

Life is not waiting for us to get fitter or better or get new skates with lighter plates, faster bearings , better toe stops or harder wheels, life is happening right now. Don’t let fear hold you back any longer, embrace the fear like getting on that scary rollercoaster, be kind to yourself and go get those goals!

Tomahawks on the inside line, prepare to be my bitch!

See you on the track! :)
Psychlone Cilla. 18.5

Photo by Roaringstorm