Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

So, let’s start at the beginning and how I found derby.  In October of 2013 I moved to this lovely little town in Northern Colorado, Fort Collins.  A large group of my family lived here, so I had visited frequently throughout my life.  My husband and I finally made the decision to move after we had gotten married back in May of 2013.

We have a young son, Cyrus, who is absolutely amazing.  We had spent the majority of our time just being a family after we had initially moved Fort Collins.  My husband, Ryan, was working a lot and I worked from home, so by the time he got home we just wanted to hang out and be together.

Although we all thoroughly enjoyed all the family time, we were both beginning to realize “Hey, making friends would be nice!” Ryan had it a little easier since he worked in an office full of people with similar interests.  However, with me working from home the only time I really had much adult, human interaction was when I would take Cyrus to the park or a local indoor play area here in town.

Around December of 2013 my cousin, Mollytov Maguire, planted the derby seed. I struggled with the idea of playing derby because I couldn’t imagine paying money to go get injured. I mean, who in their right mind wants to willingly join a group of people where the goal is to hit each other? No one, thats who! This idea of derby would change dramatically when I actually started.

I attended the New recruits meeting in January 2014, and thus my derby journey began. Now onto the good stuff!

My very first practice, literally within about 5 minutes, one of the ladies in my new recruits class fell and broke her back.  I not only felt horrible for that woman, but was also mentally preparing myself for me to be next.

That first practice was rough.  I had never really skated, and have not been known for my grace.  In fact, my family has an on going joke about the multiple injuries I have received doing what would seem simple for most.  I was driving home after the first practice almost in tears, and strongly considering if I would go back.

I went back (call me a glutton for punishment).  This practice was slightly different, as all the new recruits were also in the same area as the vets.  Watching them skate around like majestic roller skating beauties was so intimidating, but also became a source of something to strive for.  I now saw what all these hard times, and rough practices, and those feelings of being completely lost would amount to.

After several months of practices, a few injuries (nothing severe), and meeting my derby wife, Misfit Millie, I was still struggling with so much doubt about my abilities in this sport.  Most nights I left practice feeling defeated, and that I would never become a viable member of the league.  Those feelings began to eat away at me so much that I could barely make myself go to practice, and ultimately lead to me taking a 2 month hiatus from derby and telling everyone it just wasn’t for me.

And you know what, that is okay.  I mean, it was not okay for me not to listen to all of the amazingly supportive teammates who were telling me I was doing just fine, or that they had been there before, and had literally felt the same things.  It was not okay for me to feel that I had no one to really reach out to about these things, because I had so many amazing ladies I could have talked to before my internal struggle reached that point.  But it was okay for me to take a break.  This was my journey, and they were my feelings and I needed the time to process all of this.

During my break from derby I realized how much I really did love it, and how accomplished it had actually been making me feel.  All of those hard nights, and rough emotions were teaching me how to persevere and to remain determined even when I was not the best at everything.  It gave me time to realize that I had been focusing on the wrong feelings, and that I needed to shift my focus. I began to think of all the times that I felt so proud of myself.  That time I understood sculling so fast, and really seemed to have a knack for it. Oh, and that other time I helped keep all the other ladies in my new recruits class from feeling discouraged. Oh, and that other time I met one of my now best friends! These were all the things I needed to look at, because we make our own happiness.  We create our reality, and I was tired of living in a reality where I was so miserable.

I came back to derby in October of 2014.  I have since passed my 27 laps in 5 minutes (whilst conveying every human emotion possible in that time frame.) I have moved up to Monday practices with the league, I have even had 3 Thursday night scrimmages with the league. Sure, there have been some rough nights, but that is life, and that is not where I am going to shift my focus.

I may fall, but I have promised myself that I will always get back up, and will no longer allow myself to keep me down.  I have also promised myself that I will always try to think of the positives derby brings to my life.  I have made some friends, and get to hang out with some truly amazing women that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise.

I am so grateful for everything that roller derby had brought to my life, and how much more I know it will bring me.

Smashrodite