Fierce loyalty. Protectiveness. Empathy.
When I see my girls get hit, I feel it. I’ll be on the sideline and see one of my blockers get taken out, and it pisses me off a little, but mainly I marvel at my opponent’s agility and the beauty of her movement. Blockers are out there to hit and get hit; and
sometimes stealing the opponent’s attention and taking a hit creates a hole for our jammer. I hurt for Brat O’ Tat the other day when she got hit on the left shoulder, spun around, and then hit square in the chest by a second blocker. But she’s a blocker, and I was a sitting blocker, and I basically jumped out of my seat at the beauty of it all.
But when my jammer gets hit, I feel like someone has squished my sweet hermit crab. It pisses me off, and I don’t like it. Sometimes, all I can do within the pack is yell encouragement to the sprawled, stunned star-wearer. Other times I can retaliate and lead a charge for her and help her regain momentum. Her problem is my problem, and her bruised ribs are my bruised ribs.
Lately, I’ve been feeling for my girls off the track.
Fierce loyalty, protectiveness, and empathy.
I’ve been given the opportunity to be there for my teammates in the real world of hits and falls and black eyes. Some folks fear being handed the star mid-bout. Others fear being thrown in as a pivot or four or anything between that is outside their comfort zone. But the real world thrusts us at different times into each of these positions without our consent.
When I was handed a fancy volunteer vest and asked to lead a small special needs group through a field trip tour at work today, I was wearing the pivot panty. It was time for me to lead, use my communication skills, and adapt to my new buddies’ personalities and needs. When I checked my midterm grades a month ago and saw that they were B-A-D-D (literally), I was wearing the star panty. Time for me to step up and perform, be agile in my use of time and energy, and ignore the target on my helmet. Because victims never get anything done.
But when my girls hurt or need a big shoulder to shove things out of the way or, excuse the cliche, cry on, I’m a big ole blocker. I’m protective and loyal and empathetic.
I can’t protect my buddies from the big world, but when it hits them hard, it’s my job to yell encouragement over my shoulder, hold their hand through the big, scary pack (sort of illegal), and whip them on out to coast around in peace.
My worlds have collided; but I get to bring to each what I’ve learned from the other. I use my real world skills to make me a better teammate on the track, and I use my knowledge of blocking and jamming to help me make sense of what happens to me and those I love.
I love my teammates. I love being their blocker.