“I used to say ‘don’t go there,’ but that’s lame.” –Michael Scott
There is a veteran on my team who is an accomplished skater and wonderful person. She’s a team player, she is athletic, and she is clutch in nerve -racking situations, like tied bouts and tense locker room moments. Fans love her, her team loves her, and she’s a shining example of good sportswomanship to babies, children, parents, puppies, etc.
This skater has one problem: our captain is always ready to wring her neck because she’s often suspiciously absent from pre-bout and halftime team huddles. She’s had a couple of really close calls— specifically, I’m thinking of Burn City’s last bout against Chattanooga. I sat on the bench, wringing my vinegar-stenched wristguards, just hoping that she’d land her skates on the track before the first whistle blew. (Thankfully, she did…but it was oh-so-close. Too close.)
You may have already figured this out, but if you haven’t, here it is: This skater has Pre-bout Poopy Pants Syndrome.
She’s not alone.
I’m not afraid to admit that I have the same problem. There have been many bouts—mostly away bouts—where I have squatted in a stall beside another one of my teammates, trying to push any smell of nervousness and fear shelved in my body into that skanky skate rink toilet.
My team has even had a discussion based around this one simple question: Has any skater ever shit her ruffle panties or Derbyskinz because she didn’t make it off the track in time? (We couldn’t think of anyone, but I’m almost certain there might be a skater out there who has.) If so, was she able to hide it? Was she kicked off the track? Did she skate into the sunset full of embarrassment and a turd in her drawers?
These are the big questions.
To ground this blog in some sort of “reliable” research, I consulted a website published by health services at Columbia University. This particular column is titled “Go Ask Alice!,” which, of course, is modeled after advice columns like “Dear Abby” and “Ask Ann Landers.” Thankfully, Alice had already experienced a curious and frustrated young woman who requested nuggets and kernels of advice about terrifying trips to drop off the kids at the pool.
Though the young woman needing advice experienced nervous dookies when seeing her new boyfriend, the advice Alice gave is, well, for lack of a better word, filling. Alice notes that
“When preparing to sprint away from a tiger or fight a bear [or a really, really big bootied blocker], it’s not in the body’s best interest to spend energy on digestion; you need all your blood and energy to fight or flee. So digestion stops, and often the bowels empty… your body perceives the shot of adrenaline produced in response to seeing [the situation] as stress and readies as if for flight or fight. You might also notice that your heart pounds or that you start sweating more. These are also normal stress-responses.”
So there you have it—nervous bowel movements happen because of adrenaline that is produced when we are excited/scared to bout. Our bruised bodies simply don’t have the time to waste on something like shit when there is so much else happening! Therefore, the bottom of the rectum just wants to rid itself of anything excessive. (This is all well and good, but it would be even better if EVERYTHING was eliminated at least ten minutes before a bout, right?)
Of course, Alice offers some further advice for the skidmarked writer and therefore, those of us who experience Pre-bout Poopy Pants Syndrome. Alice instructs us all to avoid raw fruit and salads (Eek! What about bananas?), and before the big event, spend an afternoon or five calming ourselves by breathing deeply and slowly while imagining the upcoming situation. (Breathe in. I’m going to jump over the infield! Breathe out.) Once a person can “train” their bodies to stay calm, the nervous pooing may subside.
I happen to know a few gals who might want to slice some loaves from these suggestions.
Perhaps these techniques will help rectify those missed pre-bout huddles. Otherwise, we just might find the answer to our question, resting like a dead prairie dog smack in the middle of the track.
Go Ask Alice!. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2011. <http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/5916.html>.