RSRD was rolling out to Texas in order to take on the Psych Ward Sirens of Houston Roller Derby in their season opener. As far as I was concerned, this particular bout was a Bigger Deal Than Most. I mean, EVERY bout is a big deal, but the Houston girls are AMAZING. Their rep is solid gold, and there is more than one girl on the Psych Ward roster that I consider a personal hero. I am in awe of these women; they leave me in a state of fawning fan-girly squee.
Clearly, I wished to savage and destroy them.
Nope, no ego here!
I will never admit to this outside of this blog, but the thought of playing HRD was like playing a boogeyman made of awesome: It was just a little intimidating. However, the Heidi in me refuses to DO intimidated and thus began non-stop trumpeting “I WILL END YOU, HOUSTON” whenever I even began to think about the approaching bout. While this kind of can-do (and potentially delusional) attitude is essential in derby, I find that a better way of dealing with pre-bout jitters is to lay down a few clearly defined goals beforehand. As long as I have goals to meet, I worry less and work more efficiently out on the track (bonus: I have something to measure my performance against after the fact). And so I sat down and put together Heidi Volatile’s Game Day Goals (HRD Edition):
Competent playing: Always
Lead Jammer: Oh god please let this happen or my team will disown me
Penalty Box parties: 0
Number of dry humpings on the jam line: 5 minimum
Power hits: 3
Improvement in lateral movement: Noticeable
Bones broken: 0
These seemed like fairly reasonable, meetable goals. By focusing on accomplishing these few items I knew I could hopefully reign in the adrenaline and do the best possible job for my team. That’s really what was most important to me: Not letting down the girls that I sweat, swear, and bleed with two or three times a week during what was basically our biggest game of the season. Next in importance would be not sucking a bag of dicks, followed closely by not humiliating myself in front of mother lovin’ Houston.
Setting goals for yourself is probably the most important thing you can do in derby, and those goals can’t just be “win,” “win,” and “oh yeah, win.” You have to honestly look at what you need to improve (and no matter how awesome you are, you ALWAYS have things that you need to improve), and you have to be realistic about how much improvement you can affect in a given amount of time. You have to be ready to measure your performance. This is how you keep your focus and move forward.
So how did I measure up? Let’s break it down:
Competent playing: I think I mostly played a solid game, but there was a moment after I passed the star where I kind of lost the plot. In the future, I need to make sure that I’m always playing WITH my team, and not just pinballing off solo.
Lead Jammer: Check! However, I’d have been happier if I’d done it a few more times.
Penalty Box Parties: 0! The Mighty Elbows of Discontent did not flair out!
You can't hump that. Not comfortably.
Number of dry humpings on the jam line: 0. What can I say, even I am not invulnerable to awe and hero worship. Also, a lot of the Houston girls do this nifty squatting, sprinter-esque start on the jam line, and dry humping that would only lead to awkwardness and skates in uncomfortable place. And, more importantly, a slow start off of the line.
Power hits: While I didn’t pull off what I would consider a power hit, I did hit consistently while blocking. Definitely something to continue working on.
Improvement in lateral movement: While I do believe that my lateral movement improved visibly, I still feel that it’s not quite where I need it to be.
Bones broken: I didn’t break any bones, but I did ding up my ankle pretty badly in the first period. Note to self: Work on falling smaller.
So obviously, I didn’t meet every goal this time around. However, I can definitely see where I’m improving, and more importantly, I can see where I need to be in relation to where I am. And that’s why I believe that, in order to be the best player you can be, you ALWAYS need to be setting goals. So what are some of your goals? What are your goals for your next practice, your next week, your next bout? How do you hold yourself accountable for your progress? Let’s set some goals together and get to work!
Photo credits: Wreckx-n-FX, RM Photography