Setting Team Goals

 Posted by at 5:03 pm  1 Response »
Sep 202011

Now that I am back at school and have access to a computer, I will be posting on this blog. During my hiatus from blogging, I was still writing in my journal and I’ve wanted to share so many things with the derby community. I find myself learning new things from roller derby daily.

People are very often praised for remaining strong in their convictions. Many pride themselves on remaining unchanging because they think that a change in beliefs shows weakness. In reality, we should be ashamed if we are the same as we were a year ago- or even a day ago. The tendency to say “but I’ve always done…” or “I never did…” is understandable. Once we have progressed, it is hard for us to imagine how we may have done something differently. I can hear myself saying “I’ve always been fit,” but in reality I have become more and more fit over time. If you were to compare my scrawny 16 year old quads with my now buff 20 year old quads, there is an immense difference. The point is that change is good. That change is called progress and without it we digress.

Change, or progress, comes from challenging yourself and setting new goals. In order to achieve what we you want and to grow- you have to set goals. Goals provide you with direction. If you know where you want to be in the future, then you will know what you really want to be doing in the present. It seems like it would be easy to do what you want, but it isn’t always that simple. For example, my goal is to have 8 pack abs. One day someone offers me a donut that sounds appealing at the moment. Keeping my goal in mind, I can say no because I know that it won’t get me what I truly want. Distractions are simply excuses and vice versa. When I was setting my goals I didn’t make my goal to enjoy saturated fats. That is not depriving yourself; it is understanding what you really want and maintaining focus.

I understand and embrace the mentality that life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. But where will you journey? Will you just go as the wind blows you, or will you decide where you want to go and get there?

As individual players we should be setting goals and constantly challenging ourselves to be the best athletes we can. We should evaluate our performances, highlight our positives and determine areas for improvement. I am a constant self-improver. That does not mean that I am not proud of what I have accomplished, it simply means that I will not coast on what I have accomplished. If I decide my goal for that month is to skate 13 miles in one hour and I accomplish that, then it is time to do 14 miles in one hour. If I don’t accomplish it, that’s okay too. That just means my goal for next month is still to skate 13 miles in one hour.

I believe in setting big, arduous goals- because the only thing that is certain is that if you don’t try it, you won’t accomplish it. So how do we go about setting goals as individuals?
Determine your values. What matters to you? How do you enjoy spending your time?
Look at what you would truly want in an ideal world- with no limiting factors.
Set your goals.

I set one, five, and 10 year goals for derby, health, personal, and education/career. I based my goal setting worksheet off of one that I found here: I start at 10 years, and then do 5, and then one so that I can direct my shorter term goals based on my long term vision. I also set monthly, weekly, and daily goals that work towards my ultimate goals.

Here is one of my goals, “I reach five year remission (cure) by 2016.” This one is a little trickier than others because obviously I did not choose to get cancer to begin with. However, this remains a goal of mine- in an ideal world that is what I would like. Knowing this, I can make decisions that work towards my goal.
So I set the goal: “I skate a marathon in 2 hours by September 2011.” That works towards my ultimate goal (as well as many of my other long term goals related to skating) by contributing to my health.
To accomplish that I set a goal: “I skate 50 miles per week outside of practice by August 2011.”
Today I set a goal to skate 10 miles, which I will do as soon as I finish typing this.

You get the picture.

The point is to progress and live your life with direction. But I’m not done yet. You see, that is pretty easy for us to do as individuals… but we’re members of a team. Our personal goals differ to the goals of the team. Or better yet, should be a direct reflection of the goals of the team. A good team is full of players who set goals, but a great team is a unit working towards the same goals.

The direction of your team should come from the leaders and the leaders should provide direction that reflects the goals of each teammate. It has to work both ways. As a leader, I listen to the goals of my teammates and then help them work towards the goals we’ve established. Our goal is to compete in eastern regionals by 2015. When the league was established, it was with a competitive direction. As coaches, we meet with the girls to find out their individual goals and then lay out our goals for practices based on what they want. But the most important thing is that everyone in the team is united in their direction. Everyone MUST realize the goals of the team and make contributions towards those goals. That is what a team is. I cannot compete in regionals by myself. A team makes possible what is impossible to do by yourself.

You may have a goal to be the top jammer, but that goal may not be team oriented. If someone transfers who scores more points than you do- then you should be stoaked to have them! It should motivate you to make improvements and contribute to your team, but if your motivation is selfish than you are not being a good teammate. If I want to score more points, it is not because I want to score more than my other teammate; it is because I want to contribute to the score of my team.

Watching eastern regionals this past weekend I saw teams that operated as a unit. The best teams were those who communicated effectively and worked together towards a common goal on the track. They were not trying to block for glory. They were each contributing 110% and working together. That is a team. When I’m blocking, I’m a point- but so is each other member of my pack. I do not want the jammer to get around me, but if in my quest to lay the jammer on her ass- she ends up getting around my teammate, then what good have I done?

Wolves (bear with me) hunt together. Each wolf is hungry, but they understand that in order to eat as individuals, they must hunt together. They are a pack, and in roller derby- so are we.

This is how we must hunt, haha!

Apr 132011

Taking my victory lap with the Old Bay Bombers!

Since my diagnosis I have written and told my “cancer story” countless times, but I’m excited to be able to share it with fellow roller derby players who will be able to appreciate how much it has affected my derby life. I should clarify, as the president of my league, a coach, and an ever-improving jammer, my entire life is derby. I don’t attempt to, or desire to keep roller derby separate from other aspects of my life. It is my life calling and passion. What I really meant was that I am excited to be able to share my story with people who understand that. The hardest part about Chemo is that I’m not able to play.

“I skate every practice and coach, but can’t do contact.” I have to tell people that all the time. They seem to think that it’s no big deal, but you can imagine and appreciate the difficulty of watching my team from the sidelines.

I was diagnosed with primary mediastinal b-cell lymphoma on December 20. On December 11 I ran a 5k in the morning and really sprinted my ass off, got my best time actually. That night I went to sleep feeling fine and then I woke up around 3AM with shortness of breath. It’s hard to explain what that felt like, mostly just like I couldn’t get a deep breath, like something was in my chest. I had my boyfriend take me to the ER. They did a chest x-ray and a CT scan, but I was starting to feel fine.

My boyfriend, Bryan, and my mom were with me and I told them that I was embarrassed for coming to the hospital with (what we thought was) muscular soreness from the run. I was getting ready to pack up my stuff and head out, when the doctor came in and told us that there was a fleshy tumor in my chest. We called my dad and my sisters who were headed to the hospital. We all knew immediately that there were two options: malignant or benign. While we were waiting to find out the next step, we made jokes to pass the time. I wasn’t scared because at that point I still didn’t know what to be scared of.

They sent me home and I immediately began doing research. I ordered books, articles, googled everything. When I came back to the hospital on the 14th to meet with the thoracic surgeons, I already knew that it was probably lymphoma. My doctors were amazingly upfront with me. We scheduled my biopsy and I felt 100% confident about the surgery. My doctor told me that my prognosis was the same whether it was benign and we had to do extensive surgery, or it was malignant and we had to do Chemo.

I went in for the biopsy two days later and was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma on December 20. The most important thing I did for myself at that point was not skip a beat. I would’ve started treatment that day if they had let me. But by the time that we got the second opinion, ran more tests, got my infusaport in and healed up- it was January 20th.

I’ve had 5 treatments now and I only have one more to go!  I thought that I would be done in time for our bout on May 21, but I’m going to have to wait until June. My last treatment is going to be April 27th and I have to wait for my blood count to come back up, get another PET scan, get the port out- which is a minor outpatient procedure, and then heal from surgery.

Of course I’m bummed that I won’t be able to bout until June, but there is no point in being upset. When I come back I know I’ll be stronger than ever. I’ve been training for a half-ironman triathlon, skating, working out, eating well, and learning a lot by watching. I’m going to be blood thirsty when I can finally play, I miss it every day.

The way I see it is that you choose to be happy. You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to them. Anything can be positive if you want it to be. I know that seems easier said than done, but I really do think it can be that simple.
Cancer can be an excuse to be miserable, or a great opportunity. I have been able to demonstrate to people the power of having a good attitude, learned a lot about myself, and made a lot of irreverent jokes. If you aren’t having fun, then what’s the point? I’m not saying this has been easy, but I make every day a good day- no matter what.

May 042010

Swallow that pride!

With all of the posts that have been cropping up on LDG about wreckage in our personal lives, I can only assume that everyone’s been having a shit time of it lately.  This has preeetty much become the norm for me.  But I can’t complain because it’s shit that I created myself!  My life has been like an inactive volcano that’s been rumbling beneath the surface for the past 13 years and finally built up enough pressure to spill over—and looking around, there’s plenty of destruction.

That said, I can do one of two things, continue to wallow in it and take everyone around me along for the ride.  Or, I can learn from it, grow from it, clear away the wreckage and start over with a clean slate.

I know in MY mind, my problems are the hugest, worstest, most miserable problems in the entire world.   (Most of us do have that mentality.)  I used to get completely consumed with worrying about my problems, I was miserable, stressed out, and angry.  I lashed out at everyone around me like they were somehow responsible for any of the shit that I’d stirred up in my own life.   And in turn they’d strike back, thus creating and even bigger pile of shit that I could bitch about.  I was the best bitcher in the entire world.  Had perfected the art of bitching.  Could have gotten paid for it.  And could have built my EMPIRE with my dividends.

My AA sponser, who is kickass by the way, doesn’t let me get away with that shit anymore.  She is more than happy to shine a light on the the problem, which is generally me, and she usually has profound advice for me:  “Stop bitching about it, stop taking your shit out on other people, take some action and clean up the mess you’ve made.  It is, after all, your mess!”   (And she occasionally tells me that I’m acting like a dumbass, which I don’t mind either, because I usually am!)

Probably one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned from her, and from being in recovery, though, is that you reap what you sow.  I mean, we’ve all heard it before, but it never really REGISTERED with me until I removed my head from my sphincter and actually became AWARE of how I was treating people!  You’d think that since I’m a waitress and that my livlihood depends on the generosity of strangers, I’d been acutely aware of how my attitude towards others affects their attitudes toward me.  But I’d rather call that lady at table A2 a bitch for only leaving me a

Dolla Dolla Bill

dollar on $62, than being NICE and earning a proper tip!  So what if she snapped at me first?  Is snapping back REALLY going to be benefit me in the long run?  Maybe she really is just a gigantic bitch, but maybe her dog got run over this morning—I’m not the only person in this world that has bad days!  If I’m NICE to her, I MIGHT get nice back.  If I’m an ASSHOLE to her, I’m guaranteed that she’s going to be an ASSHOLE right back.  AND only leave me a dollar.

Soooo, ladies, what I’m getting at—maybe you are having a really bad day, and maybe one of your teammates IS being a bitch and yells at you “for no reason”.  You don’t have to yell back.  Stop for just one second, maybe she and her boyfriend just broke up, maybe she just got laid off, maybe her bunny that she’s had for six years died, maybe she’s got some really wicked rink rash on her heinie!  Turn the other cheek.  (Ha, ha—cheek!)  I promise, it won’t kill you!  You may choke on your pride when you try to swallow it down, but it ain’t gonna kill you!


Photo Credits:,,