Jul 092010

This past week, I’ve been thinking a fair bit about my last post here on LDG. Sure, I said that thing about roller derby possibly contributing, in an indirect way, to the breakdown of my last relationship. I believe that statement has some truth (maybe), and I want to break it down and examine it, but this week, I want to look at last week’s post from a more positive angle.

So I was talking about derby chatter, and how it fills our lives and the lives of those around us. And I’ve been thinking about all those hours and hours I made my ex listen to descriptions of hitting styles, the merits of various wheel materials, the interpersonal dramas that played out in practice, and, most of all, the details of my attempts to become the badass that I want to be. I’ve also still been mulling over this problem I’ve had with focusing on the task at hand when bouting, and even at practice. And it has occurred to me that my ex was actually sort of my coach, in a way (my league hasn’t had an actual coach in about a year). He supported me and listened to me during all my derby-talk, and was even genuinely interested, most of the time. He watches a lot of sports so when he watched a bout, he was really good at analyzing what was going on, and giving me tips (and props) not only on my performance, but on how my team might work together better (while understanding that feedback from a non-derby person is taken with a big grain of salt). When I got better at something, he could tell, and he knew just what I’d done to get better, because I’d told him. Sure, he complained, a time or two, about how much of energy derby took – for the both of us, but who could blame him? Sure, other friends were also very supportive and attended a lot of bouts and could see my progress, but they didn’t have the back story, they weren’t the ones who had to deal with my lousy mood on those days when I just didn’t think I’d ever give a good hip check or juke around our scariest blocker. They weren’t the ones who greeted me with a beer when I got home and helped me figure out what I could do to get better.

There can be this many people watching, but you can still feel alone out there if the right person isn't there.

So maybe my feeling of being a little lost has at least something to do with losing this coach of mine, this person who had been with me at the beginning of my derby career, who was around in those first weeks when I was afraid I wasn’t even cool enough to talk to the bitches who are now like sisters to me. When I feel like I’ve done something awesome in a home bout, maybe there’s a little of that feeling you get, when you’re little, and you say, “look, Ma!” and she’s not looking. Maybe.

Photo Credit: Rose City Rollers (record bout attendance back in April 2010: 3,000+).