Sep 182014
 

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You play roller derby. You’re probably kind of a badass. You probably like skating fast, hitting people, and you probably don’t mind the smell of stinky pads. You probably have strong thighs and a killer ass. You are probably 110% dedicated to this sport and love it with every part of your soul.

Rad. I can get down with that.

You probably also have intensely tight hips. Like when you try to sit cross-legged, your knees come up to your shoulders. You probably also have some thing going on in your neck that you can’t quite put your finger on, but sometimes it hurts in your jaw or shoulder, too.

You might have problems concentrating when you’re body isn’t moving really fast. You might not dig sitting still. You might not really want to deal with your lower back pain unless it involves loud music and sweat.  You might need yoga.

But, you might be dubious about yoga. You might think it’s for waify chicks who get manicures and watch the Lifetime network.

It’s not.

Yoga is for people who want to have healthy long-term relationships with their bodies and minds. Yoga is for people who want to feel better, physically and emotionally. Yoga is for people who want to learn to find concentration and motivation in the midst of chaos.

What I’m saying, rollergirl (‘scuse me, rollerperson), is that yoga might be for you. It might be for you, not just as a regular person, but as an athlete. Because I know you want to know, here are some ways that yoga can help your game:

You can touch your toes, maybe just not yet.

You can touch your toes, maybe just not yet.

1. Flexibility. The number one reason people tell me they “can’t do yoga” is because they “aren’t flexible.” That’s like saying you can’t wash your car because it’s too dirty. Flexibility is a skill like any other. You have to learn it and practice it. Unlike some other skills, like say knitting, flexibility can help you become a better player. Muscles that aren’t in a constant state of contraction (tension) are more responsive. Relaxed muscles work when you tell them to because they aren’t already busy doing nothing. With increased flexibility, you may find that your skating improves in ways you didn’t know were possible because your muscles are available to do what you ask them to when you ask them to.

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There is no spoon, people.

2. Focus. The second reason people tell me that they can’t do yoga is because they can’t focus. So, um, you can’t focus when you practice yoga but you are a single-pointed concentration machine when you’re on the track? No. Either you know how to control your brain or you don’t. Sure, the faster your body moves the more your brain will tune out external stimuli, but eventually your body will get used to the speed of the pack and the noise in the warehouse. And that’s good, because it means that your body is no longer in fight or flight mode when you’re playing and you then have the ability to become an intelligent player. But only if you can focus. I watch so many skaters with solid skills get that deer-in-the-headlights look and start making the same mistakes over and over. Why? Because they can’t focus. They look around the pack and they know what’s happening, probably, but their processing speed isn’t quick enough and their response time suffers. What you need is Matrix-like responsivity. You have to be totally in tune with the pack and the game and your body and be able to know what you need to do almost before you need to do it. That takes intense focus, and either you have it and you can turn it on and off at will, or you don’t have it at all.

Be the girl no one can knock down. Not even Krissy Krash.

Be the girl no one can knock down. Not even Krissy Krash.

3. Balance. I could talk about this on a metaphorical level, but I won’t. Being a good skater takes crazy balance. Balance (for skating) takes core strength and ankle stability. The thing is that unless you are always skating in really good form, you aren’t developing your core or your ankle strength. You’re using what you already have and probably learning bad, inefficient habits. The gym can help, but if you aren’t working out in a dynamic way, then you aren’t practicing using your strength in the way that you need to in order use it when you’re skating. Yoga makes you practice using your core to do things you would usually use other muscles to do (like taking up some of the duty in lifting your leg for a crossover). Sit ups will give you muscles, but they will not give you practice using them in a practical way.

4. Strength. I know that the cultural image of a yogi is of a skinny white girl, but most of us don’t look like that. I have thick thighs, a solid ass, and my shoulders are pretty broad for my size. I have an athletic yoga practice and therefore I have an athletic build. I don’t play sports anymore, but I am strong because I am constantly lifting my own body weight, and the more I lift it, the heavier it gets.

Also, a lot of yoga relies on eccentric muscle contractions, which means that your muscles are contracting and being lengthened at the same time. In sports, this kind of activity is called negative training. It’s hard and, in the short term, it hurts because your muscle fibers are always tearing. But in the long term your muscles are rebuilt longer and your muscles become more effective. Eccentric contractions are about 25% more powerful than other kinds of muscle contractions and they lead to finer motor coordination. Power and coordination, isn’t that what it takes to be a great skater?

Oh, look who's not freaking out. As usual.

Oh, look who’s not freaking out. As usual.

5. Calm. I saved this one for last because I think it’s the most important. Is there anything more valuable? People who have a real sense of calm are almost never freaking out. They don’t yell at the refs and they don’t get in fights with other skaters. They don’t freak out when they lose and they don’t freak out when they win. They are able to take what they’ve learned from each game and process it into usable material for the next game. They don’t waste time beating themselves or other people up. Calm people are trustworthy and reliable. They are not the people pushing themselves to the front of the line to become leaders, they are the people you choose to be leaders.

How does yoga teach you to be calm? That’s another mental game. If you spend a lot of time on your mat dealing with yourself you start to notice your personal patterns of thought and habit. Eventually you become aware of you emotional reactions in a way that allows you to predict them and observe them with some degree of objectivity. Once you do that, you have the freedom to pick and choose your responses to things based on how effective their outcomes will be instead of basing your reactions on how you feel in one split second.

 

Here’s the deal. I want to help you be a better skater. I’m retired, but I love roller derby and I want to contribute to the sport. If you live in or near New Orleans, I’m giving a workshop on Yoga & Roller Derby starting September 27th. It’s cheap and all your friends will be there.

If you don’t live in New Orleans and you want to help me think of a way to bring Yoga for Roller Derby to your team or league, email me at duncan.tracey@gmail.com or hit me up on Facebook.  I’d love to help.

If you want to know more about me and my classes, check out my yoga site, More Yoga, Less Bullshit.

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Jan 022014
 
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Me. Again.

Alright, people, here we go. I’m back in black and back on wheels and it’s taken me a while to write something because, frankly, my highly anticipated whirlwind return to roller derby has been about as exciting as that terrible movie where Sandra Bullock floats half naked in space for three hours. In other words, there have been brief moments of romance, anxiety, and jubilation, but mostly I’m just waiting for something to happen.

What has actually happened is that I am finding myself increasingly drawn towards writers who say that roller derby didn’t save their soul, women who think that roller derby is just something they do and not who they are, and players who don’t work out “in beastmode” all the time because they’re not Suzy Hotrod and are okay with it.

Only Suzy Hotrod is Suzy Hotrod, y'all.

Only Suzy Hotrod is Suzy Hotrod, y’all.

That’s right, friends, I became a big fat underachiever. (And you can too!)

I go to exactly the number of practices that I need to go to to make attendance. Sure I work hard while I’m there, but I don’t spend my off time pre-visualizing the perfectly executed plow stop. Yes, I cross train, but I don’t want to talk about it over dinner. And yeah, I go to bouts and I watch them on WFTDA.tv and I love the sport, but I also love American Horror Story and 30 Rock and I would feel extra lame if I posted about either of those all day on Facebook so same goes for derby.

I don’t want to be friends with the popular girls. I don’t care what team a player is on or if someone skates better than me or faster than me or if they can’t even make it around the track yet or if they founded the league or if they once held hands with someone on Team USA. I want to make friends with women with authentic smiles and interesting things to say. Intraleague elitism makes me want to vomit on the track.

I'm Veronica.

I’m Veronica.

I don’t give a shit about gear, either. I want my wheels to spin smoothly. I want them to be smallish and not too grippy and not too hard and I want my boots to fit well, but I don’t give a shit which famous skaters use what-the-fuck-ever or if my pads are all held on to my body with duct tape. I just don’t care. I let my friends who know about gear tell me what to buy and I don’t think about it longer than the time it takes for me to buy what I need.

This is Dee, of Bruised Boutique. SHE knows enough about gear for all of us.

This is Dee, of Bruised Boutique. She knows enough about gear for all of us. Ask her.

I don’t wear hot pants anymore. Firstly, because they are impractical (camel toe, rink rash, general self-consciousness, etc.) and also because synchronizing tights and knee-highs and hot pants is exhausting and I’m tired of going to gas stations after practice and being hit on by middle-aged drunk dudes.  Yoga pants are fine for yoga and they’re fine for roller derby, too. Plus they protect the whole ass cheek and not just half.

Yes, I do wear derby team shirts of teams I haven’t seen play. Maybe because I know someone nice on the team or traded at Rollercon or maybe just because I thought their logo was cool (for shame) or whatever and I’m probably not sure what city it’s from because I like to travel and I can’t keep track because my brain has to hold important information in it like where my car keys and phone are.

I know nothing about this team, but if you make a shirt with cows and skates on it, I will wear it for sure.

I know nothing about this team, but if you make a shirt with cows and skates on it, I will wear it.

No, I don’t want to volunteer. I mean, actually, I really enjoy helping out, but it’s not like a social activity for me. I don’t want or need brownie points and I don’t know who’s keeping track of them, anyways. And let’s be real, I’m a shitty NSO and I’m always rooting for the team I want to win. So if you want me to help the team, I will, but let’s stick to things I’m good at: yoga, getting shit organized, and writing sarcastic social commentary.

I do not want to get drunk after practice twice a week. First of all, I’m old and I want to run in the morning and it’s hard enough to function at 5:30 am without a hangover and not enough sleep. Second, I do not think that holding hands while we vomit equates to team building. Let’s just be non-vomiting friends, okay? Third, and I know this one is batshit crazy, y’all, but I have a social life outside of derby and I like to hang out with other people sometimes.

No.

No.

I don’t want to be in charge of anything and I am dreading the day that I have to join a committee. And no, it’s not because I don’t want to make a contribution to my league. It’s because I don’t want to spend my time quibbling over logistic bullshit or engaging in meaningless power struggles. I just want to play roller derby and let someone else call the shots. Is that too much to ask?

A good friend said to me the other day, “I go to practice and I skate hard and I pay my dues and that is actually what keeps the league running. There will always be people in charge and it doesn’t matter who they are. If the skaters all just keep skating and working hard, then the team will be successful.”

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And I kind of wanted to make out with her in that moment because I feel exactly the same way (and because she made a funny joke about lesbians with Justin Bieber haircuts). There is a lot of non-derby stuff that goes into the making of roller derby and someone will always be in charge. It will usually be the person who most wants to be in charge, so if you aren’t that person, why not just skate up and shut up? You really want to make your team better? Then be a better team player.

If it seems like I’m not taking roller derby very seriously, it’s because I’m not. This is what I do for fun. I already have a full time job and a part time job and a lot of other responsibilities and I want roller derby to be a good time. I don’t want to go to meetings and fight about bylaws. I don’t want to go to practice and get aggro and vie with other skaters for the title of Most Derby-fied.

You win.

I just came to play.

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Jul 272011
 

Last month, my team (The Red Stick Roller Derby Capitol Defenders) had our first official win of the season.

Actually, I’m not saying that right.  I’m making it sound formal, which is not how I feel about it at all.  If I were expressing it in a manner in line with my emotions, I ought to say something more like, We fucking WON!  We finally WON, Bitches! But either way, I guess you get the idea.  I’m excited, obviously.

 

But not as excited as Hitter, who jumped Madi, skates and all. (Photo Credit to AKoch Photography)

 

 

It’s been a hard season for us, full of injuries and absences and a constantly changing roster.  For its first 3 years, our league only had one team.  Red Stick, pure and simple.  At first, the growth of the league was too slow to truly trouble this set-up.  The girls would occasionally play an intra-league bout, but for the most part they worked on bulking up the roster of the single team, changing the line-ups slightly for each game.  And then, sometime during that 3rd year, we began to grow.  I was a part of that growth, part of the sudden influx of newbies skating around the far end of the rink with the refs, trying not too look too stupid or make too many waves.  My fresh meat class, which entered the rink for the first time in April of 2010 (I think?  Why don’t I have this written down??), was the first of several – the first set of Red Stick Ladies to receive official training before being thrown into the pack to sink or scrimmage.

Since that April, four full classes of freshies have passed their MSTs and become part of the league.  After the second of these classes, it became clear that we were finally getting big enough for two teams: an A team and a B team.  An All-Star roster (the Diables Rouges) and a roster for newer players.  It made sense; after all, the Southern region was expanding rapidly, with teams of all skill levels rising up all around us.  While the All-Stars worked on WFTDA certification by playing more advanced opponents, the newer ladies could hone their skills competing against the teams the All-Stars had played in the past, along with some of the greener teams sprouting up in the area.

Being a member of the B team hasn’t been easy.  During nearly every game this season we’ve received a thorough scrubbing, then gone on to watch our A-team sisters juke and block their way to glory, breaking past challenge after challenge to become a better unit, a better candidate for WFTDA status.

We were overcoming challenges too.  But our victories were small.  During one away game this year, we nearly cried from excitement when we managed to get beat by fewer than 100 points. It was literally the greatest thing that had ever happened.  Sometimes we could barely scrape together our thoughts when, during team pow-wow, our A-team coaches asked us what we thought had gone WELL during the bout.  “We fell down less?”  we’d venture.  Or, “We kept up with the pack!” (said with an air of surprise). Or, my personal favorite, “We seemed a little more like we knew what we were doing this time.”

So when we finally won our June bout, by over 100 points (check out THAT reversal!!), we barely knew how to react.  Mad Hitter doubled over in fits of laughter and crying, then threw herself flat onto the floor of the locker room.  C-Murda talked about whether she should laugh or cry, but then decided to shout instead.  Mauley Rinkwyld called absentee teammate TrAC/DC (who is, sadly, in Houston for the summer) and screamed into her voicemail.  I nearly suffocated A-team member Turbo Tyke with a victory hug when I caught her in the hallway between locker rooms, and I’m pretty sure I might’ve punched Jams P. Skullivan on the arm out of some weird testosterone-fueled need to seem more dude-like in my elation.  We slapped each others’ asses, hugged each other tight, and just generally effused about how excited we were to be together, to be playing, to be making progress, to be winning.

And we tempered our excitement, too, with anguish.  During the last few minutes of the game, Summer Squasher took two hard hits from two formidable blockers nearly

Summer showing her mad skills as a jammer (Photo Credit to AKoch Photography)

simultaneously and fell to the ground with what we would eventually learn was a broken tibia and a broken fibula.  By the end of the night, her husband (and our team doctor) Dr. Squasher was texting to tell us that the breaks would require surgery the next morning – a rod and a plate and some screws.  Summer’s playing was one of the highlights of the game.  As a blocker she had attacked the other team’s blockers with an efficiency and aggressiveness our humble B-team had never experienced.  And then, as a jammer in the second half, she continued her assault on the scoreboard, racking up points hopping through the pack as though she barely even had to touch the ground.  At one point during the night, I called her “Queen of the World.”  We saw her at her best, and then suddenly she was taken out.  We had won in part because of her, but she was carried away on a stretcher before we could share the elation.  And so we sent her texts, hoping she’d receive them from her hospital room.  We posted messages on her facebook wall and made plans to visit her as soon as we could.  We had TrAC, her derby wife, calling her from Houston, telling her we loved her and believed in her.  But still, we wanted her there, lying on the sweaty locker room floor next to us, taking in the excitement with her calm, steady manner.  We wanted her dancing at the after party with us, paragon of the derby belief that those who work hard deserve to play hard too.

That win was an important one for us – one that came at exactly the right moment.  The losing season had been causing our teamwork to suffer, sending us reeling in frustration and anger with each defeat.  Sometimes we lashed out at one another, and in the early days of the season we had sought hard for an answer, a scapegoat on which we could pin our disappointment.  We had worked our asses off, and losing felt like an insult to our efforts.  Surely it wasn’t our fault.  Surely outside forces were conspiring against us.  And then the big win came. After an entire season of feeling frustrated and splintered by losses, finally we found something we could agree on: winning felt good.  We liked winning.  We wanted to do it again, together.

And then, a month later, our elation went sour.

After a month of riding high on the wave of victory, we faced the same team on their home turf Saturday night.  And we lost. By 8 fucking points.

A switch-up like that is never easy.  Our win the month before had seemed so flawless and coordinated; we couldn’t understand why the same plays felt like they weren’t working, why our pairing seemed off and our packs seemed like loose collections of legs and arms rather than tight and conscious waterfalling machines.  When you’ve fought so hard for a win, only to turn around and lose to the same team a month later, you’re left with a lot of questions.  And in many ways, our reactions to the loss were as deeply varied as our reactions to the win. We wanted to scream.  We wanted to cry.  We wanted not to feel so overwhelingly failed.

And the thing about failure is that it feels so individual. When we made that win, we did it because we were together. We were a team.  All of a sudden, when we lost again, the fragile team-ocity we’d cultivated suddenly broke apart.  We needed someone to blame – and none of us wanted to be at fault.  We won together, but we wanted to believe that the loss belonged to one or two people, or – even better – one or two completely uncontrollable circumstances.  The calls were bad.  The rink was hot.  The opponent was stacked.  Surely it was anything but us.

We have one more bout, at home, on August 20th.  And I want us to win.  I want us to close out the season riding a high like the one we felt in June.  But more than that, I want us to feel like a team again.  I want us to be able to overcome the strains and cracks caused by an unexpected loss.  I want us to put it behind us, to remember that nobody’s perfect, and to remember that we need each other. I want us to be able to sacrifice our own egos for the good of the team.  Because, however things turn out, I want to walk away knowing that we protected our jammers at all costs, working seamlessly in packs, and fought our hearts out for our teammates from beginning to end, regardless of how we feel about each other off the track.

I love my Capitol Defenders, and I don’t want to see us split apart.  This is our last one of the season, girls.  Let’s prove that we belong together.

Me, Uni-Psycho, and C-Murda smiling BEFORE the big loss. Guess what? I love them just as much AFTER the loss. Go figure.

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Jul 072011
 

I am burnt-out, tired, emotional, over worked, under paid and ready for my effing vacation from the world. Get me to RollerCon 2012!

Something about this time of the season gets my booty shorts in a wad up my big beautiful behind . . . I’m pretty sure it is mid / end of the season burn out, but man I tell you it’s hitting me particularly hard this year. My team the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombshells have had a long (and amazing) season already and we’ve got more games to come. My real world job is without a doubt kicking my ass . . . I love it and I’m good at it, but dude it is frying my brain.

I am ready for Vegas baby! I freaking love RollerCon and this year is promising to be the best yet. Everything is happening in one place, making it even more convenient (not to mention easier to track down your pals). I am actually leading a seminar on Friday at RC about injury stuff and am looking forward to many, many challenge bouts.

I am so excited about RollerCon I have vowed to loose 10 lbs, bought a new swimsuit (my first in five years) and have even been tanning. I got a killer rate on airfare – thank you Southwest – and  can’t stop thinking about my escape from the world.

If you have never been to RollerCon just expect to have fun. Don’t expect to get into classes (although I have heard it is better this year), drop in on challenges or overly network – go with the mission to enjoy yourself. Girls will be walking around pretty much naked by Saturday, the social events will be fun, but try and get out on the Strip and enjoy Vegas – VEGAS BABY!

RC rules to abide by:

*Don’t forget sunscreen! Not just a cheesy song from the late 90s – nothing sucks more on vacation then being a lobster.

*Hydrate! Drink water, Gatorade, coconut water or whatever your preference is. Drink more then you think you need to and be extra sure to hydrate when you are drinking.

*Be nice! Douchebaggery does not happen often at RC, but it happens. Be nice, say hi to people, don’t complain – We have all invested our hard earned money on this little trip and everyone is there to have fun.

*Pack extra shorts and socks – for some reason I never feel like I have enough.

*Take care of your body – don’t over do it, over drink and remember to stretch and all that good stuff.

*Take time to relax – remember the pool? Oh yea . . . be sure and designate a little R & R time.

*VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t tag me in any incriminating photos on Facebook ;)

The days literally can not pass soon enough . . . is it time yet?

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May 302011
 

A couple of weeks ago The Flaming Lips came to town.  When tickets had gone on sale two months prior, I swiped up three right away- One for me, one for Sybil Action and one for the Duke of Triumph- Sybil’s husband.
I had ulterior motives, you see. I was bound and determined to pop the question to my best friend.

I hatched this one plan of contacting the band. In my mind’s eye, I could visualize Wayne Coyne delivering a heartfelt monologue halfway through the show- all about friendship and love and roller derby.

I’d be backstage, all dressed up in a giant rabbit costume, or in my derby gear (or both) and just when the band’s front man invited Sybil up on stage, I would come out with a ring, bend down on one knee and Sybil would tearily nod yes. Cue massive applause and cheers. The Duke tosses his head back and gales of laughter issue forth and the three of us merrily skip and giggle and cavort on stage with the band…but I procrastinated and forgot to email the band.
And…that was really the only plotting and planning I had done- Go to a show, have some famous guy talk up what a great lady Sybil is, stick a Cubic Zirconium piece of jewelry on her hand and call it a day.

But really- what’s the point of doing all that if I haven’t delved into the reason WHY I consider her my derby wife?
As you may or may not know- a derby wife is pretty much a girl that reminds you of all the things that you ever liked in another person. They’ve got your back and you’ve got theirs, they’re with you through thick and thin, you are best friends and it’s as simple and as complicated as that. It’s exactly how I’ve always felt about Sybil Action. I wanted her to be my ‘DW’ probably before I even wanted to roller derby. There are boundless reasons why. I could list them out, beginning with…starting with…well, maybe I can’t list them.
I just keep thinking of moments we’ve shared, wine we’ve drunk, the laughter and the comfort, tears and joy.

I then think of all the times she’s been there to save me from doing something stupid. I’m humbled that she continues to be my friend, because there’s been a lot of stupid-saving on her part.
(Side note: I left a section or two out of my prior blogs. See, there was a part of my life that I wasn’t sure I was going to discuss, so I omitted a few things.  But I’ve decided to touch upon them, so- as Paul Harvey would say, “And now- the rest of the story”)

About four or five years ago, I was living in Florida and was in a terrible relationship. Sybil was in North Carolina and we were doing our best to call each other every once in a while and catch up. During one of our random phone chats, Sybil informed me that she was going to begin doing roller derby. This seemed completely normal to me. After all, we’d gone through our fair share of interesting activities already: stealing cars, flying planes, shooting pool, shooting guns, beauty contests, amateur strip nights, consulate meetings, crawfish boils- roller derby seemed like the next logical step. I wished her the best and asked her to keep me updated on it. We talked a little while more, promising to keep in touch- the usual long distance stuff.

Time passed. I had gotten out of my terrible relationship and as a result- landed into the most unholy warship of depressions known to man. After years of walking on eggshells, hiding injuries and being hyper-vigilant to the slightest change of behavior and/or environment- I pretty much forgot how to function as a human being.
I became withdrawn and uninterested in everything. I quit my job, stopped talking to friends- even to Sybil. I was rapidly heading towards complete breakdown.
I made a decision to move to the Midwest and live with my parents one night, when the only other choice was to cease functioning altogether.
I hated living in Missouri, but it gave me the opportunity to start healing. I got a job at a payroll company, and began therapy once my insurance kicked in. I began to settle in to my new life- trying to make myself believe that I would be content popping ‘zombie’ pills, processing payrolls for a living and playing Dominoes every Sunday with my Mom and Pops (which actually is pretty fun, come to think of it)…trying to make myself believe that I would be content popping ‘zombie pills’, processing payrolls for a living and dodging tornadoes the rest of my life.
One day though, at our company weekly meeting- a girl walked in sporting the ugliest black eye ever. My past came rushing back in the split of a second. I didn’t know if I should hide under the table or go up to her and offer her assistance in escaping. Just before I passed out from hyper-ventilating, I overheard her say, “It’s from roller derby”.
It was as if Sybil had come in the room, sat down next to me and calmed me down like she always has been able to do. That conversation we had shared so many months before came back to me, prompting me to really change my life for the better. And then there was that night dodging tornadoes that kismet once again took over and guided me towards the last five minutes of a derby bout on television. A remedial conclusion abacus started clicking in my head: Roller derby on the Dummy, Sybil plays roller derby, roller, roller, roller, derby, derby, derby (ding- conclusion!) If Sybil started doing derby, why- by Jove, I was going to do derby too!
I got back in touch with her and we picked up right where we had left off. I started making plans for my future. It took another year, but I finally made it back to Charlotte.
This past August- she introduced me to her new team- The Charlotte Speed Demons. I began helping out with non-skating duties until I was given the opportunity to join their skater training program in March.
I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me! Finally, at long last- Sybil and I would have the opportunity to participate in a team together. Our partnership on the track would be the stuff that legends are made from- the synergy we would produce would be infectious- world peace! Happy babies! Jesus and Satan sharing a beer!

The day before I started my skating career, Sybil’s most likely ended for good when her leg decided to shatter at practice.

That’s the other thing about Sybil and me- Irony is our constant companion.
That’s the whole story, so now back to The Flaming Lips show:

I had the rings in my right pocket and my digital camera in my left. All that I needed was for Duke to get the camera and the proposal to be made. I leaned over and said as quietly as I could-

“I’M GOING TO PROPOSE TO YOUR WIFE! TAKE MY CAMERA AND SHOOT LOTS OF PICTURES, OKAY?”


Duke looked at me, features slightly askew before saying, “Nah. Why don’t you wait for another time, okay? You don’t even have rings, just enjoy the show.”
My face must have done one of those ‘crestfallen’ maneuvers, because he then said, “You do have rings, don’t you? Have you been planning on doing this all along?”
I nodded my head and he motioned for the camera. I excitedly went for the rings but Sybil reached in and gave the camera back to me.
“Take our picture, here!” So, I awkwardly began an impromptu photo session. If it wasn’t for the Duke of Triumph stepping in and grabbing the camera, I know I would have lost my courage. Sybil looked around and asked what was going on. I got down on one knee and said-

“Sybil- I tried to think of your favorite color and I didn’t know what it was. I tried to think of your favorite flower, and I couldn’t do that either. What I do know is that you are more than a color or a flower choice to me. You are more like an emotion, or a blood transfusion, and I need you in my life. Would you do me the honor of being my derby wife (I didn’t really say that. I was too nervous and wound up vomiting out something about her being crippled and lame, but that I’d take her anyways. But if I had a take two, then I definitely would’ve said that bit about the flowers and the transfusion)?”
She looked around at Duke, then at the crowd of onlookers, finally at me and laughed.

But then she again looked down at me kneeling, looking vulnerable and desperate and laughed some more.


She eventually said yes.
I think we’ll wait until next season to tie the wax-laced knot. That gives me time to pass assessments and her time to adjust to all the plates and screws she’s adopted into her leg. I’m also thinking about getting my act together, as it’s about time I start doing some of the saving once in a while.

 

 

 

It’s a day early, but Jenna- I love you. Happy Birthday, derby wife-to-be.

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