Friday, October 03, 2008

Derby Decisions

My brother Doug said it best. I like the idea of roller derby better than I like playing roller derby. He is 100% correct.

Monday night I found myself suffering from my usual Monday night anxiety. An anxiety caused by the fear of attending Wednesday night practice and the pressure of attending Wednesday night practice. This anxiety started about a month ago - when I started practicing and playing with the team - no more kids corner. As of most recently the anxiety was enhanced by the fear of the looming bout on October 18 as well as the threats of additional practice nights. I was doubting my ability, my level of commitment, and consistently afraid of getting hurt or hurting someone else, amongst other things.

This all reared it's big fat ugly head on Monday night on the way home from class in the form of a panic attack. I calmly walked through the door, grabbed a pen and pad and asked Mike to please review a list of pros and cons with me - pros being the reasons to resign from roller derby.

So we talked. And Mike did not want me to quit. He had valid reasons, but he also didn't know what was in my head and Mike is much more of a go-getter than I am. He told me stories of his wrestling days in high school and his band days as an adult and I remained quiet as I wondered what the hell his stories had to do with me quitting roller derby.

I reminded him that I know myself well enough to know that nothing, I repeat nothing, could make me drive forty minutes to practice on a freezing, pitch black Wednesday night in the winter. Come December I'll already have two nights of class a week and I know my commitment to this sport is not forever and why should I continue to suffer this pressure, anxiety, and possible injury to just quit come winter?

The only cons to quitting I could come up with were missing the intense two hour cardio workout and missing the girls. Mike and I butted heads and I finally just decided to call Doug, my go-to guy for great advice.

Talking to Doug was most helpful. We went over the nitty gritty and the annoying facts - like Sunday practice an hour and a half away - resulting in my never getting to watch football. The whole being held accountable by twelve girls at this point in my life. The fear, which Doug said was quite clear to him in my blog posts. We just talked it all over, and although I made my decision before I even spoke to Mike or Doug, I finally felt good about it. I decided I would resign Tuesday morning.

I woke up Tuesday morning with awful anxiety. Fear of resigning I'm sure. I didn't know if the girls were gonna tell me off or if I'd regret my decision (I doubted it). I e-mailed our team President then posted on the team message board that I submitted my resignation and that I just felt that I could not commit to the team at the level expected of its members and I wished everyone and the team the best.

I thought I'd feel better immediately, but I didn't. I was nervous about what kind of response I would get. Then the responses started rolling in and it was a lot of lets work something outs and please don't do this and I'd be missed and then a very lengthy discussion ensued about levels of commitment and should there be two tiers for members. I sat back saying nothing watching this all unfold. The whole two tiers thing I knew would not fly. It's completely unfair to the full-time committed members who bust their ass week after week and drive all over the place going to practices. That's one of the reasons I resigned - I felt shitty doing this thing half-assed and I knew down the road I'd get shit for it.

So all this unfolded and still no word from the President. It was like an argument amongst children and I was just silently waiting for Mommy to chime in. And then she did.

I admit I was shocked and relieved instantaneously. She told me she understood and respected my decision and would I be interested in helping out the team at the bout and at some practices and events when I could? I felt amazing. So basically, could I still be a part of the team, not have to worry about going to every practice, not have to worry about bouting and getting hurt, and help out the team which I love anyway? Hell yeah!

Then some of the other girls started asking me the same thing. Then I learned that derby teams do have support staff and ours doesn't and that we need people like me. Someone even suggested I learn how to ref which in my opinion is a pretty cool thing to do. Remaining on the team in this new role seemed to make perfect sense to me.

So I went to practice Wednesday in flip flops instead of skates and blew my whistle and reviewed all the rules in more detail and did whatever was needed of me. No one gave me any shit and it was as if nothing changed at all. And let me tell you with one hundred percent certainty, not once did I miss not practicing with those girls. If anything, I felt relief - especially when they were doing their hitting drills.

At the end of the night I only missed not getting in a good workout. But I'm going to dress for now on and bring my skates so that I can help out in that fashion as well so I'm sure my days of playing the game are not over - but I imagine the pressure will no longer be there as I'll only be playing to help better my team and not myself.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

I'm so happy for you--decisions like that are always difficult, especially when you're torn between doing something for yourself and doing something for others. Doug is a really great brother, and Mike is a great boyfriend even if it took a little more pushing for him to understand because he did try to encourage you nonetheless. The most important thing is that you're happy and doing what you need to do, as living with perpetual anxiety is definitely not enjoyable--I know, which is why I made my decision a year ago this month not to move to Austin. <3