First Bout 

Saturday August 20, I participated in my first official bout with my home team the Gateway Grim Reapers. It was the team’s debut, and gosh how excited we all were! I had been waiting for this game since I got cleared for scrimmage, back in February/March of this year.

Despite my excitement, an overuse injury struck me ten days before the game. My left foot was pretty much useless for a while, which caused me to miss practice, and pray to the derby gods to let me play my first game, even for one jam.

The derby gods compromised on letting me block, which seemed the least painful position for my foot. Anything on toestops made me cringe, therefore, no jamming.

*Insert really sad face here*

I’m not going to lie, the entire game all I wanted to do was get out there and hit walls of blockers. It’s ok because I’ll hit them next bout. I got to hit and get hit by jammers a lot though.

Look at all those hits! There’s even some toestop action here, tsk tsk.

Use your edges, use your edges!

This bout was special in so many ways. It was my first one, it was the team’s debut, and my loved ones were watching me. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I usually get before scrimmages. We had crazy skull faces made up which smeared throughout the night. We wore reapers capes during our intro song, For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica. That stuff was epic. So amazing. I felt like a super hero.

The game also went by so fast. It’s like someone screwed up with the clock and set it in fast forward. I wish I had played more, I wish I had jammed (LOL), but overall, I’m super happy I could play at all. I’m happy I could be there for my team, and I had so much fun.

My league mates are truly top of the line classy players and human beings. I couldn’t imagine playing with and against anyone else for my first bout.

I ended the game with immense gratitude. I was proud too of course. Last year on the same day, I had failed my 27/5 yet again. I had no idea I’d be playing in a bout a year later. I had no idea I’d actually do something quasi-decent on the track, and not just stand there. Derby is hard, but I’m learning, one practice at a time. My teammates are patient with me, they sometimes yell in a murderous tone of voice when I do something stupid, but it’s all love, you guys.

This bout is the first of many. I’m honored to be part of such an amazing group of women, who are inspiring, and tough, and kind, and funny, and loving, and yeah… Garden State Rollergirls for life. ❤

Keeks

All photo credits go to Sean Hale and Quick Draw Photography.

Strong Athletic Skater

oewifhoiewBeing an athlete is hard! There’s all this time spent working on technique, and improving skills, while trying as much as possible to avoid injuries. Injury! What an ugly word. I don’t know anyone who played any sport and didn’t get injured at least once. Obviously, we want to stay away from serious injuries that will keep us out for weeks, or months at a time. I cringe every time I hear the word surgery, plates and screws. Sadly, that reality cannot be avoided.

How you deal with injuries brings out a whole new level of commitment and dedication to the sport you love. It makes you rethink how to live your life, and how to do the simplest tasks such as carrying groceries, showering or walking. It makes you feel so vulnerable, weak almost. You can’t work out like you want to. You can’t move without feeling pain somewhere.

I hate injuries. I do everything in my power to avoid them. Although it’s nothing broken, something as small as blisters can still make my life hell! I couldn’t even imagine being off skates for longer than six months… I already go crazy if I miss one week.

I’d like to dedicate this post to skaters who had to step down for weeks or months at a time, and still stayed strong. Those skaters showed up to games with their crutches on, wearing special fitted braces, limping, but smiling. Even if they couldn’t play, they were there. I saw them heal, and work their way back up to their fittest level. I scrimmage with them, and feel their strength and speed. These folks inspire me. They tell me injuries aren’t the end of the road. They are evidence that being an athlete is hard, and sacrifices must be made, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

These strong athletic skaters make me look at my own journey, and make me grateful to be on wheels. They make me feel strong when I push myself. They make me feel powerful and dedicated when I show up to practice and feel like the least good skater out there. They give me perspective. They give me that sense of longevity I long to gain despite life’s demands. They make me proud to be with them. They give me faith. They make me get up and try. It doesn’t matter if my day was horrible. I leave it all on the track, and get those hugs and fist bumps that mean the world because we’re all in this together. It’s real love out there, among pain, sweat and tears.

To all the strong athletic skaters in my league, I say thank you. It’s a real honor and privilege to watch you fight your way up, and grow. It’s a real treat to skate by your side. You make me feel like I can do anything.

Keeks

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