Roller derby is a sport that the vast majority adore. It gives you a greater sense of who you are as a person, allows you to grow in ways you didn’t think possible and opens doors for your emotional and mental states of mind. You fall in love with roller derby for a variety of reasons, never once contemplating that derby may actually kick you in the face when you least expect it, when you hit a negative wall – even with your teammates and friends around you, supporting you, it is you who is generally the only person who can make a change for the better.
So… there are only two sleeps left between today and Saturday.
What is so important about Saturday you may ask? Well.. Saturday happens to be a pretty awesome day.. infact this Saturday I will be playing my first bout with the Mansfield Misfits. Oh yes… awesome stuff.
Though while this is an awesome thing, I am also cacking my derby panties.
At the start of this week I was excited, kinda like the way I get around Christmas. We had a good scrimmage practice on Sunday night, I felt good about jamming in my newly broken in boots, figured out what I need to focus on/avoid and noticed how my team are looking – confident! But Tuesday… Tuesday I started to panic. For some reason, something in my mind clicked and sent me into partial meltdown mode on Tuesday night.
I have never really been nervous before, not like this. Some people have asked about being nervous when I go on stage…. like skating, singing is natural for me and I have been doing it long enough to know I can just get up on stage and enjoy myself. In a way singing and derby has close links, when I get up on stage I’m not just Holly, I am this confident kickass person who take’s no crap and is there to have a good time – and for derby it is the same. I am not just normal Holly, I am Hollycidal Violation, I may not be an entirely different person but my derby name and persona allows me to let go and be who I am on track. Yes. I have been skating long enough for it to be natural and second nature, but the pressure is different. It may be because it is my first bout with MM. That we have people coming to watch, especially MamaCidal… it means so much that these people are coming to see me play for the first time, MamaCidal has seen me figure skate but this is so so different. I was good at figure skating, but I really took to derby with such ease and confidence and I genuinely feel like this I something I am actually kinda good at.
So this notion of nerves is a strange and new one for me. I did not realise how quickly excitement could so easily turn into nerves. So now I am trying to control my emotions, not supress or disregard, but control them. I spent a while looking advice online on getting to a positive mental state and found some positive results from Rollerderby Athlete amongst others – who highly recommend acknowledging when you are not in control, relaxing and then refocusing that energy. And I feel this to be positive and worthwhile advice. Though sometimes you cannot always be in control, as seen by our lovely Walnut Whip getting excited and nervous about a friendly scrimmage with a local team and ending up with a neverending nosebleed. Good memories! But a prime example of a confident skater pysching herself out.
Now the reality has hit me, I have gone from being excited about lining up on that jam line to suddenly feeling the pressure of being on that jam line. I have no serious worries or disbelief in my ability on track and as a jammer, I do feel confident. Although there is that annoying little voice in the back of my head that does point out the possibility of failure. But if anything happens, I must remember to get my head in the current jam, have specific jamnesia for the negatives in the previous bout.
Another piece of advice I will be taking is surrounding the organisation and stress side of things. I aim to be packed Friday evening. Saturday morning I hope to recheck my derby gear, make sure I have spares/backup bits of kit, make sure I have my overnight bag, eat breakfast, mentally prepare, fuss the dog (as it will be impossible to avoid the dog), pack the cheese/pasta I make Friday night along with other snacks and make sure I have extra water! Then go pick up the wife and make our way to Barnsley. Get there early and meet in the carpark for some team chillout and whatnot.
As it currently stands my feelings are as follows:
- Skate hard and skate clean
- Enjoy myself and learn from the experience
- Be proud of myself and my derby wife for how we did
- Be proud of my team for simply getting to our first bout
- Watch some awesome mens derby
- Eat cake
- Get drunk
- Win the afterparty
Sound good? Bagofnerves.