Skating back to 2013

Reflection is a cool thing, especially when you blog, write or journal. I haven't written much about my Roller Derby journey expect this recent piece. But I dug this one out from my old blog as I thought it would be fun to share. So float with me back to 2013....

...I lye in shavasana on the studio floor, I melt into the wooden surface. So energized by the practice yet so tranquil. Floating into another world, in the midst of calm, I'm skating. How bizarre that in such a peaceful place I find myself in this hectic sport. Yet in this hectic sport I can find peace! This is where I want to be.

Just over 6 years ago, I thought up some crazy plan to play roller derby. I don't know where it came from, I didn't event know what roller derby was. All I knew is that it was crazy, exciting and fast and I had  to be a part of it. As I began investigating, I found that it wasn't that difficult to get involved in, but I didn't want to go down this road alone. Dani, one of my best friends would be up for the madness of this game.

I'd met Dani six years earlier on another crazy mission, bobsleigh. Yes, Australia has a bobsleigh team! Attempting to qualify for the 2006 winter games, we hurled ourselves down tracks all over the world. She seemed the perfect person to come on this adventure with me. And so we entered....into the world of roller derby.

After purchasing our skate gear, we found ourselves surrounded by five year olds at the roller dome. Rolling around getting used to the four wheels that would take us into this new game. 11 months later I found myself in the small town of Fernie, with there very own roller derby league. What an amazing team I had rolled into. In a town of just 4,500 we managed to put together a pretty decent team and by our second year we had started to gain momentum. Before too long I Id find myself lining up in yet another game.

I felt like I have been there so many times before, behind the Jammer line staring into a pack of 8 Blockers, or rather, staring right through a pack of 8 Blockers. Anticipation of the start made the energy so high, the feeling... intense. This is where I thrived. I loved this feeling. A combination of excitement, anticipation's, nerves and not knowing whats about to happen next. I remembered back to my first game, a cloud of confusion with snippets of 'ah ha' moments.

There was so much for me to love about this sport. A combination of power, agility, strength, speed, focus, strategy, teamwork and concentration. A game where you are constantly switching from offense to defense whilst rolling on eight wheels, alongside nine other players on the track. A 64 page rule book and seven officials calling the shots. Throw all that into the mix and it gives you enough things to think about!

Thinking is exactly the challenge. I believe all sports are won from the mind. Through 2012 I played an entire season around 10 official games and more practice games. At first the thought process in Roller Derby was complex. As a Jammer its easy, you have one goal, to get through the pack and score points. As a clean player you can avoid penalties without too much thought. As a Blocker however, the thought process is different. Your main goal is to stop the opposing teams Jammer from getting by. To do this you need to have strategies, you need to understand what strategies the opposing team is playing. Offense and defense switching constantly and being able to understand all this whilst taking and unexpected slamming hit from an opposing player.

In the beginning I was up and down, from Jam to Jam. Sometimes switched on, reading the play and using this to my advantage. Whist other times were a cloud of confusion and unable to execute effective moves or understand what was happening on the track. Perhaps a mind block, or a rookie perspective? Could this be changed through mental imagery? visualization?

I remember lining up for our first scrimmage of 2013. I was by no means and expert, but I wanted to be. We had just driven 2 hours to get here and it was around 7.30pm.

The blast of the whistle and away we went. I Jammed for the most part of the first half. Winning most and loosing some. I alternated in and out of the pack and found myself Blocking more in the second half. My mind had control, every play was clear. I understood this game inside and out. This never flagged. I could see strategies in play and how to counter them. Everything was clear. The entire game seemed like an 'ah ha' moment. If my physical skills had not been able to keep up, my mind knew what was going on. The feeling was incredible.

The learning curve in that first year was huge. A mixture of knowledge and better skills improved my game. But I wasn't a stranger to playing sport from the mind.

Times were exciting in Roller Derby, before I knew it the 2013 season was upon us. I couldn't wait to play and improve and immerse myself in the sport.

Hey there Wanderlusters, Adventurers, Travellers and Soul seekers...

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