I took my usual place in the newbie area, but soon noticed that it was a little cramped...
Where there is usually, at most, 5 or 6 of us there was now not much space at all and people were queuing round the corner! Our usual up and down the width had to become a mini track so we could skate comfortably and not risk any wheel locks!* This influx of fresh meat was due to the bout at the weekend and part of me was like "Woohoo! Awesome! More people know about the Brawds!" yet, part of me was a little unnerved about the lack of space and the fact that these fresh meat were really good!
After the bout and the after party, I really felt like a Brawd and I felt like I needed to pass on advice to these newbies. I made some points about where the pressure should be in a plough stop and how it varies from a plough stance in skiing (in skiing, the weight is on the inside, in order to dig the blades in and to stop you from going so fast - in derby, the weight is on the outside and you push your heels out) but I also made a point that, although I knew this, I still couldn't plough stop!
I continued practicing each skill, but now with a sense that I needed to be better than I was in order to fit in with the calibre of these new skaters. However, the more I tried to be better, the less I was thinking about the skill and kept messing up. So I decided to get in my own zone and not worry about how good everyone else was. At the end of the day, every one learns differently and, eventually, I will crack it. A coach once told me that when she first started, she found the basic levels the hardest yet her friends found them easier, then as she progressed, she found the harder skills easier and her friends found them harder. I've always remembered this as it helps. If you start comparing yourself to everyone else then you'll never reach your best ability as you're trying to reach someone else's. Just because someone else finds it easy and you find it hard, doesn't make you weird or incapable. A little perseverance and dedication and you'll get there! (And I'll let you know when I do too!)
* After writing that I became aware that I will need to get used to cramped skating conditions for pack work!