Thursday, 4 September 2014

Week 63: Derby or Not Derby

So recently, I have been struggling with my feelings towards Derby. I feel like I'm stuck at a crossroads with absolutely no idea which direction to go! I have wanted to be a ref since I started. I have a fondness and an appetite for the rules, hence why I have thrown myself into NSOing. Yet I also feel like I do want to play the game, and do what I fell in love with when I saw my first bout. I feel that if I focus on both, they will both suffer, so it is best to focus on one and get awesome at it. I must admit I am leaning more to one side, but it is still incredibly hard to make a commitment.

As you know from my previous post, I have been questioning my skills in game play. On one hand, I feel like I suck. As soon as someone goes in to me, I fall down. If someone tries to push me, I suddenly forget what a plough stop is. I find it incredibly hard to channel any kind of aggression, so I can't hit, or move any one. I just push against them feebly hoping they might get distracted and forget I'm trying to get past! There is also way too much to think about. I just can't keep track of both jammers, my blockers, and the other team! The whistle goes, and all tactics previously discussed go straight out of my head and I'm just trying my best to stay upright! After every game play and tactics practice, I usually cry and decide that I should just forget about playing the game. I beat myself up about how it's because of my lack of determination, how I don't push myself, how I'm not committed enough, how poor my cross-training is.

However, my feelings at skills practice usually change. I love doing skills in pairs. I love practising whips, I loved my first hitting practice, I loved positional blocking. I also love practising solo skills. I love transitions, and crossovers, and weaving. It all makes me feel like I'm getting better at skating and that I am gradually improving. But then it all falls apart again in a game play scenario.
I really think I would enjoy reffing. I attended a couple of zebra lessons a few months ago and really enjoyed it! I love NSOing so it seems to make sense that I would enjoy reffing. I love learning the rules and all the technicalities that make up roller derby. I also tend to find myself watching the officials more than the players when at a bout! (I think there may also be a little bit of me that enjoys telling people off!) Admittedly, I found parts of reffing terrifying. Jammer reffing, for example, I found insanely hard! It was near on impossible to keep track of my jammer, watch for penalties, and count points, all while trying to skate! I knew, though, that I would get better at this with practice.
The practising theory is the thing that makes it such a hard decision! I know I will get better at reffing with practice, so I should therefore get better at game-play with practice. My derby experience shows that I am not a quitter. Every tactics practice brings back the feelings of terror and the butterflies in my tummy that are all too familiar from my first days. I also can't hate it that much as I keep going back and I keep wanting to go! I don't feel like I have to or dread every Tuesday evening. I want to go. Maybe it's because I'm unlikely to hurt myself reffing. It might be because it's more mental learning than physical learning. But the physical side is going to help me get closer to passing my minimum skills, which is definitely one of my goals.
This is where my brain keeps going round and round in circles until I get upset, confused, and decide to write a blog post about it. It would be nice that I didn't have to make a decision, but if I decided to do both, I'd have to go skating 3 nights a week which I just can't do. I feel that a pro/con list may be necessary, I might also talk to people from both areas and see what it was that made up their minds.
If you've got any ideas, answers on a postcode, please!


  1. So I literally read your whole blog in two days (mind you, whilst working or "working" ;) ) and to finish on this post makes me incredibly sad. Not because you're considering the leap from playing derby to reffing, but because you feel as though you have to make this choice right now. I loved reading about your journey and passionate entry into the derby world and I felt like I could have been right there beside you as one of your teammates/friends. I just feel like it is too soon for you to give up on the playing aspect seeing as you haven't even gotten out there, fully, yet. I've read a million (maybe an overstatement :P) blogs about derby and how people have this confused, jumbled, mess of a scrimmage or bout and they can't wrap their heads around what is happening at the time or even after the final whistle. But it does get easier with time and practice. Just like it got easier for you with your one leg glides, your crossovers, and even skating in general! While I'm at a similar level as you, attempting level 2 assessments tonight, I wish I could finish (or start!) this journey of assessments and then, eventually, bouting with you. I guess it's that I feel a sentiment after reading about your derby career here and I'm just hoping that you give it at least a few bouting chances before decided to hang up your jersey for the zebra stripes (although that ref jersey dress is amazing!). Good luck! <3 :) Much derby love.

    1. Heya,
      Wow, that's some dedication to my blog!
      Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to read everything. It's always nice to know that there is someone out there in a similar situation. It's still a tough decision. But I'm not giving up entirely on derby so I can always change my mind. :)
      Derby love right back at ya! <3 xx

  2. I read this post and identified with a lot of what you are feeling. I was terrified by contact at first so thought that reffing would be the way to go as I really wanted to skate. I have been NSOing regularly and as well as skating, was ref training as well. Eventually I realised that I was spreading myself so thinly that I was going to end up being mediocre at lots of things! I gave up ref training for the moment as although I am pretty rubbish at hitting, playing derby is where my heart is at the moment. I know it is going to be a long road, and maybe I will re-think this in the future but I feel like I have to give it a go. This blogpost was really helpful to me as it put things in perspective:
    I hope you figure things out for yourself, and don't stop enjoying derby, that it what it is all about! Miss Fury

    1. Hey Miss Fury,
      Thanks for reading. :) It's good to hear you found where your heart is. I believe I will never stop loving derby, it's just deciding what role I play in it. That is the ultimate question!
      Derby love. <3

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