Thursday, 20 November 2014

Week 74: I'm Not Going Anywhere

Wow! I can't believe my last post was in September! Don't worry, I didn't disappear in to a spiral of derby self-doubt (as my previous post my suggest), life just caught up with me and I had a lot of shit to sort out. Fortunately, life is now back on track (maybe with a couple of bumps in the near future) and my derby life seems to have slotted itself onto it's own tracks.

I think a lot of people thought from my previous post that I was questioning my dedication and love of derby. This is not true. I will never stop loving derby. I can't even fathom what my life would be without derby. But this doesn't necessarily mean playing the game.
When I first started derby, I loved it. It was scary, and I was terrible, and I didn't know why I was even attempting such a thing, but there was a deep yearning inside of me that would not let me give up. I put blood, sweat and tears into a sport that I could not imagine living without. That fire has not burnt out, but it just burns differently now. The thought of playing the game does not move me. I don't go to scrimmages or practices thinking "I need more! This is what I want to do!" The other day we had a practice where one of the skills was optional so I sat it out. Not once have I done that, I usually dive in no matter what!

What does get that fire roaring, though, is officiating. I love NSOing. I jump at every opportunity I get to do so, I take pride in updating my CV and am counting down until my 50th bout and dream of when I will reach my 100th. I look in awe at NSOs with tournament patches all over their hoodies and wish I was half as good as them. I take pride in my work and I take it very seriously. I keep on my toes the whole time, constantly worrying that something could go wrong, ready for whatever might get thrown my way. I drive across the country for bouts, bake until the early hours to make sure I have goodies to bring with me. I've developed an interest in stop watches and clip boards. I strive to be better, to be able to count points quicker than the jammer ref, to be able to hear penalties from the OPR who's lost their voice. I want to be the best I can be.
Photo by Martin's Derby Photos
This naturally then leads onto a love of Reffing. I have had experience of reffing three times in my skating life. I have jammer reffed twice and have also shadowed IPRs. Each time I found it terrifying. I have never made a call on a penalty, I've lost my jammer, I've almost skated onto the track, I've fogotten how to stop, and realised I am terrible at doing hand signals while skating, but I have loved it every time. I want to learn more, I want to get better. It has also made me want to be a better skater, to nail my transitions, to be able to side surf. My derby idols are no longer the ones on the track, but the ones in stripes. I want to be able to watch a pack like a hawk and spot the of penalties, I want to have the loudest voice and be able to blow my whistle properly, I want to be able to deal with every situation and know the rules inside and out, I want to be a bad-ass skater who can skate just as well (maybe ever better!) as those on track. That is what I want.
So when people seem to react like I'm quitting derby or that I'm giving up, I'm not going anywhere. I'm just doing derby my way.

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