I'm only gonna say this once because, as you may notice, I don't really write about rollerderby.

I think this is because I do better with reflection. When derby is all done for me, chances are high that I'll write about it for a long, long time.
It's also so much of an activity that it doesn't leave room to write about it, which I suppose is an idea holding hands with the reflection thing.
I'm DOING it so I'm not thinking about it so much.

While there have been phases of my development in derby, in many ways - socially, physically, and mentally in terms of learning how to play a competitive sport at a high level of play, none of those phases is far enough away from me to really dig into them and root around in the effects of the phases on my life.

It started as an idea, you know?
Almost a fantasy, really.
I'm not sure that I had any intention of following through.
The fact is that practice is typically outside, which in Tucson, AZ can leave you feeling a lot like I imagine corpse reanimation might feel.
It's also really hard. The training is hard, the game is hard, the organization is hard to navigate and requires patience that I don't necessarily have.
It's not cheap, either.
What I spent my money on before, I have no idea but now, there's a stock of wheels and laces and I pride myself on my wide variety of tape rolls.

I think I hung in because I made friends, good friends like Hot Betsy, Ferocious Oxide and Bisbee Bea.
I didn't want to disappoint them and I didn't want to fade off and never see them again.
I mean, how realistic is it to think that when you quit something, you stay in touch?
Maybe to a certain degree but not when you're only at the point where you are building those friendships. If I left, I would have gone back to my old sport, Extreme Couch Sitting.

So I stayed.
I stayed through personal drama with another skater and through my patience issues and in spite of having to learn how to work with people who don't work the way I am used to working with people. That is to say that they aren't Masters of the Corporate Universe.

I stayed through bruises and shin splints and the hard acceptance that the smell of Icy Hot only sort of mixes okay with that of Chanel Mademoiselle. I stayed through feeling like I am the worst of the best, through being slower than a lot of people, through hearing from someone who I thought was a friend that she questioned my athletic ability, through public tears, and through delicate gossip.
I stayed.

Commitment paid off.
I had my first team practice last night and it was amazing.
I felt totally comfortable and I hadn't expected to.
I wasn't last every time.
I messed up and I didnít feel like it was the end of the world.
I loved it.
The right team came and got me and I couldn't be more confident about it.

But it has a dream-like quality, like if I turn over, I might fall out of my bed and ruin everything. This, I'm sure, will go away as will messing up so much and hoping that what I just said came out the right way. Soon enough, there will be an element of real trust instead of one of hopeful trust.

I'm eligible to skate in the first game and my uniform is currently being tailored and I can sort of hardly believe that. I keep imagining the scene of my first game in my head and what will happen when the announcers call my name and number - luckily, with so much time, I finally understand that it will neither be as great nor as awful.
I wonít take power strides around the track and point at the crowd but I wonít fall flat on my butt, either.
And if I did, it would not be as funny as it is in my head.

No, they'll say, " 'Sunny Side Up', number '2 or 3?' " and I'll take my intro and fall into the team box just like the rest of team and then that will be it. Game on.
Then it will be over.

I just can't comprehend the whole thing until after it's done and I am a long way from being done.

arizonasarah at 2:29 p.m.

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