I got asked recently to do a little write up on what makes me, me. I spent a week racking my brain trying to think about what makes me as a skater and a person. Some words that have been used to describe me have been adventurous, intense, self-motivated, and “The Responsible One” – from Muawhaha. Some things that people may not know about me are: I play a whole array of different instruments including trombone, guitar, bass, drums, and piano, I sing, have a photography business, work on/drive motorcycles, use to be a competitive swimmer in college, tattooed, and I once got to help lead baby turtles to the ocean (well ok this really has nothing to do with who I am, but it is still kind of cool).
Ok getting back on track, I grew up being highly involved in music and sports. I have always had a strong competitive drive to do my best and try to win in everything I do including academics, sports, and music. I have even had competition to outdo myself when I have no one else around to compete against. I skated occasionally on inline skates as a kid, but I usually steered clear of any activities that it was likely I would end up with a broken bone. I was more into weight lifting, throwing shot put, and swimming (there are very few opportunities to break bones swimming). As I got older though, I started to branch out into other activities like rock climbing, motorcycle driving, slack lining, soccer, dodge ball, snowboarding, and I dabbled in some softball and basketball. A year and a half ago, I was introduced to the sport of roller derby. Having never seen or really heard of it before, I sat and watched in confusion and amazement at the sport. One of the first thoughts that passed through my mind while watching the guys play was; “Now this is a sport for ME! Lots of hitting, taking out aggression, skill, and it just looks like a lot of fun.” From then on I was hooked. As soon as I graduated college and got a full time job close to Sioux City, I started playing roller derby.
Now just as I am sure this was the story for most, if not all newbies, I spent a lot of time flailing around, falling, and awkwardly making my way around the track. When I first was going to start skating, I thought, “This is going to be easy, I have good balance from yoga and slack lining, I am athletic, and I have always wanted to have the opportunity to hit people without getting in trouble!” I quickly was humbled and learned that this was not going to be an easy thing to pick up, especially since I had never skated with quad skates in my life. I also soon found out that just because you hit someone doesn’t mean that they will fall down and it sometimes means that they will keep going and you will fall down. This was just one of the many times I hit a wall and had to learn to overcome it. I have to credit being involved with a great team and starting with an amazing group of dedicated and inspiring newbies to my success so far in roller derby. We have spent a lot of time so far fighting through pain and frustration, but also had a lot of fun and tons of stories from the experience. Just last weekend I got to play in a bout with the dames and I was amazed at how far everyone has come, myself included. There was a lot less falling, more drive, actual communication, more teamwork, and everyone landed hits that were intentional and clean.
From this experience so far, I have gained many new friends, a strong derby family, many skating skills, confidence, had opportunities to help others in the community, and have more motivation then I ever had before. I learned that I can push myself harder and longer than I ever imagined. This has translated into my daily life and has made me even more motivated than before. During this time, I hit many walls that slowed my progress and made me question whether or not I wanted to continue on the path I am on, but instead I always pushed through and have successfully gotten to where I am today. Now I can hardly contain my excitement on the track and almost start jumping up and down in the middle of a jam when I final use a skill I learned in practice in a jam. I am going to end this with an inspiring quote I recently ran across and I think it fits perfectly with roller derby and life: “Brick walls are there not to stop us from reaching our goals but to stop those other people that don’t want it as bad as you do.”
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