Confronting Our Derby Fears

I am terrified of clowns.

Anything that looks so permanently happy must be dying inside, and full of hate and violence, and all sorts of malevolent thoughts, right !?

Halloween is a nightmare for me, as there are clowns –  everywhere! I spent last halloween cowering in fear, thanks to The Ruth Hurts

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This year I am going to confront my fears, and dress as a clown myself.

While contemplating the idea of confronting fears, I asked a few of our league members to tell me about their derby fears, and how they hoped to overcome them.

The idea of derby fear per se sprang from a recent blog composed by one of our newer members, Master Yates, who told us that one of his biggest fears prior to taking up the sport was the impact it could have on his love life. This particular fear was placated with the knowledge that wrist guards were a required piece of safety equipment!!

Here a sample of some of the most recurring fears in our league and how they might also be remedied:

Special K – “I discovered, on my first Sunday, that being on the inside of a pack is terrifying. you don’t want to give up the line, but you don’t want to cut track. your brain wants you to push outside, but at the same time you’re paranoid of taking someone else out!”  Very game specific… and how is he going to overcome this??  “hug that inside line every time I have to skate in a pack. keep going until it becomes second nature! “

Danimal –  “Being the blocker that gives away the one point at the last second that loses a close game” His advice on overcoming this – “ALWAYS know where your wall is and never lose focus on track”

Shock N Awedrey – “everything about roller derby scares me: my first fresh meat session, learning how to do ANY skate skill, breaking my ankle, returning after breaking my ankle,  playing in a tournament, going to bootcamps, playing co-ed with right big units, never knowing if i’m good enough, the list is endless….” (It should be noted that almost immediately after telling me about this, Audrey picked up Best Blocker in the Heartland game against Wolves! Her advice – “do it any way. simples.”

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Kat Chmee and Coco both shared the same fear – having a bad day, and letting people down. The advice to face this – “Be the best person and skater I can be: Train hard, be supportive, and do my best.“

Often it’s specific skills that scare people; like transitions, or falling over during the skate out. The plan to overcome the fear of transitions is simply to do more of them, whilst it seems that the fear of falling in the skate out will always be there!

Injuries are a common fear, as encapsulated by Mumble; “An injury meaning I can’t skate ever again – it’d literally ruin my life, although it’d have to be something really serious to stop me”.

Coincidentally,  Mumble is recently returning from an injury; “I’m currently off-skates (short term) and have found that still going to practice just to watch, or blow the whistle, or operate the stopwatch etc. is a big help. The social side of roller derby is a massive part of it for me and I find belong around the guys (as well as keeping up through social media) helps numb the pain, somewhat. It’s been three weeks now and I’m just about ready to lace up again. By God, I’ve missed it.” He’ll be back before he knows it!!

So, what can we glean from this?

Well, everyone is afraid of something in derby; be it injury, having an off-day, or mastering a new technique. You just have to remember that if you can be worried, so can anyone else – but people are willing to help and will work together with you to make sure you get where you want, or  need to be.

Above all – confront your fears ! And don’t be frightened to ask for help from your league.

Cupid Stunt

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