First, sorry I've been away so long. Life happens.
Originally, this post was going to have somewhat of a negative tone. I had witnessed some derby drama across the Gulf Coast and thought I'd editorialize. But while putting my thoughts together I heard an NPR segment and it gave me a new idea to pursue. Believe it or not, there are a lot of skaters in leagues that play by WFTDA rules but are oblivious as to how to become WFTDA apprentice. But bless their hearts, they practice, scrimmage and on occasion manage to get a another team to agree to play them. But what inevitably happens is the newbie team gets creamed a couple hundred to 7, or so it seems to them. Then they go off of lick their wounds and beat themselves up about all sorts of negative things. Trust me, I hear what they say about themselves and in some cases about the opposing team.
The NPR segment was about women and self criticism and how harshly they judge themselves, you can read it here. The gist of it is that people in general have a mental image of what they look like, when in fact they can be quite the opposite. Which reminded me of the photo "What women see.. what men see...". In the army, I recall a military comic strip "when a civilian gets into a fight" and it depicted himself and a few buddies at his side. "When soldier/marine/sailor gets into a fight" it showed his brothers at his side the entire United States military to back him up. So my thoughts trailed off to various conversations and situations where a skater didn't think they were good enough, capable of something or should all together quit derby. One particular event stands out in my mind.
A few years ago I went to 'Certifiable Derby Training' event in Denton hosted by North Texas Derby Revolution. A lot of Skaters from all over Texas went. After some drills the skaters were assessed into four groups 1 being the highest and 4 needing the most work. Freight Train, a skater with a jam skating (dance style) background, is built like linebacker and graceful like a ballerina. She jams, and blocks and is all around awesomesauce. However Freight Train ended up in level 2 group. There were quite a few skaters that weren't happy with their placement so there was an announcement. "If you feel you belong in a higher group go speak to who's leading that group" I skated over to Freight Train and asked her why she didn't go to the level 1 group? She mentioned that she wanted to go to group 1 but she wasn't sure. "Freight Train you better get your butt over there!" I lightheartedly scolded her and I'm certain I saw a little smile on her face. I haven't asked her, but I think it was because I believed in her/reaffirmed her own thoughts.
But what does this have to do with you dear skater? I'm glad you asked, although probably not aloud. Instead of beating yourself up, first find a non negative way to look at your skills and capabilities. Do not say "I can't hockey stop" "it'll be impossible for me to apex jump" "I can't jam". Secondly, reframe it in the third person "You can't hockey stop yet" "you can jump for assessments, so you can jump a foot across" "you can get through the pack" though using your skater name might be more empowering. Granted this is all easier said than done, but if you get your derby wife to keep you accountable on this, after all you two pretty much tell each other everything right? Then I'm sure you can find a way to make this simple lifehack work for your derby life.