How Roller Derby Became My Christmas Saviour

xmas_skates

To say Christmas is a peaceful time of year is a fallacy.

Christmas is indeed special. The air is getting colder, the streets in town are busier, resonating with the sound of people scrambling in shops to secure their loved ones that all important gift …but I find at Christmas time life takes its toll on my moral fibre.

I am writing this, sat late at work, after having a mentally stressful day and knowing that I still have to go home and do a million other things:  Make presents, wrap presents, ensure that Chanukah and Christmas cards are sent in time for family and friends.  Make sure that my washing is done, and somewhere in between all this I must eat and get some sleep!  Like I say, not peaceful at all.

There is, however, a ray of sunshine in all of this for me. There is somewhere I can go where I can let all the stress and strain out, where I don’t have to care about the outside world for at least 2 hours; and that is roller derby.

In previous years during Christmas time, I found solace in having a drink or two, or snacking on some unhealthy food for lack of strength needed to cook.  It’s been a poor coping mechanism and by the time Christmas was over, both my weighing scales and bank balance reflected this!  But not this year….

This year I have found myself eating healthily, cooking most evenings, going to the gym most mornings and practising my off-skates skills. I found myself happily springing out of bed on Sunday mornings,  doing some work-out for  #projecthench (a league initiative to get healthy and improve stamina) while anticipating some time spent with some amazing people.

So what was the change between this year and the last? Roller derby.

Having spoken to some of the other team members, I can say without a doubt that I am not the only one who feels roller derby saves their Christmas ‘bacon’. Some other league members come along to get fit, to let off steam, or to just shelter from the stress of the outside world as people go Christmas crazy.

If anything seems to ring true from what people have told me, it is that they want to play so they can relax, see friends, hang out and just skate.

I was worried that training might affect what I was doing at Christmas and how I may not be able to make it – but this is definitely not an issue now. I find myself moving and arranging everything to be able to fit in roller derby instead! So, if anything, I know I want this in my life and I’m starting to appreciate how good it is making me feel this time of year.

I find myself asking family for things they have never encountered before. Christmas presents encouraging  ‘Santa’ to bring me some wrist guards and new wheels is proving challenging  (try explaining to a 60+ year old why you need to protect your wrists without laughing or feeling awkward) but giving me something to really to look forward to on Christmas day.

It feels weird – in a good way – to know I am going to miss (at least for 1 week this month) getting knocked on my ass or smashed out of the track.

….I think Christmas will never be the same again for me.

Yan Damn

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