MötLeigh Crüel - Fear and Loathing

It’s a horrible thing when you find yourself with something you desperately want to say but  you’re unable to find the words that even remotely put you on the same course as your chosen point; In these situations I can often be found remarking that it is a horrible thing when you find yourself with something you desperately want to say… Well, you get the picture. 

For those of you who don’t, allow me to break it down into Crüel sized pieces for you; you have a desire to achieve something, you get stuck at the first hurdle, you spend precious time talking about the height of the first hurdle and, after establishing that the hurdle is exactly 74647 meters high and that no amount of talking is going to shrink the bitch, find yourself at exactly the same place you started. Well and truly stuck at the first hurdle.

An artist’s rendition of your personal mental olympics

I have been considering this post for weeks; I’ve picked up my laptop and set it back down, I’ve reached for my notepad but decided that the lack of a pen to hand was the fates telling me today was not blog day, I’ve started composition in my mind and then decided my mental dexterity would best be used to compose filthy alternative lyrics to 90′s indie songs. 40 minutes ago I realized that I had hit a hurdle. Today’s hurdle is fear.

I do not fear writing this post; words are my friends. If nobody reads this; I wrote it for me. As much as they’re my friends, words are also very powerful things and I am fearful of the implications my words might have for me. Truth be told today’s fear is a minor hurdle, by the time I publish this that hurdle will be crushed underfoot. I fight a twice weekly battle with another block that to me is far more debilitating. I, like many derby girls, suffer from crippling self doubt.

Me circa 2009, fear and self confidence issues clearly present…

I have been skating a little over a year now, in that time I have been privileged to make friends with skaters, refs and NSO’s from many different leagues across the country. I have seen some truly incredible skating from rookie skaters and I have seen some truly awful skating from skaters with years of experience and skill behind them. I have watched, I have asked questions and most importantly, I have listened. I have taken in all I can from the derby community, bar one thing.  All those friends I mentioned? Never skated with them. The refs? Officiated me twice, maximum. NSO’s? They do a wonderful job – for the teams that I watch.

I am a derby girl that will not play derby.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know that I am all about celebrating everyone, I am the queen of the pep talk (hereby renamed Pope-talk) and I will encourage anybody because I have belief in their abilities. I do not however, have belief in myself. I am getting dangerously close to hitting derby burnout without ever having really been a derby player. I love the sport but currently my lack of confidence in my own skills is so bad that I am struggling to drag myself to training; I don’t want my teamies to see me skate – I don’t want my best friends, the ladies who have taught and learned alongside me, to see me with wheels on my feet. I organize  the mixed scrims for my team, I refuse to take part in them because I can’t bear the thought of Refs I know watching me play. I drive the Grids to other teams’ scrims and I’ll NSO because the idea of skating in front of other derby players fills me with anxiety. This time last year I could pass off my reluctance to skate as being down to lack of experience, I don’t have that luxury any more; I have to own it for what it is.

I am MötLeigh Crüel, I skate for Grid City Division and I have a phobia of skating in front of people.

The Grids are wonderfully supportive ladies, they know the mental war I’m currently waging on myself and they are doing all they can to help. I know I am being illogical, I know nobody cares if I foul out in 4 jams or if I'm the worst skater on track – they just want me on track in the first place. I also know I’m not the only one out there on a derby downer, I am not the only one who turns up to training and thinks “It would make absolutely no difference to my team’s performance if I weren’t here” or on the very worse days “They’d do so much better without me holding them back.” When it comes to derby, I live inside my own head. This gives me lots of time for useless epiphanies. My latest epiphany tells me I need to consume my  derby doubts before they consume my derby days. With this in mind I’ve decided on a three-pronged attack strategy.

Yes, I know what happens to Leonidas – Just go with it…


Please see above detailed ramblings; enemy well and truly identified.


Ever heard the saying “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”? There’s strength in numbers people… I’ve got a cunning plan…


Here goes: I KNOW I’m not the only skater out there who struggles with self doubt, with that in mind I am issuing a challenge.

I, MötLeigh Crüel, Grid and rollerwitnessphobic, challenge any skater in the land who is battling the same derby demons as me to form an alliance; a derby support network. If you feel that you are becoming a burden to your team and you want to put yourself out there but are petrified of going it alone, contact me. 

(ready for the leap?)

Should you contact me with details of any event that you would like to participate in but are too fraidycat (technical term) to do by yourself, transport, funds and availability permitting, I will do it with you. I will put myself out there, I will skate in front of people and I will skate with you because you are identifying your hurdle and taking a run up beside me.

I’m game if you are. 

Happy Rollin’

MötLeigh Crüel


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