Do you remember gym class in elementary school? The anxiety you’d feel when it was time for teams to be selected? You stood in that line waiting, hoping, praying you wouldn’t be last. That someone would show mercy and pick you – even if you did have 2 left feet, your thumbs were on backwards & you didn’t know a soccer goal from a track hurdle! You just didn’t want to be last on the line. Now imagine being an adult working for a year or more to learn and grow within the sport you love and here you are again. On the line, waiting to see if you’ll get picked and if you do get picked – by which team. That nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach – ok, more like a taxi parked, revving its engine in the pit of your stomach. Yep, the anxiety could drive you absolutely nuts!
Every member of our Queen’s Court (our pool of undrafted newbies) is feeling all of that and so much more right now. They’ve been working so hard to improve and impress our home and travel teams. But now is the hard part – putting into action their skills and talent and having faith that their hard work will pay off. Or maybe that’s the easy part. Last Monday (September 23rd), 14 of these amazing ladies strapped on their quads & safety equipment to scrimmage against The Finger Lakes’ Lunachicks. This scrimmage was a chance for league-mates to watch as the Court played for some their first & most their last time as part of the 2013 Court team they have become. It was also a chance for their family & friends to come see what it is they have been doing on Sunday nights at the rink; to see the skills they have been working so hard to perfect.
The Court has been skating with each of our home teams over the past few weeks, in addition to attending league practices and their own Court practice, as a chance to get to know the home teams. A few have also been skating weekly Alley Kats practices, as they were selected as rostered players for the Kats travel bout at Plattsburgh on September 28. This is of course in addition to their regular day jobs, their families, friends and all other aspects of their life off the track. (Makes you kind of tired just thinking about it, huh?) Well, that’s the life of a derby girl.
All our vets have been through this in some way, shape or form too. Every year the “newbies” or “fresh meat” was put through similar drills to become part of QCRG … skating multiple practices, attending team parties and going to team fundraisers – just to name some of it. Being a derby girl isn’t all skating and fun – there’s a lot of work that goes into it too.
But the stress on new folks can get intense. You worry constantly – you finish a practice thinking “I messed up that drill.” “I felt completely lost & looked terrible trying to keep up.” “I fell too much.” “I didn’t fall enough.” (Derby philosophy = if you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning.) “No one said what I needed to improve on.” “No one said I did anything right.” It can all add up to make you want to quit or just stay where you are because there’s less pressure. And some do make the decision to stay in the Court – some because they are coming back from injuries and need more time to heal. Some because their outside commitments to family or finishing a college degree is too much to juggle by adding weekly double league practices, team practices and off-skate training to their schedules. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Many of our current draftees have been in our Court for more than a year – and their strength & confidence is showing. They’ve come out stronger and better. And others have found their way into our derby family through other paths. Volunteering is a big part of what our organization does and what makes our league able to continue moving forward. Without all of our skaters, volunteers, non-skating officials and refs, we would fall apart.
And as for the draftees in our court this year … they hold a very special place in my heart. They are an absolutely amazing group of women and I’ve had the tremendous pleasure & honor of calling friends this season. I’ve watched them go from scared of trying to throwing themselves into learning every skill demonstrated and excelling at them. They all have strengths, they all have weaknesses but the one thing they will always have – no matter where they end up – is each other. If they are wearing the same uniforms or not after next week, it won’t matter – they know if they are feeling nervous or down, there is a derby family member a text or phone call away to help her turn her feelings positive. If they fall – they will pick each other up … sometimes that has been literally, sometimes figuratively and sometimes emotionally. Watching their confidence as skaters grow has been great – watching them become friends, family & supporters of each other has been amazing. Our philosophy has been – once a member of our derby family, always a member of our derby family … you can’t get rid of us that easily! So as they wait this week for the phone calls – I just hope they remember they are already loved by their derby family & already appreciated for what they’ve gone through. I can’t wait to see them all continue their derby careers & watch how much they’ll grow with their new teams.
The Court’s cheer …
Devil Dollies snapping bras;
Purple Kats flashing claws;
Knockout knuckles on our fists;
Red hot Saucies rocking it.
Who cares where we’ll be,
‘Cause we’re a part of QCRG! QCRG! QCRG!
As you each go forth, skate well, stay healthy, grow stronger and stay positive!