What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?
I know that I keep circling back around to roller derby on many of these posts; but, for the better part of the year, this was a big factor in my life.
The risks of roller derby are obvious…it’s a physical sport, and there are plenty of reasons that you wear all of those pads and a helmet. There are also risks that may not be so obvious.
Based on the waivers that I had to sign, and the number of times that I had to provide proof of insurance, the risks that I faced were not to be taken lightly. Broken bones, bruises, floor burns…all a fairly likely outcome from any given practice.
But, it’s the mental risks that almost kept me from trying in the first place. There’s the fear of falling. You’d think that this would resolve itself pretty quickly, but until you actually fall that first time, you spend a lot of time holding yourself very stiffly, over-compensating for every wobble.
Once that first really hard crash happens, you get up, dust yourself off, push your helmet back up out of your eyes, and you realize, “Okay. That wasn’t so bad.” You stop worrying about falling and concentrate on falling correctly.
Then, there’s the risk of looking stupid. This one takes a lot longer to overcome. After months of talking about derby, and having people tilt their heads to the side and ask, “Roller derby? You?”
You sit next to the rink watching other women glide around in all of their tattooed, pierced, booty-shorts & fish nets wearing glory and you think, “Who the HELL am I kidding?” You, in your over-sized Beatles tee-shirt and basketball shorts, with exactly NO tattoos, and only the piercings you got at Dillards for your twelfth birthday.
Eventually, you discover that pantyhose under fish nets actually ease rink rash, and that safety in the form of gigantic knee pads and a hot pink mouth guard is sexy.
You discover that the pure terror of throwing yourself flat on the floor from a full-out sprint turns into sheer exhilaration when you snake in and out of a pack of skaters and get to the head of the swiftly moving line; or, the thrill of finally getting the hang of crossovers, enabling you to go full speed around the track.
You forget to care what you look like, or how your hair looks…nobody can see it under your helmet, anyway. As long as you look and feel like a bad-ass derby chick who will put you on your back as soon as you try to pass, the risks are forgotten.
Suddenly, the rewards of self-confidence and the swagger that you start to carry yourself with are worth the risk. You look for ways to translate that into the rest of your life.
In the end, injuries side-lined me and derailed my derby dreams; but, the risks were worth the fear, the pain, and the tears. If I could, I would do it all over again.
I’m participating in #Reverb12. Through participation in the Reverb projects, I have made some treasured friends, learned a lot about myself and gained invaluable experience as a writer and as an artist. Reverb12 is the chance to bid farewell to 2012, and to look forward to 2013 with an open heart. Join us, won’t you?