Add 'Em Up

... the small victories. The time here when you managed to not fall down when that notorious blocker slammed into you. The time there when you passed someone you've never passed before while jamming. The time when you finally figured out what was going on while scrimmaging. The time when you were able to do skate lunges on BOTH legs down the rink (ok ... that's me-specific since my right leg usually gives out on me). So much of derby is big and bold and fast and in-your-face that it's easy to forget all the little steps it takes to get better and better at it. Every once and a while you realize you've figured something out that hasn't occurred to you before, or even better - when you do something on instinct that you remember purposefully practicing over and over again. Those are the little, teeny, impressively important small victories you really have to hang on to when you're in training. I keep forgetting it's not my job to compare myself to other players, their styles, their skills. I need to keep track of what I've actually done and where I need to go. It's good to selfishly focus on your own improvement during practice so that when you're out there with your team - you're thinking of nothing else but them.

And little by little, you'll see the game start to open up and make sense to you. It will no longer seem like a chaotic mess of limbs when all you're thinking about is staying alive. Suddenly you can see - "oh hey there's a jammer in there" and "oh yeah, I need to be playing defense at this particular moment". The sport will suddenly make sense to you, and that's the moment when you'll forget all the frustration it's taken to get there and realize you are now a part of it and you now belong.

This roller derby is no longer their derby -- it's now your derby too.