Patience, grasshopper


I’ve been through three rec league practices so far. I finally fell the third session. It shouldn’t be a goal of mine not to fall – after all, this is roller derby. There’s falling and getting back up and falling again…you get the idea. I want to get better. The most frustrating thing for me right now is finishing in the back of the pack when it comes to drills. Back and forth across the rink. I hate being one of the last five or six to finish. But I’m so afraid of falling that I don’t go at it harder. I realized this while talking to one of our coaches on Sunday. 

And then, after practice, I got to talking about crafts with some other skaters. We had a seamstress, a crocheter and a knitter. As we talked about our hobbies (well, livelihoods, in the case of one woman), I realized something about patience. The Yarn Harlot always says she knits because she’s impatient, that she can’t sit still in waiting rooms without having her hands busy. That applies to me, too – you won’t catch me at the doctor’s office or in the airport without yarn and needles. What realized on Sunday, tho, was that knitting can make me more patient – without my even having to be knitting. 

I didn’t learn to knit cables the first, second or even third year I knit. It took time for me to build the confidence, the muscle memory, required to learn new techniques. Last year, my seventh full year of knitting, I finished a sweater in 6 weeks. A long-sleeved, button-down cardigan sweater. With cables. It’s taken me the better part of a decade of knitting to get to a point where I’m efficient enough to finish at that pace, speedy enough to be able to go back and fix problems even when I’ve gotten a couple of rows along. 

So. I hope it won’t take me seven years to get better at skating. But I know that if I get in my reps – build that muscle memory – that I’ll get better, and pretty quickly. I just need to skate. Skate, skate, skate. I’m gonna make myself a shirt with my derby name on it – Fabiola Thrasher, #303 – and my new motto, Just Effin’ Skate. That’s going to be my mantra in practice. Just effin’ skate. Don’t worry about everyone else or how you look. Go out there and learn to turn, learn to fall, learn to skate in a pack. This is a fun thing. No more stressing about fun things.


On the third Sunday of January


I went skating today. Not just regular rink skating – around and around and around, ad nauseam – but rec league ROLLER DERBY skating.

So much fun. So much to learn. So many awesome folks, both those learning with me and those we learned from.

I’m not the best skater just yet. But I felt stronger after two hours than I did when we started. I got good advice on making my skates work better with my body – hours later, I’m rolling around in my kitchen, testing out the adjustments I made to my toe stoppers (thanks for the tip, SweetHurt!). I’ve re-laced them to make sure I’m not hurting my feet.

It’s been a good day. I’m sure I’ll be cursing tomorrow, when my quads are so sore I can’t get out of bed. But for now, I’m enjoying a Frambozen and feeling good about this new adventure I’ve undertaken.

Practice is twice a week. What will I learn on Thursday? I can’t wait to find out!

On a Saturday in January


I can’t believe I’m 35. It’s nearly two weeks since my birthday and I’m not sure how I should feel, not sure what 35 is supposed to feel like.

I guess it’s different for everyone. You realize you’ve grown and learned things and figured out how the world works (mostly). You realize it’s (cliche alert) a journey, that the world never stops spinning, so you can’t stop, either … and that maybe, just maybe, it can be enjoyable.

So far, 2013 has brought some clarity, some frustration, some heartburn. But I’ve already made some progress. I’ve worked out all but one day so far this year.

I’ve signed up for rec league roller derby (eek!). Some day, the frustration will be lessened. I just have to use my head to convince my heart of this.