Moms are in a special category. They know what it's like to sacrifice their bodies, their time, and some days their mental health. Being a derby mom takes it to a whole new level. The sacrifices are extended to bruises from hitting each other on the track, time on the homefront that can be significantly affected, and there's a whole new meaning to the mental aspect. The Ann Arbor Derby Dimes has its fair share of mom skaters (recent survey shows that 35% of our skaters have children!), as well as a couple mom-daughter skater pairs. What is it that makes these skaters special, valued, and badass? Taking what they learn on the track and applying those lessons to life off the track is essential! Here are a few terms that I think make that translation.
Just like being on a pair of quads, a derby mom has to find her balance. And just like every skater excels at a different pace, every derby mom finds a different balance. A life with tots or teens running around takes a lot of juggling and prioritizing. Adding derby commitments to an already full schedule takes a lot of work. Prioritizing the day-to-day tasks and pre-planning the home life to accommodate the practices, bouts, and league activities are a must. When derby moms make this work, it feels great – and that is something to be proud of. Plus, the more we have our sh*t together, the more we get to play!
Hit It and Quit It
Satisfaction of a job well done comes in all different varieties – even the small successes! In derby, the term "Hit It and Quit It" is a strategy term that means the jammer is to come into the pack and hopefully pick up a point or two before quickly calling off the jam (before the opposing jammer can score points). In short, this means a job well done! Even though the jam could have gone for a full 2 minutes with the possibility of scoring a plethora of points, the success of accomplishing a small job still has its value! Taking this mindset off the track makes it easier to appreciate success at overcoming the little challenges we face each day.
The Sin Bin
Also known as the Penalty Box. Sometimes mistakes happen and even the best, most dedicated skaters gets sent to the box for a brief time out. It's a place to cool down and contemplate the decisions or lack of control got them sent to the box. This is a great lesson for all moms to apply outside of derby! Feeling flustered or extra shouty today? Take a 30 second sit-down to contemplate the situation, and come back to everyday life with a refreshed mindset.
It takes teamwork for a jammer to get lead. Blockers need to hold the opposing jammer back while the jammer works her way through the opposing skaters and out of the pack. A good lead jammer should always give credit to her team, just like a good mom should also give kudos to her team on the homefront. Learning how to be a good team member on the track helps make a good team member off the track.
The pivot is a special player on the team that is there for the jammer when the going gets tough. Moms who derby recognize when someone in their life needs that extra backup, and have no qualms about stepping in and taking over in time of need.
Not every team member makes the bout-day roster. Some skaters are the "alts," which means they'll play only if absolutely needed. While it's not quite the same as taking a "backseat," it is a nice reminder that there's a time and place to shine – and that's okay!
Counter blocking is the act of meeting a hit when it's coming at you. The first thing is that derby moms are aware of their surroundings, this can be applied as both physical things as well as conceptual things. And when they see something coming at them (both physically and figuratively), they know how to take it. Get low, and meet adversity square in the middle. The great lesson in this is that derby moms do not get run over and left as smudge marks as life tries to bull them over!
Now this is one of those terms that make most moms squirm. Derby moms don't squirm! They are well versed with slang and sayings; the "track talk," so to speak. They know how to keep things real with their kids, and have a better sense of when or how to help when parenting gets a little whacky. Their kids are more likely to be upfront and open with their struggles because derby moms are more open about things that make them more approachable.
The Apex Jump
Now I'm not able to jump the apex of the track – at least not when there's actually people to get around. The thing with the apex jump is that it's challenging and scary, but we still practice it. And we celebrate each other in both our attempts and in our successes. Moms who derby understand what it takes to face something challenging and fearsome, and more importantly we understand the importance of support in the attempts of facing things that are challenging and fearsome. We know how to celebrate the "try," and we always celebrate the success.
Overall, derby comes down to bout day. Commitment to practices, off-skate preparations, proper fuel and hydration all come into factor for bout day performance. This discipline applies to a mom's everyday life. Proper sleep, proper fuel, and a good account of the family's goings-on are all essential to the success of any family. While it's easy to get distracted with shiny objects, strong organization and dedication are very important.
This is dedicated to the bad-ass moms of the Ypsilanti Vigilantes: Co-Captain Skim MILF, The Grim Streaker, Earth Shattering Kaboom, Courtnasty, Upzette, Snarky Malarky, and Bionic PinUp, from your Co-Captain, Bear-a-Cuda. Wishing you all the happiest (belated) Mother's Day!
Bear-a-Cuda is a 40-something skater who still has a lot of spunk in her old lady bones.