“I am too old for this,” I think as I breathe in the dusty floor, face down, attempting to wrap my leg into a position I’m fairly certain it was never meant to be in. “Why am I even here?” starts in the negative self-talk as I’m about to endure a beating from our Brawlstars my younger self would have salivated at. “This is definitely my last season. I don’t have time to play roller skating,” that inner voice continues, more and more present at warm-ups these days.
We do the visioning and energy sharing that I jokingly refer to as “the most Ann Arbor thing about Ann Arbor Roller Derby” and I am way, way out of my comfort zone. I don’t know about this ‘new’ thing (“old,” screams my head) and I can’t really hear when we lay in a circle anyways (“because you’re OLD,” roars the uninvited self-talk) and I should be at home studying for my Master’s or washing my kids’ laundry (“because that’s what grown-up responsible people DO,” the nearly deafening inner-dialogue insists).
And then we gear up. Rolling around. My comfort space. At this point in my life, I estimate I have spent nearly 10,000 hours on skates of some kind of another. It’s home, it’s therapeutic, and that critical, inside-voice dims a bit.
As we get into warm ups, and then to drills and scrimmage, it all goes away. The voice forgets the upcoming milestone birthday, forgets that email exists, and I definitely have no idea if anyone got the kids to eat the broccoli in the fridge. I manage to get around Slamlet once and hold Frac up for half a second (if you don’t think those are accomplishments, you haven’t seen them play) and I am on top of the world.
I skate because it gives me a firm grasp and understanding of the importance of team. I skate because a clear and concrete outcome in an ambiguous world gives me a break from the real worries. I skate so my kids see me work hard at something I love. I skate because one day I WILL be too old, and I suspect I’ll regret any minutes missed on skates. It is my longest running love, after all.
I get home and the love of my life (some of you might know her as the consummate Spanish Ass’assin) asks how was practice. I grin, “pretty good actually, I feel great” and just like that, that inner, doubting voice is forgotten.
My name is ShamWow, emphasis on the Wow. I skate for the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, and I ain’t done yet.
ShamWow is a proud Bruiser, mom and educator.