Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Time Suck

The Urban Dictionary defines Time Suck as:

Something that's engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children.

Raise your hand if this has been or is your experience with Derby? Now I'm not saying by any means that derby is not important because it is to all of us whom are involved with it. What I am addressing is the fact that it is utterly time consuming and you find yourself thinking about it day in and day out. The other day my husband told me that I seemed disconnected one evening and I was upset that he had said that but he was right, I was, I was thinking about derby. Derby has this way of consuming your life, your thoughts, your feelings, your relationships, whatever it might be. Is this bad? Not necessarily. For some people, derby has saved them from horrible relationships, allowed them to be healthy, provided them a new family, or even gave them a new lease on life. I think it personally saved a relationship for me and I will be forever grateful for that. We do need to realize though how much it can take over our lives in potentially a negative way and how do we keep it from eating us whole.

I spoke about managing the burn out factor in my previous post, not only must burn out be managed but we also must keep derby from becoming the time suck. We must learn to be present at home when we need to be, focus on other parts of our lives that are important and leave derby at derby as best as we can. Here are some ways to create some balance if you find yourself becoming uberly consumed by derby:

1. Go to practice, skate your heart out, go home.

2. Do your committee work as needed, be efficient and do it right the first time.

3. Do not take on any more then you need to, learn to say no.

4. Check in with your family and non-derby friends to make sure their needs are being met too.

5. Step back every once in awhile and reevaluate Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Anyone who's involved in derby know it's a community and it can change your life for the better. As women, wives, and mothers, we need derby to fulfill our needs and give back what our family cannot necessarily give us. We all need to remember though that there is life outside of derby and we cannot lose focus on that. Drew Barrymore was quoted in an interview (it was also similar to a line in Whip It) saying, "Just because you found a new family doesn't mean you throw away the old, or you can make a new family out there and you can make friends, but don't leave the ones behind that got you to where you are." Good advice Drew, good advice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It Ain't Just Derby...This is Business!

When I joined roller derby I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I joined to play a sport and that's the only thing I thought I was signing up for. That was not what I ended up getting, not only did I get to be part of the best sport I've ever been involved in but I signed up to run a business with a bunch of strangers. Over night I became business partners with about 50 women and men with various backgrounds, interests and desires of where they wanted the league to go. As we all know, Santa Cruz Rollergirls eventually formed into the Santa Cruz Derby Girls when we decided we wanted to become a non-profit. Today, there are about 100 league members, we're working towards our 501(c)3 and we're in the midst of all of our off-season work. By December we will be holding elections for all the "important" positions in the league and there will be a somewhat new regime in charge. This new group of people will be responsible for making all the major business decisions and overseeing the rest of the league members in their duties.

I would say 90% of women who go see a bout and decide they want to play derby have no clue of what it really means to be a part of a league. Like me they think they are just joining a club to play a sport. What we tend to see is a high turnover in new members when the realities of what we're really doing sets in and they find they are unable to meet the demands it takes to not only be a skater in the league but also a part of the day to day operations. Only 50% of what we do in the league actually involves skating, the other 50% is off-skates work. Sometimes I feel like I was duped into running the derby business, the sport was dangled in front of me and I couldn't resist and once I was hooked the other shoe dropped and I realized I was knee deep and I wasn't going to escape. I say this in a joking manner as I would never change anything that I've done or experienced because I've grown so much as a person, learned a lot about business and have had one of the greatest times of my life but honestly I never thought I would have done all the work I've done today when I first decided to join.

The question I'm starting to ask myself is how do we continue to bring in new members as more leagues pop-up in every nearby city? How do we retain the members we have with the amount of work that is required to not only be a skater but a member? To continue to be successful the workload will increase and our WFTDA membership means more bouts, more time away from our families and more money to travel. This derby thing is really another full-time job, it's not a recreation and we need to continue to bring in members who want to skate but also want to see the league succeed as a business. This is not just derby, it is a full-blown business that requires everyone to work hard and pitch in, there's no room for people to slack off.

If I could press the "Staples" Easy button, I would present myself with two choices. Choice #1 would be to just be a skater, all of the skaters would do just that, skate. There would be other members who would deal with all the business aspects of the league. There's one inherent problem in this, would we as skaters want a say in how the business is being run and the decisions are being made. It would be a hard change for us to make but if we could do it, I think we would find ourselves better players because our focus could be 100% on being athletes and derby players. Choice # 2, I would make us all be paid employees and skaters. Instead of paying to play and run the business, we would BE paid to skate and work. I would seriously kick some ass in the business if this was truly my full-time job, if I could commit the 40 hours a week that I put towards my paying job to derby.

But these dreams are not our reality and I don't know that they ever will become true. Until that day comes, I will have to continue to perfect a little thing called moderation. Every derby girl has to strive to avoid the dreaded Burn Out that tends to occur at least once a season. My goal for next year will be to keep from reaching Burn Out, I am taking on less work and am going to learn to say "No" when asked to do more than I know I can handle. Between a full-time job a part-time job, a new baby, a five year old son, my derby widow and all the other things I want to accomplish, it's going to be imperative for me to not let derby overtake my life as it has done in recent seasons. So not only am I making my comeback in the 2011 season but I will be fighting my natural urge to take on everything. It sounds like I just made a New Year's Derby Resolution but I'm not quite ready to make it official, it will have to wait for my end of the year blog post where I settle on all my resolutions for 2011. For now, I'm mulling over the idea that derby is more than a sport, it's a business and we need to remember that we have to run a business but we can never forget why we joined up in the first place, to play DERBY!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beware of Velcro

10 Reasons Why I Hate Velcro:

Reason #1: Velcro Burn. Someone hits you and their fresh Velcro scrapes your skin, it really hurts.

Reason #2: It ruins your tights if it gets stuck to it as your putting on your knee pads.

Reason #3: Someone hits you and unstraps your Velcro from your pad and you are having to adjust it mid skate.

Reason #4: Someone hits you and their Velcro attaches to your Velcro and now you are stuck together.

Reason #5: It snags and ruins your uniform.

Reason #6: If it detaches from the material that it's sewn to, it's no longer effective and you have to duct tape your shit down.

Reason #7: When you wash your gear, if you don't strap down the Velcro perfectly, it gets stuck to each other and it's annoying detaching a big glob of pads stuck together.

Reason #8: When it starts to wear out, it's not effective anymore and you have to buy new pads, even if everything else is functioning great.

Reason #9: Velcro is fickle, it either works too well or not well enough, you never know how it's going to react on any given day.

Reason #10: There is no quiet way to take your gear off during practice when you are trying to do so during a team talk.

So now if a company could find a way to make silent Velcro that would fit perfectly on every skater and not ruin your uniform and tights, I would buy stock in that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's REALLY Early, Why am I Awake?!?!

There's nothing like being up at 3:30 in the morning feverishly cleaning poop out of your daughter's clothes before the stain sets in wondering why does she always poop all the way up her back in your favorite outfit that you just put on her for the first time. Then returning to the bed to realize you are too wide awake to climb back into bed with your husband, two kids and both cats to lay there in the small amount of space left in your king size bed staring up at the ceiling for the next couple of hours, mind racing only wishing that you could just fall back asleep. I just can't bring myself to do it, so instead I decide to head to the kitchen to investigate what awoke me in the first place, something hitting the floor in the kitchen. Now I'm searching the floor for the push pin that held up the calendar that was finally knocked off the wall by the heater starting up which then pushed hot air up the wall thus knocking the push pin out of the wall causing the calendar to fall. When it happened and woke me up, I immediately in my head blamed it on the cats, the punchline being that it wasn't really the cats fault BUT the calendar does have cats on it, so in essence they are party to blame? The 3:30am out of bed, cleaning poop and searching for a push pin with sleepy eyes would not be complete had I of not walked outside to my car to get my laptop to write this epic tale of morning bliss to realize that I had left my keys in the door the night before as I rushed to get the kids in the house and to bed. I'm just feeling lucky right now that some hoodlum didn't see my keys in the door and take my car for a joyride, along with my purse and my computer because in this neighborhood, although in the middle of a very family-centric part of Santa Cruz, we tend to get hit by thieves quite often. (I know this is riddled with past/present tense issues and first person to third person changes, but it's too damn early to figure out how to write it properly, so I apologize.)

I have no idea how to even transition out of the above paragraph so I'm not even going to try, I'm moving on to the real reason why I'm writing on this cold and dark morning. The last month has been extremely eventful not only in my own life but in derby. Let's quickly recap my personal ventures, I went to Western Regionals, while there became amazingly ill (don't be fooled by the photo), sat miserable in the stands and watched some of the best derby I have ever seen, interviewed Hurt Reynolds from DNN (stay tuned for that interview) and thankfully made it home to wind up staying sick with some form of a flu/cold for the next month, yes month! Half way through that month my husband was terminated from Chili's for a complaint he received by a customer, let me spare you the details, bottom line it was utter horseshit. Silver lining? It was time for him to move on with his work life and we are taking this as a blessing and his chance to get his business started, something he has been discussing over the last year. We are tightening up the belt and making it happen. I'm also starting a new business venture, which I have yet to reveal to the masses, only a handful of my closest friends and family know about it, another thing you will have to await to hear about. I celebrated my 6 year wedding anniversary with my hubby (11 years together) we have truly made it through hell and back and we are pretty damn happy. We had a blast on Halloween weekend where Auggie dressed up as Indiana Jones and Lily was a ghost. And finally, I returned to full-time work this week, which marks my daughter turning 3 months (actually as of this morning), she is beautiful, fun and has an amazing energy about her.

Oh and unless you have been living under a rock for the last month, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series! The last time they won was the year my mother was born and this year was the birth of my daughter, interesting fact. We also realized that the day they won was 11-10-10 (or 110110), which is the binary code for 54, the last year that they Mojo said, spooky. Here's Auggie doing his Brian Wilson impersonation.

In the life of derby, I will again tell you about how EPIC Western Regionals was. Although I was sick, I saw Oly and Rocky Mountain play for the first time, they truly epitomize where the sport of roller derby is going. If you want to play at that level, you need to be more than just a derby girl who casually practices. You need to transform yourself into an athlete and push the boundaries to join the rankings of teams of that caliber; Regionals sparked that inspiration in me that has been benched since my pregnancy. I also got a chance to see the Bay Area Derby Girls take home third place, which gave them the opportunity to compete at Nationals (I have a video clip of the last jam, I will need to get that up on the interwebs). While at Regionals, I interviewed Hurt Reynolds from Derby News Network for my first installment of interviews that I will be starting shortly with him, to be followed by an interview with B Train from Wicked Skatewear. And my recap of Regionals would not be complete if I did not tell you that I formed a new derby crush on Juliet Bravo with the Rat City Rollergirls. She is a truly great derby player who blocks with tenacity and pivots with confidence. I hope to see her play more in the future, so I can learn to play more like her.

What else happened in the last month? Oh yes, Santa Cruz Derby Girls ended their 2010 season with a double header at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium against the Silicon Valley Roller Girls. I was unable to attend the bout due to a family function but I heard the Harbor Hellcats played amazing coming out with a win and the Boardwalk Bombshells put everything they had out on the track and came close to winning in the final jam of the game. With the season over, I am coaching on skates once a week and taking any chance I have to be on skates to work on my skills to prepare me for the January 10th team tryouts. I passed my WFTDA minimum skills a couple of weeks ago and I will be taking scrimmage assessment on December 2nd to be eligible for team tryouts next year. I'm feeling like I am getting my groove back but will continue to take my time as not to cause any injury to my finally healed body. My plantar fasciitis is still a factor but it is much improved as I continue to do the necessary exercises. I have also cranked up my off skates work out routines, alternating between step class, cardio, weight lifting, plyometrics and stretching with the foam roller. As far as I'm concerned the 2011 season began for me on November 1st and I'm taking this shit seriously.

As I said earlier, my inspiration was sparked at Regionals, well it became a full on wildfire after watching Nationals last weekend. If you didn't watch, you missed out and the final game (a rematch really) between Rocky Mountain and Oly blew me away. It's inspiring to see women athletes pushing to these levels and it made me dream about one day being there myself. On a side note, there's a discussion going on on my Facebook page about some players from Oly playing in Nationals after just having babies, we're not quite sure the true story on it yet but I've decided to investigate the truth; I will let you know once I have gotten to the bottom of it. Not only do I want to know the real story to set the record straight but I'm going to use it in another writing opportunity I've been given, another thing I'm keeping close to my chest for the time being.

Right now there is a lot of change happening in my life, I'm welcoming it with open arms. I'm also extremely excited about the derby things I'm working on to share with my readers. And I cannot wait for the 2011 season to start and to really begin playing roller derby again competitively!

And just in case you were wondering, I think I finally figured out the recipe for getting the baby poop stains out of clothes - immediate attention and scrubbing with your hands a combination of soft soap and hydrogen peroxide - all poop removed and no stain to be seen.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Westernships...Here I Come!

I am heading up to Sacramento tomorrow with some of my leaguemates to have my first experience at Western Regionals. Sunday is the final bouts of the tournament and I am so excited that I have the chance to go. My parents are taking on kid duty while my husband is at work and then he's on until bedtime. I will have an entire day away from home watching some amazing roller derby live. It's amazing that 6 of the 10 ranked teams in all of WFTDA come out of the Western Region. It makes for some insane competition for Santa Cruz Derby Girls next year but also means we get to compete against most of the best leagues out there. I can't wait for my alarm to go off at 6:15am and that's something I rarely ever say!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clearing Out the Cobwebs

Tonight I embarked on my "first" practice back to the league. I put first in quotation marks because I'm not practicing in the sense of being a skater, I am still acting in a coaching role and will be doing that until the next league elections, some time in December. I am coaching alongside Cinzilla who currently is unable to skate due to having the hardware removed from her leg after having screws and a plate put in secondary to a tib/fib fracture last season. She planned and ran the practice and I helped out on skates, ran a drill and worked one-on-one with the girls.

After being away for about three months, it was awesome to see how much the fresh meat have improved and how the Hellcats skaters have advanced. As for me, there was a part of it that was like riding a bike, I can still skate, stop, and weave through the paceline and then there is the other part that is listening to this voice in my head that keeps saying, "Can you really do this again? Can you come back from being gone for almost an entire year from competitive derby and become the player you once were?" Well, I sure as hell am going to find out the answer to that question because I'm one practice in and will be back next week for more.

Deep down I love coaching, helping out those that are passionate about the sport and want to learn but at the same time I am so looking forward to being a skater again. It was exciting to be back on skates last night even though I was coaching, I was able to do drills with the skaters and felt a little bit closer to being back. I may not be coaching the Bombshells anymore but the new girls need me to be there for them and help them succeed in their desires of being on a team come next season. I'm going to use the next two months or so to work through the kinks and doubts within myself, help Cinzilla train the new skaters and assist anyone else who wants my help. And come January 2011, I will be ready and confident to try out once again for the Bombshells.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roll Out!

It was indeed a week of rolling out for me. The title of this post is inspired by a movement that is taking shape created by our very own Pigeon. Yes, Pigeon, #1 on the Santa Cruz Derby Girl's team the Harbor Hellcats. Roll Out is a community outing where people meet at one location and hit the streets of Santa Cruz be it on roller skates, blades, bikes, scooters, or what have you. I participated in the very first roll out in support of Pigeon on Friday, September 17th, this also marked my first time back on skates in over 3 months. It was a beautiful night out in Santa Cruz and it felt so good to be back out rolling. The following Sunday I went for a 20 minute skate to the beach and back home, another day out on skates and I'm two sessions in. What's next for me? Practice tomorrow, of course, I'll be helping coach but I'm back on skates and working out with the fresh meat.

Before we embark on present day and a new post, I want to give a shout out to my former team, the Boardwalk Bombshells. They bouted against the OC Roller Girls on Saturday, September 25th at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. The bout theme was Super Heroes and the Bombshells that night, all 13 of them were just that! They came together as one cohesive group, executed some great strategy and played their hearts out to the end securing a win against OC, 95 - 87. Let me add, it was my daughter Liliana's first bout, she came dressed for the occasion with her skate booties thoughtfully made by Helen Wheels of Tucson Roller Derby. It was the first of many bouts for her and I enjoyed sharing her with my derby family.

A note to my readers, my blog is taking on another aspect, not only will I be blogging about my return to roller derby but I will be featuring interviews with the top names in roller derby. The interviewees will include those that are going above and beyond either in the business aspect of derby, the playing aspect featuring the top players, coaches, refs and NSOs and the just plain fun aspect. I've already got two great interviews lined up and one in the bag. I had the honor of conducting my first interview on Saturday night with the infamous B Train from the OC Roller Girls and Wicked Skatewear. B Train took time before the bout to sit down and chat with me about derby and Wicked, so stay tuned for all the details from that interview. And if you have an idea about someone you would love to read about, go ahead and send me a message. If they are not already on my list, I will get them on it and make it happen!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Plantar FasciOWtis

My return to roller derby is largely counting on me getting my plantar fasciitis under control. You may be asking, "What is Plantar Fasciitis and why does it happen?" Well I just so happened to Google it for those wondering.

An article in Medical News Today states:

"The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, causing the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length. This leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where it attaches to the heel bone. The stress may also result from injury, a bruise from walking, running on hard surfaces, wearing poorly constructed shoes, or being overweight. In addition, the inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle."

The pain in my right foot began to bother me early last season. I found that I was getting pain on the bottom of my foot which would run up my arch and wrap around the top of my foot; this pain made it hard to stand in my skates for any length of time. Additionally, I started to suffer from cramping up the front of my leg. I was able to get through moderate practices but as soon as we started sprinting, I could not keep up, the pain was unbearable. I would have to have CinZilla and Charlie Red Stick rub my leg muscles out at practices and before games. About half way through the season, Dr. Roitz, with SOL SC, started placing spider tape up the front of my leg. The spider tape worked miracles on my cramping and allowed me to get through bouts with little to no pain.

I've been thinking a lot about why I started getting this pain in the first place and the more I've thought about it I realize that I may have been living with this pain for many years. In 2001, my husband, then boyfriend Daniel Eymann and I participated in the Aquaman while lifeguarding for Santa Cruz City Beach. The Aquaman is a run/swim from the Cement Ship in Seacliff to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.

You start out by swimming around the Cement Ship, and then you proceed running west along the beach. Wherever you can't run you have to swim, including swimming around the Capitola Pier, across the Harbor and finishing around the Santa Cruz Wharf. It's a rigorous event but super fun. This was my second year participating and when I hit 26th Avenue Beach the heels of my feet were killing me. I could barely run, or walk for that matter, but I pushed myself through the pain, spending a lot of time jogging on my toes (You can imagine the calf pain I experienced the week after). My feet were deeply bruised and my calves hated me, I think it took a good couple of weeks to recover from my injuries. Although 8 years has passed, I truly think that this may have been the event that spurred my present day feet issues.

Today, a lot of my issues are due to weight put on by my pregnancy, lack of wearing supportive shoes and believe it or not being barefoot on my hardwood floors. Curiously, as I was walking today, my left foot started hurting. I've been putting so much focus on my right foot that I think my left foot is now jealous so it's acting up to get some attention. My plan for recovery is to wear supportive shoes at all times, even in the house, the doctor says the only time I should be barefoot when I'm vertical is when I'm taking a shower. I am seeing an acupuncturist weekly whom also gave me liquid minerals to put on my feet and legs. I also see Dr. Roitz once a week for ART on my foot, as well as, taping. I've started exercising to drop the weight and am going to get orthotics for my shoes and skates. It's going to be a lot of work to get my feet healthy again but I know that without strong and healthy feet to support my body I cannot play derby, which is in no way an option for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Return of the Derby Girl

I cannot believe that it's been over a year since I last wrote and sadly my last blog post before this I was pretty much saying the same thing. I have not been very good at this blogging thing as much as I enjoy doing it. It should be a priority of mine to do the things I love but as we all know other priorities have a way of taking over. I want to make a commitment to myself and my followers to bring this blog back to life, to bring the blog back to what I expected it to be when I first started writing it. To accomplish this goal I'm turning my focus to talk about my return to roller derby.

I stopped playing roller derby almost a year ago, my last bout was on October 24, 2009 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. My team the Boardwalk Bombshells played against Sac City and we had a very successful game where we really came together. Underneath that win, for me, was a body that was badly hurting, every day. I was dealing with foot pain, due to what has now been diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, making it very painful to be in my skates but this wasn't the worst of my "injuries", I was suffering from extreme neck pain due to a fall I took during the September 12, 2009 bout against Tucson Roller Derby's Iron Curtain. I was hit from behind, which normally would not be an issue but with the speed we were moving, the position my body was in and the place at which I was hit caused my skates to come up, I fell on my back and came down and hit my head. I'm usually the person who pops up regardless of the fall but I was down for a few seconds longer than normal. When I came up to start skating again, I was holding the back of my head. I stumbled forward a few steps and fell on my face. The refs blew the jam dead as I lay face down on the floor. I was quickly attended to by an off-duty firefighter because the medics and Dr. Roitz were busy treating Eden Yourheartout who was suffering from a bloody nose in the locker room. I left the game to be evaluated and sit out my required jams but nothing was going to keep me from finishing the game. In hindsight, I should have not gone back into that game or the subsequent games I played that season. I was most definitely concussed and suffering from whiplash.

I played the rest of the season with the neck pain, until October, and during that time it just progressively got worse. So bad in fact, I was waking up every morning in excruciating pain that would last all day. When I would go to practice, every hit or bump felt like someone taking a hammer to my neck, I started cringing every time I got hit or had to hit someone. Once the season came to an end with our final bout, I stopped playing completely, I needed to heal. I attempted after a couple of weeks of rest to practice again and with one hit, I was back to the pain. I decided it was time to really rest and that's what I did. I continued to skate but stopped all contact.

Come early December, my husband and I got wonderful news that we were expecting another baby, we were thrilled. We both wanted to have another child, we just did not think it would happen as fast as it did. It worked out perfectly though, the timing couldn't be better considering I was already out from derby because of my neck. I had already decided I was going to take some time off, rest my injuries, have a baby and apply to coach the Bombshells for the 2010 season and that's just what I did.

I coached from January to the end of June, it was hard to transition from player to coach, having played with almost all of the players the last two seasons. I did the best that I could and learned a lot about myself, my leaguemates and about the game of derby, all things that I will utilize next season to be a better player then I was when I left. I can only hope that I made a difference for some players and that they were able to learn from my time there. For myself, I feel good about what I accomplished and that I was able to give enough time for the new Bombshells Coach Payne Gretsky to learn the game, form relationships with the players and take over my position in the league. I took my formal leave from the league on July 1st to focus on my family and prepare for the birth of my baby.

On August 10, 2010 at 4:22am, my daughter Liliana Michelle was born at Dominican Hospital. I had my wonderful husband, awesome mom, and dear friend Roxy Scarmichael, who was absolutely amazing, by my side, I couldn't have done it without them. My dad was on Auggie duty that morning an equally important task (who was so excited he could not go back to sleep). It was a fast birth all together. My first contraction was about 1:30am and by 4:20am I was ready to push. With one big push Liliana was welcomed to the world; I think the doctor was a bit shocked at how fast she came out. Overall, it was an intense experience and the pregnancy itself was quite interesting, which ended miraculously as we found out that Lily's umbilical cord had gotten knotted some time during the pregnancy. Research says that "Umbilical cord knots occur in about one in every hundred pregnancies, but only one in 2,000 deliveries will have a true tight knot that could present problems for the baby." The doctor felt that we were very lucky to have her be born healthy, we felt truly blessed that morning to have her in our lives. And I have to say that

So, after almost an entire year of not playing derby, I'm about ready to pick up where I left off. My heart truly lies with playing derby and I cannot wait to be out on the track again.

I hereby declare that the rebrith of my blog marks my return to derby.