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.