Every time I start to get comfortable with the idea of going on a temporary hiatus, I watch roller derby and then convince myself that I can stretch my time for a little longer before my pause. Thank you for making my decision more difficult, Nashville & Madison. This bout at Ashville’s Division 1 playoff has been an awesome way to wake up on Saturday!
Now your next question might be, “Wait, what? Temporary hiatus?”
Life happens, sometimes folks. And so do injuries. I’ve been dealing with knee pain since last October (and to be fair, my doc thinks that the injury I received against Philly is not the same as I incurred when I sprinted into a gopher hole during softball practice). The further I get into physical therapy, and the more we don’t see long term improvement, the less hopeful I am that it can be solved with just nutrition, exercise and patience.
To give you an idea of what I’ve been dealing with – extend your right leg completely. First of all, I have only recently been able to do that. When I do, and when I extend it fully as I walk, there is pain. What kind? Well the spot is just south of my kneecap, on the inside of the leg, and each time I step, it feels like someone is digging a blunt screwdriver into it. When I walk fully (striking on the heel, rounding to the big toe with full leg extension) it feels like a nail and then the blunt screwdriver.
If I stand with all my weight in my heel, it feels like the joint gets “heavy” and everything inside and around my knee cap aches with a dull pain. Every now and again, I’ll be walking and I will experience a pop on the outside of my right knee – I acquaint it to the plucking of a guitar string. This is the flare up some of you have heard me talk about. After a flare up, I cannot straighten or bend my leg for about 5 minutes, and can put zero weight on it.
My flare ups have been improving. The intense pain used to last hours, or days. Now it’s less than a few minutes and I’m fine again. It used to be that I couldn’t straighten my leg for weeks. Now it’s an hour. That being said, there is no rhyme or reason to them. I have had a flare up while demonstrating 180 toe stops, while standing up on my wheels, while bringing myself down off of a bank track, while jogging and kicking the edge of a sidewalk, while sprinting and falling into a gopher hole, while jogging to first base, while walking to the bathroom, while laying down watching a movie.
I have been playing with the idea for a little while now of taking next year off of competitive play to focus on my Derbalife business and to heal up a bit. It’s so hard to make that full commitment to non-competition. If I need to have surgery, than I will be off skates for a while regardless. It is hard to voluntarily say, “I’m taking myself off skates pre-surgery”. I’m really struggling with it.
The plan is to transfer to Charm City. I want to try out for the All Stars (because, c’mon! it’s the Charm City All Stars!! I’ve looked up to that team since I began skating). But for the sake of my body, mind and business I may just aim for B-team and home teams for the majority of 2014. I am hopeful that I can focus on Harm City Homicide for 2014. I am hopeful that I can find the money for an MRI and, past that, surgery.
Even if I hang my skates up, it will not be a permanent retirement. I still haven’t skated at a Divisional playoff. I have a goal of skating at Champs one day as well. It will be realized. It will happen.
Head up. Keep moving. I will do what I can in the meantime and constantly be analyzing and evaluating. There are two more Blitz bouts this season and I just don’t know whether I should push through them. I can’t help but wonder if my team would be better if I just stepped away now so that they can work together without me getting in the way.
How do you make a decision of what to do when you have no idea what is wrong? How do you make a choice when you have no idea when you’ll be able to fix it? Anyone want to start a GoFundMe to help me with my MRI or surgery costs? Anyone want to book me for some boot camps to help me pay for my MRI and surgery costs?
I know in the end I will be stronger. I know a year from now, everything will look different. However, I am so hyper focused on the next two months that it feels impossible to see 12 into the future. I will be pumping some personal development into my skull and continually evaluating my position in life, work and roller derby.
Encouraging words are always appreciated. And thank you for keeping up with my misadventures in recovery. At least my nutrition has kept me peppy through all of it.. #Herbalife #FTW
You would think the students of Penn State would be used to my ice packs by now.
My small, polka-dotted cooler (which is usually filled with Herbalife goodies and greek yogurt) is stocked today with ice packs which I am rotating between my two knees as I blog in the coffee shop before my Advanced PR meeting. You know my mood is killer when I’m swinging my shoulders to a disco tune that’s playing on the radio.
My team mates and I have dubbed this the “Rogue High”. It is the inexplicable joy that is radiating through 16 women who got to be part of Team Rogue at the Derby Ink Invitational tournament this past weekend.
The weekend was highly anticipated by the entire derby world. Could a small MADE league out of Philadelphia transport a bank track to Harrisburg, coordinate a men’s AND women’s tournament while also juggling merchants, a tattoo convention, an indoor skate park, bands and more?
Rogue was a mish mash team that took on many incarnations since this past January. Meeting up at Love City’s track, we learned the rules of the Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor (MADE) while fighting the physics of a bank track and conquering the fear of the rail, slope and edge of the track. You may have seen previous posts about this!
The first breakthrough of team work and awareness came Easter weekend when Rogue invaded Penn Jersey’s warehouse in a sketchy part of Philadelphia to test our mettle against some MADE all stars as well as the Penn Jersey Hooligan’s.
We were skating together for fun. All of us would have these huge smiles on our faces as we went up and down on the bank track – even when the boys were kicking our butts.
So we arrive at Derby Ink. Here is our roster:
Renegade Raven (retired) & Skate Edge (HARD) – Bench Coaching
Russian Bayou – Dutchland
Treasure Chest – Dutchland
Jocelyn Bassler – Dutchland
Merry Khaos – Dutchland
Bam Bam Brawler – Rocktown
Rainbow’s Revenge – Harrisburg
Neve Cannibal – Harrisburg
Buster Skull – Salisbury
Raven Darkhold –River City
Spry Icicle – Maine
Grim D Mise – Maine
Damage Dahl – Philly
Ally McKill – Steel City
Nash Villain – Retired
We knew we had a strong line-up. We knew we had a team that could get things done on a bank track. We didn’t realize that we were going to all click during the first half of the first game. This was the first time we had all been on the track together. This was some kind of magic. We were all happy, excited to be there and our first bout was against the MADE All-Stars … a great place to really test what we were made of.
Our team work: awesome. Our communication: spot on. Our awareness: top notch. Our joy: through the roof.
The advantage to not being super familiar with a rule set is that you cannot get angry when called off on a penalty, since you honestly don’t know whether you did it or not. Same with when the other team ISN’T called on a penalty!
Something magic happened during that bout….The entire crowd fell in love with us.
I do not know how or why. Maybe it was because we were a bunch of flat track skaters that seemed to exude happiness just at the opportunity to play roller derby in a new setting and with our friends. Maybe it was our adorable cluelessness as we went to the box for touching people. Maybe it was just because the talent level and moves of our jammers and pivots and blockers were undeniably entertaining.
From Thursday to Sunday, there was a lot of frustration at the Derby Ink Invitational. Scattered between the debacles, however, were wonderful games and athletic feats. All the skaters were showing off the battle wounds of the track (new Masonite and a splintered edge to the track made for a lot of scars) and talking about the amazing moves they made against some of their derby heroes.
I’m going to skirt over the controversy and bad feelings that came up during the weekend, but let me just say that the tournament heads were not very well equipped to deal with a team being mad about the seeding situation. Team Rogue had won both of our games in the prelims by a margin of +266 … And were seeded #1. This made the other flat track super teams (overall) very unhappy.
At the end of the argument, we got our #1 seeding.
WE WERE SEEDED OVER TEAM BIONIC. JOY. Unbelievable. A team of misfit flat trackers who are having the time of their life actually was top of the pile. What?? Amazing!!
PS I would not have made it through this weekend without my supply of Hydrate, LiftOff and protein bars. Holla.
So on Sunday we went on to beat Penn Jersey in the semi-finals. Those ladies hit HAAAARRRD….even though the score was very heavy in Rogue’s favor do not think that Penn Jersey (or any of the MADE teams) did not try. They were brutal competitors. And instead of high fives – we got hugs at the end of the bout!
We made it to the finals of this tournament. At that point we had dubbed ourselves winners. Even before playing that game, every one of us in a Rogue shirt had been approached by fans, refs and other skaters – each of them telling us that they love us and that they’re cheering for us.
Rogue had become the Darlings of the Derby Ink tournament. The group that came in as the underdogs had won the hearts of the crowd and the other teams.
Ok, so it goes without saying that we got our butts WHOOPED in the final by Team Bionic, but I’m ok with that. It was amazing seeing the smiles of my team mates as they skated the track. It was amazing to hear our friends cheer on the sidelines. We each came back to the benches with little victories and new bruises to show off.
For me? Successfully holding back Bonnie Thunders for half a pass. Taking Sandrine Rangeon to the rail. Pushing Stella Italiano off the track to end the jam. Outrunning Fifi Nomenon and Psychobabble to maintain control of the front of the pack. Offensively, and successfully, blocking Sexy Slaydie so that Buster Skull could break the pack. Little victories!
Other moments I won’t forget?
The look on Stella’s face when Russian Bayou broke the pack as pivot directly behind her for the third time. Jocelyn Bassler getting lead over Rangeon AND scoring three points. Damage Dahl taking out Hockey Honey.
I couldn’t ask for a more positive team to skate with in a mash up setting. For all the missteps of the tournament organization it was a blast like I can’t even describe.
So here’s to the Derby Ink! Here’s to Team Rogue! Oh, and “Fuck Cancer!!” – Team Rogue donated half of our $2000 second place prize to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Damn, we’re some classy broads.
Now pass me my 24 Restore and Rebuild Strength!! My knees are all kinds of messed up from this weekend. *limp limp limp*