I found myself at a crossroads on Monday night. I was at the physio getting my injured ankle worked on. My physio Shirley was telling me that the tightness in and around the injured area had improved a lot and for me it was the first session I've had with her that I haven't felt any additional pain while she's been working on it. She said I could probably resume skating this week and was going to give me a clearance letter but I had a decision to make, should I take the letter and start skating or tell her the truth that I was still feeling some pain and I wasn't 100% confident that I wouldn't re-injure it the second I got back on skates? I told her the truth and didn't get my clearance letter. This is the 7th week straight I've been off skates injured and I hate it. I really want to be back on skates and training again but then I think back to all the times this year where I rushed back on skates before I was over my injury and ended up making it worse which resulted in such a stop/start year which stunted my progress. I'm also having to deal with those negative thoughts you get in the back of your mind when coming back from an injury, the fear of skating again after being out for so long. I've had it happen before where I psyched myself out so much that I felt physical ill driving to training and ended up sitting out the entire session. I don't want a repeat performance this time but I can feel those thoughts already forming in my mind and I'm not even on skates yet.
Looking back on the year and the way I dealt with my injuries I made a pretty big discovery and ended up surprising myself in the process. The first few times I got injured I spent all my time on the sidelines with a shitty look on my face and angry that I was falling behind everyone else. Don't get me wrong I wasn't angry with my team mates, far from it I was just so angry with myself for getting injured. When you dream of being able to bout it's so easy to get narrow minded and not see the big picture. I then realised that staying angry wasn't going to change my situation, so while I would still have a sook that I was injured once again, I would get it out of my system and started looking at ways that I could be more productive. The first thing I started doing was going through the derby rule book and would you believe it I started learning more about the sport, who would have thought! I then started doing jam timer duties at scrimmage practise and started learning even more from seeing the game played at that point of view. Listening to the skaters yell out instructions and ref's making calls and learning more rules, I was really starting to get into it.
All this ended up having a flow on effect because Roller Derby Au asked me to fill in for them for a Newy intraleague bout and from there it all kind of exploded. I made notes for every single jam and started seeing patterns and tactics unfold as I looked back on my notes which I probably wouldn't have seen if I only watched the bout. RDAU and Newy liked my review so I thought I would continue doing bout reviews for my blog unless RDAU asked me to fill in for them again in future. The more reviews I did the more I learnt. I was now able to start looking at a ref calling a major and know what it was for without even listening to them. My biggest discovery was I was starting to be able to read a game and see tactics and patterns unfold, it was like I was really seeing roller derby properly for the first time. I've filled in RDAU for a few times this year and it has ended up resulting with an amazing opportunity - the chance to be published in H.A.M for next week's city vs coast bout. It may not happen but to be even considered in the first place is an amazing honour. The funny side with doing my blog and bout reviews is getting noticed. It still never fails to shock me having someone come up to me and ask me if I do 'that' blog or add me on Facebook :D It's not like I have people flocking towards me, just having one person come up and talk to me is like WOW some people actually like what I do! haha.
Cherry's picked up on my love of tactics and strategies so this has opened up another door for me. She's asked me if I wanted to be an assistant benchie for one of our intraleague teams next year along with Sarah. We'll be paired up with either Santina or Katie so there will be even more opportunity to learn from either of them which is a win-win situation. This is only until I make it onto one of our intraleague teams then I'll pass the baton on and show someone else the ropes. What an amazing opportunity though, once she explained what it entailed I was chuffed to bits to even be asked. I've already thrown myself into it by trying to find as many benchie tips as possible, I pity the team I'll be helping bench for next year ;)
So I've learnt that once I'd gotten over my sooking at being injured and looked at the bigger picture I learnt a LOT about the sport and it resulted in getting a lot of opportunities in other areas of the sport. I might not be the quickest or strongest on the track but all this game intelligence I've picked up this year will help me next year so that I play the game smarter and not just physically.
So it's city vs coast next week and I'm split in my loyalties! I'm going for city in the first bout since it'll have members of H*A*R*D in there but I'll be going for coast in the second bout because it'll have members from Newy in there. I thought I'd have a bit of fun and 'pick' the coast team for the second bout. If you asked 20 different people you'd get 20 different selections so don't shoot me people. Here's who I would go with:
GodJilla Sold Separately
Dino La Rouge
Let me explain! Susy Pow doesn't feature because she's about to go play for Team Australia so you wouldn't want her to pick up an injury. I went for combo's which I've seen work well on the track like Danger/Jilla, Brigand Strong/Broken Arrow, Janis/White Hawk. For specialised jammers I picked ones that don't spend too much time in the penalty box because having your jammer in the penalty box can break you. I tried picking strong pivots or people who play the pivot role without having the stripe on their helmet like Dino, White Hawk and Vicious. There's some strong blockers in there too who have good game intelligence and there's some kick arse all rounders in there to boot. I know I've favoured Newy but to be honest I've seen more of their bouts this year so I've picked up on more of their patterns. It's all theoretical and a bit of fun :)