I was THIS close to getting a clearance letter to return back to skating last week from my physio. At first she said no, give it at least another week. She changed her mind and then asked me how long would I skate last weekend at training, then changed her mind again and said I should continue working on strengthening my knee up, all in the space of 15 minutes so I virtually went from DAMMIT to YES!!!! to SHIT!!! The rational part of me understands where she's coming from. I've had ongoing problems with this knee in derby and now I've got to permanently manage it correctly. The irrational part of me is impatient and just wants to be back on skates already.
One of the biggest things I've discovered in this lengthy injury lay off is discovering how much you're willing to fight for something when it has been taken away from you (in my case more times than I can remember). How bad did I still want derby? Wallowing in the feeling of the injustice of it all served me well for the first few weeks but at the end of the day it didn't change the situation I was in. The chats with Jilla and having the MRI scan helped snap me out the negative head space I was in.
It's so terribly cliqued but it felt like a switch got flicked. I was eagerly doing all the strengthening work and following all the instructions from my physio so that I could get back on the derby track. One of the biggest things I've discovered in all this is the benefits of stretching and the flow on effect it has with injury prevention and improving flexibility. I've been incorporating that a lot more of that into my life.
At the beginning of the year I listed all my derby goals for the year. Given this ongoing injury issue I've had to adjust it a bit and add a few more goals:
1. Get back on skates
2. Slowly work my way back to the level I was at pre-injury.
3. Hopefully be back to my best for whenever it is that Jilla is scheduled to come down to train and scrimmage with us.
4. Get the chance to bout when we have home teams hopefully later this year.
5. Become a kazi by the end of the year.
I realise the last one is probably a bit cheeky because that's still another level away and I haven't even officially trained at Sergeant's level yet but when I look back at what I managed in the first part of the year through determination and hard work then I don't see how this could be impossible if I continue to work as hard as I did pre-injury and remain focussed on the task at hand once I get back on skates.
In my attempts to get back on skates I've looked outside of derby for help. One of the things I've wanted to improve is my fitness so as I've been allowed by my physio to start walking and then jogging I've looked at getting back into running. Although my current size says otherwise I used to be quite athletic and loved running. Nowadays I also find it helps clear my head while I listen to my ipod and block out the world for a little while.
I've also gone back to my first ever love of football. As silly as it sounds being able to do something I love and not get injured has been such a great feeling. For now it has just been kicking a ball but just being able to put my body weight on my right leg to strike the ball with my left foot and not get any pain in my right knee has been such a confidence booster for me. I love the fact that there are transferable skills in football that I can use in derby like when I was taught from a young age to trap the ball with my chest so that you learnt to the absorb the ball so that it would fall to your feet instead of bouncing off your chest and losing control. The same motion can be used in derby when it comes to absorbing the force from an oncoming skater when you're backwards blocking them.
All this non-derby work I've been doing the last few weeks and watching some NRDL bouts along with our family and friend's bout has completely invigorated me. It has made me re-evaluate what I want out of derby, the original bouting goals I had before haven't changed, I'm just that bit more determined to achieve them. That hunger I've had most of my life to improve and work things out when things haven't gone well in sport is something I've tried bringing over to roller derby. I want to fight for the shirt. I want to see HARD continue to improve so that we can go into bouts against the likes of NRDL and believe we can get something out of it and not think how much are they going to smash us by. Really I just want to stay and fight and see all of us at HARD be the best we can be.
I love a good motivational quote but I thought I'd end this post with a video clip I fell in love the moment I saw it. I found this extremely inspiring. That's how I feel right now. It may not look pretty at the beginning of the journey but I'm trying my hardest to find my greatness, hopefully it'll be good enough to allow me to represent HARD one day on the track :)