If you hadn't heard by now, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls opened their 2011 season with a victory over longtime rivals the Quad City Rollers last Saturday at the Coralville Marriott. The final tally was 191-83, and though the Quad City Rollers put up a good fight in the second half it was enough to derail the momentum of OCCRG.
Fancy footwork by Left 4 Deadwards adds another few points seconds before the jam is called off
Bat R Up takes out Lady Gotcha of the Quad City Rollers while OCCRG's Ophelia Fracture skirts along the inside
GladI8Her had several big jams, including this 23-pointer
Myself booty-blocking a Quad City Roller jammer
But though the team was ecstatic with the winner, I left the Marriott more unsure of myself than I had been in some time.
Pre-bout jitters have always been something I have struggled with, but last weekend my anxiety levels were off the charts. It was something of a bad omen when, the day before the Back in Black bout, I weathered my worst anxiety attack in several years. I tried to refocus and told myself I'd be better now that I'd gotten that out of my system, but I slept poorly that night as well.
Saturday found me highly strung and skittish. In the hours before the bout I did my best to relax by doing yoga and some core exercises. But I just couldn't calm my nerves. I try to keep my everyday stresses from spilling over into derby every time I lace up my skates, but sometimes it seems like an exercise in futility. Add that to the feeling of overall rustiness from not having bouted since October and you have a recipe for disaster (no pun intended).
As for the bout, my nerves got the better of me and I underperformed. My turns as jammer weren't as stellar as they usually are, and as a blocker I could have played a little smarter. I ended up in the penalty box too many times. It didn't help that I had an even more severe anxiety attack that lasted the entire half-time, but with the encouragement of bench coach Tynamite I shook it off just as the entire second half was beginning. In the minutes that followed I did manage to make lead jammer and improve my performance blocking.
Someone later told me I had shown a lot of guts to come back like that while battling my own inner turmoil, but I still went home that night feeling disappointed in myself. I thought about the bout constantly all week; at first only things I had done wrong. But towards the end of the week my began to zero in not in the areas I had come up short, but instead on the things I wanted to improve on: Hit cleaner (i.e. no elbows). More ducking, jumping and weaving while jamming. Improve pack awareness.
And finally: Being confident in myself and my abilities.
I was surprised to find a lot of the anxiety dissipating as the week wore on, even with OCCRG's bout with the Mad Rollin Dolls' Unholy Rollers--the toughest endeavor the team has taken on thus far-- fast approaching. I'm slowly realizing that, although I can't skate as well as I'd like all the time, I can train as hard as I can at practices and try my best at the bouts.
And I think I can live with that.