Just like the cliché poem about Kindergarten, all I really need to know in life, I learned in Roller Derby.
With a nod to Robert Fulghum…
And a thank you to Nic Charest, from www.rollergirl.ca – my favourite skate shop – for the image!
If you fail, you better learn from it.
Got upset on the track by a team you should have beat? You better learn something about what happened if you want to avoid a repeat. Failed marketing campaign at work? Didn’t get the promotion? Same with life.
Nothing that comes easily is truly rewarding.
You’re never gonna look back and feel glorious about your first T-stop. The best stuff in in roller derby, is the stuff that was the hardest to achieve, like cracking your minimum skills, or winning your first game MVP after 9 years of derby (hello!). Same with life.
Focus on the things that you can control.
You can’t control the other team’s actions, and you can’t control how the officials are calling pack destruction. But you can control your reaction. You can also control your preparedness for the bout, your physical fitness, and how you adjust your strategies. Same with life.
It’s not where you go or what you did, it’s who you’re with that counts.
It doesn’t matter that you’re staying in a “hotel with an M” next to the highway in a far suburb of Nowheresville to play a team that’s gonna crush you… if you’re with a fucking awesome group of hilarious weirdos who are going to create alternate farm animal derby names for everyone, and make pillow forts in the hallway. Same with life.
Sometimes you must push outside of your comfort zone to grow.
Maybe you’ll fall a few (hundred) times, but if you don’t try something that’s harder than what you’re able to do comfortably now, you’ll never get any better at stuff than you are right now. Same with life.
When you fall, get back up.
Duh. Same with life.
Hard-won, consistent, incremental improvements compound into big changes over time.
You may be frustrated by the lack of apparent change day by day and week by week, but keep at it and suddenly you’ll notice yourself improving by leaps and bounds (read this for more on incremental improvements). Same with life.
Wait ‘til you’re out front before you raise your arms in victory.
Cutest thing: when new skaters hear their name during team skate out, thrust their arms overhead to wave to their brand new fans, and *then* try to accelerate to skate out in front of the pack. It looks really, really, awkward, because it’s much harder to skate when your arms are overhead. Get where you’re going before you start celebrating yourself too hard. Same with life.
It’s not about you.
Whatever your teammate said to you in the pace line, however the coach chose to phrase her critique, whatever policy change the board came up with, however the roster decision was made… it wasn’t about YOU. No one has as much time to think about you and how things will impact you, as you do. Everyone else is busy thinking about their own priorities. If something bothered you, or hurt your feelings, shrug it off unless it’s major. It’s just not about you. Same with life.
To sum up…
Roller Derby teaches us how to have grit, how to persevere, how to make the best of a crappy situation, and how to get over ourselves sometimes. But it also teaches us what hard-fought personal victory tastes like, and pushes us to work for more of it every day.
What else has roller derby taught you, that you are applying to your life in shoes? Let me know in the comments.
xo Booty Quake