British Champs – Tier 3 North

[Disclaimer: Written prior to 30th of March]

This year we got promoted.

Our first game is the 30th of March in the seaside town of Blackpool. This season is a total unknown to us – The team has changed, as all Roller Derby teams do, a lot since last season.

We’ve got a shorter Jammer rotation, a few players have retired, and we are playing leagues this year that are complete unknowns to us.

This year is a bit of a make or break for me personally. I’m on Jammer rotation, again, but I’m really just not feeling it. Last year I felt a lot stronger, but unable to pull it out of the bag, this year I feel a bit ‘meh’ about Jamming in general – even though physically I’m ‘probably’ the strongest I’ve ever been.

Photo credit to Antony Clark

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know my goal is to be a part of the blocker rotation. But I also know what the team needs me to do, and what role I’ll be rostered in is based on my current skill set – I’d rather be used in what they see as my strengths rather than my weakness.

But I just can’t seem to not feel blah about Jamming and I’m not able to play as a blocker on the same level as the fantastic blockers we have in the team. This brings me to the conclusion that maybe I need to work on myself to become to blocker I always dreamed of or to get out of the funk about Jamming I have right now and find my Jammer Zone again?

Anyway, this lead me to the general conclusion – maybe it’s time to stop Jamming.

Yup, after this season I want to take a break from Jamming, and will be doing zero Jamming at training sessions for a few months.

I need to figure out why I’m stagnating as a Jammer and why I can’t quite get into active rotation as a blocker. This will allow others to train in the role and hopefully newer Jammers to come through the ranks and give me the mental break I need from Jamming (which is draining) to work on my other skills.

Maybe after taking a break I’ll find that fire for it again, or I’ll work on my blocking enough to make rotation, either way, right now, I’m not in the best headspace with wearing the star.

Or maybe (as a write this) I’ll have an absolute fire game against Blackpool and feel that spark again. But if I don’t, and I’m still in a funk, it helps me personally to know I have an end point to this, and that I have a plan to at least figure stuff out.

[And after the game]

Photo credit to Dave Barrett

So we didn’t win, but we definitely proved as a league that we deserved to be in Tier 3 this year. With a bumpy start, true to form #secondhalfteam we were down around 70 points at half time.

But we successfully pulled it back to a 29 point loss, and Blackpool failed to score or get out of the pack for a number of Jams in the second half. We shut down the defence and the Jammer rotation managed to get lead and run long to take advantage of the opportunity.

Photo credit to Antony Clark

I’ll admit that I personally had a horrendous first half. I got all the penalties and it went to my head. But the second half felt like an improvement, I got lead, pulled off some manoeuvres that I’ve never been ballsy enough to do before and had a stronger half overall.

I still plan on switching up my role after this season, because the team needs it to add depth to our Jammer rotation, and I need it to sort out my game – Endless saga of Athlete brain funk.

On to the next game, home crowd, less travel and another new opponent.

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