Passing the Star, My Journey to Blocking Part 1

I’ve taken a break from blogging for a little while, because life. Disclaimer: I actually started writing this shortly after my holiday, but never quite got round to finishing it, until now….

But the other week, while on holiday and reading another book on mindset and mental game for life (and as an athlete) I came upon a question…. what is my why?

Why do I train, perform, do, organise (or existentially exist) in the way that I do? What is my goal? Do I have an end game? Why do I live the way I do and what is my reason for it… which brought me to focus on Roller Derby.

I have spent the past 6 years committing myself to being a half decent Roller Derby player, and a Jammer. This was my why, it was probably my primary focus for a super long time – but then I was realistically under fulfilled in my career and have very little else to distract me from my goal.

📸 credit: Joel Rock
My last game as a primary Jammer

This end goal had evolved over the years since my fracture – Prior to being broken my goal was to be good enough to try out for Team England, I wanted to be at that level. But getting broken changed that massively, becoming injured was a huge mental and physical set back. And to this day I still don’t feel like I’ve got my confidence back to be able to train up to or perform at that level. I still want to perform well and continue to play the sport, but my goals are more focused within the league rather than a big, giant goal that is unlikely to be realistic anymore at this point, for a number of reasons.

In the earlier part of this year I started to feel distanced from my sport, 6 years of Roller Derby and everything that comes with the Derby Vortex had taken it’s toll. I still love it, passionately, but I think the problem with Derby is many of us join the sport at a time of self-discovery. We’re seeking out something about ourselves, our lives, our existence and Derby allows us to figure that out – it’s quite a revolutionary environment in that respect – it does allow you to find a version of you that you always were capable of expressing/becoming, but that you didn’t have the catalyst to ignite within you. The key (once you’ve figure out that) is maintaining the driver to remain focused on the sport once you find whatever the secondary focus was that you were looking for.

My Derby Journey
Finding my Inner Athlete

I was seeking out a number of things and I have found them now, and I think this is where I was – my life changed earlier this year due to a career shift, and it impacted on my commitment to the sport and I’m still figuring out my new relationship with roller derby and how it fits into my altered routine and lifestyle.

I needed a new why, or a new focus, which I identified a few seasons back that it was to find my way to be a blocker within the team. But when you’re trying a new role in a field of 4 or 5 year veteran blockers who have worked together for that long and understand instinctively what is going to happen and when, it makes it very difficult to find a way into that. And in a small(er) league being not at that level makes for a very obvious weak link, which I’ve not been for the longest time.

📸 credit GB photography
The one where I received a Star Pass

It’s a huge hit to the ego, and managing that is a whole new challenge and I think deep down, that’s my new why, learning to be humble again after years of driving myself to find a level of ‘dickheadness’ (read arrogance). And good god it is hard, but challenging yourself in new, uncomfortable ways is the only way to grow as a person and a player. I think this is partly why CrossFit has been a good supplement to my training, it was preparing me for the feelings I’m feeling right now!

So here’s to figuring out how to be humble and how to be a decent blocker; after years of running into ‘walls’ I’m now learning how to be one and that my friends is what this new series of blogs is going to be focusing on!