Wednesday, October 17, 2007

That crazy driver who just passed you? She might be a rollergirl

When I get out of roller derby practice I tend to drive a little crazy. After two hours of racing, cutting other people off, and taking the corners as tight as you can, it's hard to get in a car and immediately turn all of that off. I'm usually still panting and full of adrenaline for the first part of my drive home. The funny part is, I've asked several girls in my squad and they all admitted to the same tendency. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just saying... this may give some context to any bizarre driving experiences you've had late at night near a roller rink.

Our rink is a ~40 min. drive from my house, so I spend > 2.5 hours/week on the road. When I don't have someone on the phone to chat with, it's quite nice to have that time to myself, just to listen to music or be quiet and think. I spent more of my youth than I care to remember road-tripping, so I find being on the highway pretty relaxing (as long as I don't slip into "Must race... must kill" mode). Sometimes I'm eager to go to practice, and sometimes I have to force myself out the door (in anticipation of the pain), but the drive is always a nice buffer to be by myself and get in the mood for skating.

On my way home from the last practice I was thinking about friends. Y'know how different friends are good for different things—maybe one's a great listener, another one is completely unreliable but really good for going out dancing? I love some of my friends because I can completely be myself around them—even if that means I'm angry or lazy or just plain uninteresting for awhile. But I also appreciate having friends who make me want to not be who I am: who make me want to be more than what I am, who inspire me to change myself for the better and to push the limits of how I see myself.

My derby girls are that kind of friend. I don't take easily to athleticism, but after a practice with them you could almost talk me into signing up for boot camp. They make me push myself way past my comfort zone, make me yearn to be strong and skilled and full of endurance. I don't always live up to the skater I want to be, but I love knowing a group of girls who constantly remind me of how I need to work to get there.

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