To be honest, I nearly passed out. I was strapped into all my gear, teetering on skates, falling down – Boyz II Men was regularly on the radio the last time I was in skates – and I had a mouth guard that seemed to hinder my breathing. It was an excuse I worked through until I embarrassingly asked to get a drink; as the stars I saw foreshadowed an unpleasant meeting with a hardwood floor.
I’m not a baby. I love throwing myself in situations I’ve never experienced for the sake of a story, but also for the sake of living fully. If, even once, you put yourself in cruise control you risk the colors of your life greying. It’s a risk I never intend to take. So, I felt pretty [insert expletives here, that’s derby culture too] about my need for a water break.
“People take what we do for granted a lot, we wear armor to be able to do this, it’s heavy on its own and we’re working really hard,” the 5-ft. Assassin told me as all five foot of her leaned over the railing to reassure me while I sat [still makes me mad to think I sat, even for a moment, during a practice] and sipped water. The only thing that would’ve made me feel prissier is if I would’ve sipped the water with my pinky raised high in the sky. Gross.
I was uncomfortable and I wanted my notebook, the one thing that’d connect me back to what I know; that’d connect me to what I was good at. But, giving in would’ve greyed the colors. So, upwardly mobile I became. And I got better, like a lot better. I started skating faster, I weaved in and out of the girls during their drill; yelling “In! Out!” as I’d heard them do while I was sitting. I was even a jammer, fighting through the girls to get to the front, before I encouraged them to bang me around a bit.