[personal profile] batskeets
Well, our season didn't end the way it started. We slogged through our first two games only to be narrowly defeated, but then we came back to win our next five games. Our Championships win was not by a narrow margin, either--we won definitively.

I didn't personally skate my best game, but it didn't matter. Everything we'd built over the course of the season came together, we fought for every point, we worked together as a team, and we captured the win. Being a co-captain this season, and having drafted seven (!) new people to our ranks, I suppose you could say I had something to do with that.

To be completely honest, I think I both gained and lost confidence this season. I lost confidence as a skater, and that got into my head more than once. I'd been an anchor on this team for two seasons, but this season, suddenly, I wasn't. I had no real idea what to do about it, and I wasn't getting much in the way of feedback from our lineups coach--all I knew is that she wasn't giving me as much playtime. It sort of worked out in some ways, because I wound up working on jamming for a while, and wound up jamming my first full game and winning MVP for it. But, as a blocker, I feel plateaued and shitty, and I still don't really know how to communicate that to anyone on my team in a way that doesn't sound whiny and entitled.

I'm really starting to question whether I *can* improve without sacrificing more of my time for derby, and that isn't something I can or want to do right now--or possibly ever again. Getting into Crossfit also has me thinking about retirement, and while I'm not done just yet, it's no longer hard for me to imagine life without derby. My teammates are either young people who can make roller derby the center of their worlds, or they've already had children and planted family roots. I have Life Stuff I still want to do, like having kids, traveling, building my business and my home. I will likely have to stop playing derby, at least temporarily, in order to do at least some of that Life Stuff. That's still a bit hard to swallow.

Where I gained, however, is when I figured out that my way of being a leader has value. Early in the season, I quickly came to realize that I'm not the leader who makes inspirational speeches, or grabs for the steering wheel. I'm never the most outspoken person in the room, but I have my eye on the details, and I work to take care of my people and give them what they need to do better. There was a brief period when I felt like maybe I was an incredible failure, because I'm not a more archetypal leader-y person, but you know what? I like me. I know what I'm good at, and I don't do what I do for glory--I can hang with being an unsung hero, and making a difference in a quieter and more personal way.

Once I figured that out, I felt pretty great in general. Quiet confidence isn't something that often translates well, especially when there are louder voices in the room, but I don't need to be the center of attention, and that's what gives me power. I like myself and feel secure in my own awesomeness without that external praise.

But, in the end, nothing compares to this team, and I can't imagine that it would ever be easy to leave. We've gone through some heavy turnover and a lot of changes, but the heart of this team has never wavered. If anything I've done as a captain over these past few months has helped us continue the tradition, then I've succeeded in the most important way possible.

I also read a Muhammad Ali quote to my teammates, before the game. I happened to see it the night before, in a flurry of posts about Muhammad Ali's death, and although I don't idolize him the way some people do, this felt relevant enough to share:

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them--a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

Date: 2016-06-10 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_dilate_/
This is such a great entry. Happy for you!

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