Last weekend Chinook City hosted Flat Track Fever, a tournament with thirteen women's teams, four men's teams and a shwack of co-ed pick up games. This was my first derby tournament and I think that, as with many firsts, it'll always be a bit special to me.
A few interesting things happened. My team took first place, cementing our ranking in Canada (number three, behind Terminal City and the New Skids). Exciting for me, I actually played quite a bit and got hoards of compliments for generally being a bad ass blocker and pivot type person. I discovered that while its taken me this week to feel like my spine is back into alignment after being bashed around all weekend, despite my advanced age (I'll confess, thirty-six!) I do indeed have the energy for a three day tournament and would have very much liked to play the final game instead of having it forfeited to us. I also may have developed a slight taste for crushing the spirits of the opposition (see forfeited last game).
But, that is not what I'm going to talk about right now. Instead, I'd like to talk about my bare ass and its sudden appearance during my first game of the weekend on the straightaway right before turn one and on Derby News Network, who through Canuck TV had their camera pointed right at me.
No, don't bother going to search the archives, the game is gone, thank goodness.
Here is what happened. My mate Timber, brilliant rookie that is she, is all busy blocking hanging on to my jersey truck and trailer fashion, when she goes down. She must of also had a hold of my leggings and undies because, whoop, there they go too. I suddenly feel a discomforting breeze, my teammates and GPRDA get a quick reason to say no to crack and by the time we hit turn two I've stopped cussing at Timber and we're all back to business.
As you can imagine, I've had quite a few thoughts about my first and hopefully only public depantsing. First off, it's time to retire my lucky leggings I've been wearing since I first put on skates. If derby continues to get more hands on (between teammates anyway) then tighter clothes with reinforced seams will be the only way to go if there is a crowd anywhere near me.
Next, as I've found while actively blocking, only a small portion of experience actually makes it to the long term storage memory banks. Most of my time on the track is a set of snap shots and I rarely can remember more than brief moments of any jam. My theory is that the short term memory is overloaded during play, between worrying about the positions of ten players (especially me), what the coach and bench is saying, what the up to seven referees are calling (I always pay attention to the calls, whether directed at me or not), playing offense and defense, running multiple strategies at once time and having to keep turning left ON WHEELS while hitting, being hit and picking my arse up off the floor or dodging someone else's fallen arse. You can't really blame a brain for forgetting some of the fine details. At this level of stimulus, loading sequential events into long term storage is fine detail. Hence the snapshot memory effect and the inability to remember that spectacular jammer knock out I made everyone keeps going on about.
But I haven't forgotten mooning the world. That was notable enough for long term memory storage, listed under Things to Remember and Feel Really Silly About When Trying To Fall Asleep.
The biggest lesson of this all only made itself known several days later, though, when I was almost publicly depantsed again. This time it was at my daughter's school and my four year old son tugged on my jeans to get my attention and I almost showed the entire first grade class what kind of bruise one can get when one kicks their own ass while wearing a roller skate.
That is when it dawned on me: my body shrank!
I have been in derby for two years and have averaged about five pounds heavier all the way through than when I started. My body has changed and some repositioning has happened (and rather attractive bulging in some spots - I'm ridiculously in love with my own calves right now) but generally I haven't gotten any smaller. The past few months, however, our league has pushed up the intensity of our practices up a couple notches, added some off skates training and has been focusing on cardio endurance. In addition, I laid off the sweets, starchy foods and alcohol while preparing for this tournament. And somehow I've managed to lose two entire pant sizes without noticing.
To be honest, I don't take any real steps to try to control my weight. I haven't cared enough to put in the effort of calorie counting and, heaven forbid, actual calorie restriction (*shutter*). I think being smaller would be nice but only because it would allow me to move faster with less effort. Generally I focus on eating well and enjoying life and don't sweat the cookies. The physical activity I do is to become more fit for my sport. And I play my sport to keep my body healthy. Not just healthy, but thriving.
I didn't start roller derby to become more fit (I'm not actually sure anymore why I started, just something about wanting to hit bitches) but over time, as I've discovered how good it feels to be able to move my body freely and get up off the floor without grunting with the effort like Aughra from The Dark Crystal, I've grown to appreciate how playing this sport is positively affecting my health, both now and in the future. I see women my age who move like they are fifty and I see fifty year old women who move like they are seventy. I have no intention of sliding down the slope towards old age, moving more slowly and awkwardly, getting more brittle and hunched. I want to continue to play and wrestle with my kids, be able to work out intensely without having to spend a week recovering, have the energy and fitness to accomplish my goals. Roller derby not only points me in the right direction but gives me a push too.
I don't know what I'd do without derby. Certainly other activities for grown ups haven't held much appeal. I am highly unmotivated to push myself to go to the gym and left to my own devices, I will use my child free gym time to bunk off for a latte and read a book. I need someone to guide me and remind me to keep pushing. As for yoga, running, wall climbing and fitness classes, they all lack that opportunity for crushing the spirits of the opposition I am growing quite fond of. Plus you hardly ever get to hit a bitch without the involvement of the authorities when doing mat work. And warrior pose, my friends, is false advertising.
All of this insight into my own derby motivations started with that one brief, airy moment when Timber decided that if she was going down, she wasn't going down alone. Which means that while I may be a bit embarrassed, I'm not really sorry about showing my bum to the world. In fact, given all the good that has come along with with that one itty bitty depantsing, I was thinking about making it my signature move.