I am a big proponent of failing gracefully and in a productive way, but sometimes it’s just simply not that easy to accept that this is the way things work. In order to succeed, you must fail many, many times. Even a rose has a whole bunch of dirt to push through before it can bloom. Well, after what I would deem as a defining moment and practice for me, I knew I was still a small seed way down under the muck. And I felt it. I laugh when I remind myself that the MST is the MINIMUM skills test for a reason, but it’s true. Thinking I was going to waltz out onto the track having passed my MST and resemble Bonnie Thunders would have been delusional. Quite plainly though, it sucks to suck.
My first Charter team only practice was, in my mind at the time, a disaster. I fell. A lot. My derby stops were horrible. I was slow, both mentally and physically. And I was extremely angry at myself for essentially showing all of my weaknesses at the first practice of the team that had been my goal since day one. I was the weak link, and I hated that. Even more for my teammates then for me, I didn’t want to let them down.
Through all of the baby doll practices, my broken foot, and my displaced rib, I had never come home and wondered if it really was the sport for me. On the evening of “The bad practice” as I called it, those thoughts started entering my mind. Was I wasting my time? Was it silly for me to be just starting this at 36? Was I holding my team back? Should my derby name be Rudy?
Admittedly I sulked about it like an 8 year old for a good day. But some sleep and some distance helped me to put some perspective onto the experience, and my resolve came back. After all this, one bad practice, and I’m thinking of quitting. NO. That wasn’t me and it wasn’t what I had worked for. And I started reframing “bad practice” into “good practice”.
The “good practice” I had on that day reminded me that I had a lot to improve. It reminded me that it takes work and determination to get better and that it doesn’t come easy. It also reminded me that when something is hard and you work hard for it, it is so much more valued in the end then when something is handed to you.