I have vivid dreams. Most of them are plain weird, and I can laugh them off. But last Friday — the night before a bout, mind you — I had a series of nightmares about derby. Yes, SERIES. It was a constant stream of forgetting things, running around attempting to figure out where I belong, gameplay obstacles, and the feeling as though I couldn’t move my legs when I was pushing as hard as I could. And one hilarious one about Naptown’s new “T & A-friendly” uniforms.
There’s a whole lot of behavioral analysis in that, I’m certain. In real life, I had some serious anxiety about my first away bout, and that’s obviously the cause for my subconscious meandering and prior nights of sleeplessness. But then bout day came, and I started getting amped up to practice…
AND THEN MY FUCKING SKATE BROKE.
By that, a piece where I screw my toe stop into my plate broke, but the shit was broken nonetheless — on a skate set-up that’s only a few months old. And supposedly indestructible for derby play, but that’s another topic for another day. I was only doing regular pre-game maintenance: cleaning all the crap and dust off my wheels and bearings, rotating my toe stops… and that’s when I heard something snap. AUDIBLE SNAP.
AND THEN I SNAPPED.
I did not pack a back-up pair of skates (one of the many lessons I learned that bout). Because I was settling in for a breakdown, it was recognized by several of my teammates, who came to my “rescue,” finding one of the bout production crew guys to go the hardware store and purchase a bottle of LockTite. I played in a bout with my toe stop super-glued into my skate.
It goes without saying that the incident rattled me more than I thought… resulting in my breaking down in tears at the completion of the bout that was one part emotional release and another part disappointment. I did not play well. And as result, I didn’t feel good about anything that day. Skate’s fault? Partly. My fault? Mostly. That’s how I felt about the loss. MY FAULT. While I realize this is a team sport, it’s difficult for me not to shoulder the entire burden because of my mistakes.
Like I said, there were a lot of lessons learned that game.