Last week was literally the worst practice I’ve had in my entire derby career. We were doing a lot of endurance, which I suck at because I have none, and it just felt like I could do absolutely nothing right. Every week we log into this group chat and say what went well about the practice and all I could say is “I did not give up.” I even told a friend I was scared to hit anyone. I was reassured that’s normal post-concussion.

I was starting to get worried though, because on Saturday I’m skating in a mix-up tournament. I’ll be in at least two bouts, and I won’t know who I am skating with until I get there - I felt like I was going to be a major drag on whatever team got me and/or suck so much no one would want me out on the line.

And then I went to practice last night. I had a little issue early on with foot numbness, but I got my skates re-laced and sorted that out, and we had enough people to scrimmage, so I shook myself off mentally and got out there. It was honestly night and day from the previous practice. We tend to all jam at least once during the scrimmage, especially when we have few enough people that we’re skating 3 blockers/1 jammer versus 4 blockers/1 jammer. I hate jamming. It will probably never be my thing. I get frustrated easily, and I don’t have the kind of speed that is effective as a jammer. I still force myself to do it because I think learning what frustrates me as a jammer can translate to better blocking skills.

However, last night was magical. I think it helps that I was jamming against one of the newbies, but I was still up against three veteran blockers. I managed to get out of the pack (taking some hits, staying in, hitting back, which has been something I’m slowly learning to do) and to get lead and to get a point or two before I had to call it off. It just felt great, and I feel a lot better going into the tournament now.