Yeah Canna Whoopass is intimidated. By rookies, transfers, teammates, and foes.
Before I temporarily retired due to pregnancy, I was the intimidator. I developed into the derby skater that became the one that my idols hated to skate against. The peanut gallery on the sidelines at scrimmage practice would routinely yell, “Someone get on Canna!” and I loved every minute of it. I was on the all star team since my rookie year, was Rookie of the Year in 2009, Demons MVP in 2009, and won the “Skater who most lives up to her name” award in 2010. I was 6 weeks pregnant as I skated with Atlanta during the 2011 regional tournament.
During my year off, a lot had happened. Scrum. The bane of my existence. So anti-derby in my opinion. I was hoping rules would change so that by the time I’d return, I wouldn’t have to deal with scrum starts; but no. I actually considered permanently retiring just because of that.
Then there were the 2012 rookies. They were smaller, fitter, faster, and fiercer than any rookie group I had ever seen. Jean-Juke Picard. I’m just glad she’s on my team. Afro Dykee. Sharing DNA with Queen Loseyateefa automatically makes her a force to reckon with, but a more compact version.
We’ve received some amazing transfers during my hiatus. Jammunition. Have you seen this woman? An amazing skater from Savannah, GA. She is fearlessly tenacious and agile. I’m glad she’s on my team, too. Wild Cherri. Wild “effing” Cherri. I’m supposed to comeback against her? It’s amazing watching her skate and her footwork is phenomenal. Her agility and gracefulness will not be easy to defend against. Then the 3 best skaters from Athens, GA: Ozzie Kamakazi, Rudy Huxtabrawl, and ChokeCherry.
All skaters know the feeling of torture when we take a week or so off from skating. That first practice afterward is brutal. Your endurance and stamina immediately suffers, your shins are on fire and your feet go numb. Now imagine what taking a year off is going to feel like. I skated up until I was 8 months along, hoping that would make my comeback a little easier. But alas, having a cesarean section set me way back. I hadn’t realized the toll major surgery would have on my body. My feet grew, for one thing. So my skates no longer fit. I’m relying on my rookie skates to get me by for now.
One thing I’m beginning to notice from all skaters, is the expectation that I would return at 100% the skater I used to be. Let’s be real: I wasn’t in the best shape before I was expecting. Having major surgery is still apparent even 3 months later. And I don’t even desire to maintain an above 90% attendance rate like I had for 2 reasons: our practice space moved from 15 minutes away from home to 35 minutes; and I have an amazing son whom needs me and I need him. I love roller derby but I love him more. I hope I can live up to everyone’s expectations, and not disappoint my teammates or myself since those expectations are extremely high.
Naturally, a league grows on it’s own. Meaning, with every practice and every bout, every skater will naturally get better, grow their skills. As the league was growing and moving forward, I was moving backward in my skills. The longer I went without utilizing my skills, they became less and less sharp. This makes for a treacherous hill to climb.
As I’m plotting my return and gradually attending more and more practices with the league, rec league, and junior derby, every skater, official, parent, and significant other have been overwhelmingly supportive and happy to see me on skates again. My family wants me to continue to do what makes me happy (derby). And I’m inspired by Wheelin’ Jennings’ and Hit ‘N Ronda’s post-baby returns.
Despite all that I’m up against, I stay motivated by the desire to skate at least until my son can form his own memories of his mom as an athlete. Or until baby number 2 is conceived. Whichever comes first.