Coaching

I’m a pregnant roller derby athlete

I’m a pregnant roller derby athlete Photo credit Marko Niemela (https://www.facebook.com/punkmarkophotos/)

Part One: Holy shit this is happening

I want to start out by saying; this is me being honest. This is what I went through. It might not be popular, or what other people went through… but this is what happened, and how it made me feel, and how I handled it. I’m here to share my experience so others don’t feel judged by expectation, so please don’t jump down my throat for my choices.

Pregnancy has a million expectations on women, and that’s part of what makes it difficult… because it’s not just the craziness of hormones and body changes you’re handling, but also the set of parameters of how you should feel because of that expectation of “OH THIS IS ALL WORTH IT, ‘CAUSE: BABY”.

That makes me furious. It ignores my struggles and frustrations like I should be some happy robot housewife from the ’50s.

So without further ado, here’s my story of learning about my pregnancy…

Trust Your Gut: Support Your Alts, A Team Primer.

Trust Your Gut: Support Your Alts, A Team Primer. Photo credit Danforth Johnson

Several weeks ago, I penned a piece about the Alt Year – that frustrating period that a skater spends trying to make a roster, but game time after game time finds themselves instead stuck outside the rostered 14, on the Alt list. In it, I listed some of the common nasty feelings that Alts experience, and why they are poisonous to your derby career. I also laid out a step-by-step plan to making your Alt year your bitch.

But the Alt year isn’t just about the Alts themselves and their mental game. Derby leagues, coaches, and captains all have a responsibility to their whole team, Alts included. And the specific needs of that group of people often goes unacknowledged, to the detriment of the team – particularly because they can (incorrectly) often be thought of as some kind of add-on to the team proper.

Over the years, I’ve seen incredibly hard-working and talented skaters walk away from their teams, sick of their thankless plight on the Alt list. Roller derby leagues need a new way of talking about this phenomenon if they hope to retain their most promising skaters. So let’s launch an important dialogue about it, starting right now.

If you’re a coach, captain or teammate, the season haitus is the perfect time to really think about how you can support the whole of your team to be the best they can in 2016.