Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Help Me Help You

As the creeks run dry before the rains eventually replenish them, so likewise do I occasionally out run out of ideas for roller derby blog subject matter. Please irrigate the crops (so to speak) by emailing me questions so that I can help improve your overall roller derby experience while simultaneously taunting you in an uncalled-for manner.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New World

Januaries always bring us the opportunity to be introspective. They give us all another calender year to look back on with 12 months of hindsight.  If you're reading this, you no doubt are looking back at normal-life experiences sprinkled liberally with derby-life agony and ecstacy.  My experience was similar for the most part but this particular January has been a little more introspective than average for me.  Hopefully as I explain, you'll find some motivation to drive you to do the things that could make 2011 a year that you will look back on and be proud of.

I'll cut right to the chase.  After initially thinking I had a non-serious problem, I was told by a doctor shortly before Christmas that I had a huge tumor and that a particular spot within it was cancer.  Spoiler alert:  It turns out that I do NOT actually have cancer.  Don't freak out, I'm fine.  But for a 17-day period spanning over Christmas, a mis-diagnosis by two different specialists had me thinking that I had a cancerous cyst.  I bring this up for the simple reason that potentially life-changing information like that tends to make a person rethink their life just a wee bit.

In the same way that this is "just a wee bit" of snow.

What I found myself thinking about most was the things I had done that have had an observable impact.  What had I done that was useful, helpful or significant?  Who out there had had their life improved in any way as a result of knowing me?  What had I not been doing that I wanted to or knew that I should?  Had I changed anything, anywhere for the better?

The good news during those seventeen days is that I had some specific accomplishments to look back on in 2010.  I had helped start a junior roller derby league and was privileged to watch as girls from all walks of life (some of whom couldn't initially even stand in skates,) worked hard, learned quickly and bonded together over what was clearly the most exciting thing they had done in their lives.  I had shared information in this blog that I have since discovered had helped some people form new local leagues and had helped others reorganize and rebuild theirs.  I had launched a resource that helps roller derby lovers discover and learn about leagues all around the world.  These and several other things from my real life gave me comfort in knowing that I had had some sort of tangible, positive effect on people.

There were regrets too of course during this time period but I'm dwelling on the positives here for a reason and it is NOT so that I can sit here like a douchebag wallowing in a pool of self-aggrandizement telling you how cool I think I am.  I'm telling you all this because the things that I was proudest of and that made me feel significant were the things that I had accomplished, things that I actually got off my butt and DID.  Any one practice with my junior derby girls was better and more important to me than all my couchbound random internet surfing combined.  Every "thank you" on Derby Helper or compliment on Derby Earth meant more to me than all the video games I beat or shows I watched.  Now don't misunderstand me, all that stuff has its place in life and it is still part of mine.  But I hope that those of you who randomly surfed your way here will take a moment to consider what you would be thinking about if you had spent 17 days with the C word hanging over your head and suddenly had it wiped away clean.  What do you wish you had done last year and could you do it this year?  What would be cool if it existed and could you be the one to make it?  What could you be finishing six months from now if you started it right now?  Whose lives can you make better?  In roller derby terms, this line of thinking might mean you finally go to that derby 101 class and try out for the team, it might mean that you finally fill out the paperwork to organize that junior derby league you've been thinking about or it might mean that you start a new intense training regimen to carry your team to the championships.  In real life terms, it may mean you quit the crappy comfortable job you have to pursue the career you've always dreamed of or it may mean that you and the spouse start saving up the money to do the adoption you've talked about for years.  Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to get out there and do something this year that will make you proud when you're looking back at it in January 2012.

A very happy and healthy new year to you all.


Feel free to put your "something" for 2011 in the comments below.  Sometimes making something public gives you the kick in the pants you need!  :-)