Full disclosure. I am partially crazy. But if you play on my roller derby team, you already know that and kind of love me for it. Especially if you are a Nightmare. I have a tendency to get super nuts when something awesome is about to happen to me. Hot guy leaning in for a kiss? Mini throw up in my mouth. Headed to Carowinds? How bout I get in a wreck halfway there out of sheer nervousness! First roller derby bout? Sorry guys, can't make it. I am full on freakin'.
Okay, so most of that stuff hasn't really happened. Okay...all of it has...but I did actually attend, play in, and not die at my first roller derby bout. The following is how I think I managed to survive.
- Have a scary person on your team slap you in the face (I prefer Flogger, Wifey (Schoolya), or Emma Ture). Steal my go to slap people and you are Dead To Me.
- Know the rules. This seems simple, right? But it isn't. There are so many GD rules in roller derby it can literally make your head spin. Don't worry about it too hard though. No matter how hard you study, you can never prepare for your first major...which leads me to my next point...
- Be nice to the refs. The NFL's refs are paid. Kind of a lot, when you think about it. But their job is f'in hard. They tell guys like Michael Vick they did Something Wrong. Uh, I don't want to do that. But our refs are volunteers. VOLUNTEERS. In theory, they are keeping us safe. So be nice to them from the start. Let the fans yell at them...and then buy each ref a beer afterward. Also, don't act superior to them because they are dressed like Zebras.
- The night before the bout try to get some damn sleep. You won't, but at least try. Maybe even work on those “visualizing” techniques people keep talking about. Scientists said they work!
- Eat food that doesn't come in a bag. Have a nice salad, maybe some grilled chicken even. Ask the vegans on your team what they are eating, cause God knows they eat better than your carnivore ass. But don't eat fast food. (Shush haters! Do as I say not as I do.)
- Find the other crazies on the team. I won't call anyone out (*cough*Ripper*cough*), but I am not the only one who gets bananas on derby day. It is just in our blood to FREAK. You know how misery loves company? So do freak outers. Find your fellow freak outers so you don't feel judged (and to clarify, no one is actually judging you...there are two kinds of people...people who can't contain they are nervous and people who hide it very, very well). Dammit people with low blood pressure! Quit showing off how relaxed you are!
- Have a super rad outfit. This helps, a lot. The hotter you look the less likely they are to institutionalize you, because it isn't 1952 anymore. Also, I feel more confident when I like what I am wearing. Take your time making sure everything fits and moves well with your body shape and that your number is clearly tacked on. There is no bigger buzz kill than getting a penalty for your number falling off. I am talking straight up Buzz Kill.
- Drink lots of water. Signed, Captain Obvious
- Pretend like you are really involved with the National Anthem, because that happens directly before Your First Roller Derby Bout Starts. I mean, listen and all (AMERICA RULES!), but take deep breaths and realize the person singing is just as nervous as you are. There is some kind of comfort in that. (Am I sick?!)
- Hug your friends on the other team. Make sure to do this at half time as well. As Ari says, Hug It Out. I hate Entourage, by the way, but love that advice.
- Say hi to your parents, family, friends, co-workers, and strangers you invited to the bout. They came because you asked them to. Make it worth it for them, especially because your mom is more nervous than you are. She birthed you and you are about to play a contact sport On Skates in front of her. Plus, where the hell did that unicorn tattoo come from?!
- Okay...so your first jam. Don't worry about it. It is like being in a Pokemon cartoon your first jam...WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! How did I get here?! Why is that zebra yelling at me?! But GOOD NEWS PEOPLE! New Jam! There is always a NEW JAM. This applies to everything in your life. There is always, always, always a new jam. And sometimes (nods to Moloko) you gotta call off the jam.
- Pretend your 12 year old self (eye patch and all...yes, jerk faces I work a damn eye patch!) is in the audience watching this bout. She thinks you are f*cking AWESOME! Smile at your invisible twelve year old self and pat yourself on your disgustingly sweaty back, 'cause face it dude-YOU ARE AWESOME.
- After about your third jam you are probably starting to realize how awesome roller derby is. How all that hard work has finally paid off. Did I mention you were a rock star? Not to brag or anything, but I got MVP my first bout. I accepted my award after I vomited outside the emergency exit.
So, here it is guys. My first bout advice. I am like Buddha right? Buddha who has no ability to write a proper paper.
Just a side note-the nervousness never goes away. But when the hot guy/girl leans in for a kiss...Kiss their sexy ass right back!