This has been hard to write, because it was a hard choice to make, but today is the day I tried out and made it onto Fresh Meat, so it seems weirdly appropriate to talk about this: I’ve stepped down from Fresh Meat.
I had the misfortune of spraining my ankle, not too terribly long after draft. I’d actually sprained it before, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, but this time was worse–the next day, it hurt to walk, and it was nearly impossible to go up and down stairs. I babied it for a couple of weeks, and it seemed to recover pretty quickly, so I came back to skating. Apparently, that was too soon. Skating felt fine, but taking hits? Not so much. It didn’t take me very long to realize that I was taking a massive risk for a much-worse injury by participating in team-level practices and scrimmaging.
SO, I sat out again for almost a month, going to Fresh Meat practices for half-credit and trying to make myself useful, but mostly just feeling depressed that I couldn’t be skating IN them. It was a little soul-crushing watching my fellow Meaties skate, and knowing I shouldn’t join them. I sometimes did pushups and wall-sits while I watched practice, because I felt so frustrated and antsy about not skating that doing something, anything was better than doing nothing. Even stopping by Wreckers practice for a scant few minutes this past weekend was enough to make me yearn for my skates.
And while I sat out? I stressed out. A LOT. I felt disconnected from derby, and felt like I was missing out on a million things. I wondered if the team captains thought I was slacking, or avoiding their team, or if they had any idea I was injured. I racked my brain for ways that I could train and stay in decent shape without stressing my ankle injury. I wondered why I wasn’t healed yet, and if the doctors were wrong and it was worse than a mere sprain. I worried about how much ground I was losing in terms of being drafted. I felt crushed watching Wednesday night scrimmage, knowing that I was cleared to participate in it, but still hadn’t skated in one because of the Travel Team schedule and my injury. I berated myself for being dumb enough to get hurt in the first place, even though I know that it has nothing to do with being dumb.
I went through this until about a week ago, when I did the math and realized that if I couldn’t be back on-skates right away, I wouldn’t be able to make up my attendance before February draft.
As of today, it has been five weeks since I’ve skated a derby practice. I’ve been doing at-home physical therapy each day, not skating (obviously), and not doing a whole lot of anything, really. I go to yoga classes and do whatever circuit training I can without stressing my ankle, but something as simple as going on a run? Not an option. I’d love to go in and work with a physical therapist, but now that I’m laid-off and self-employed, I don’t have the fancy-schmancy healthcare plan I used to have.
So, I rest, I PT, and I wait. It’s getting better, but it’s really, really slow going.
I’m not crying, though. I’ve always been more of a worrier than a crier, and although derby has made me cry more than a lot of things in my life, I refuse to cry over this. Derby will still be there when I’m healed, February Fresh Meat tryouts are not far away, and I can come back and level up all over again. Even after all of these weeks off to heal, I’ll still be a FAR stronger and better skater than I was one year ago today, and that, plus working my ass off, will get me through. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.
It’s not goodbye. I’m not done with you, derby. Not by a longshot.