i use my body more than most people i know. when i'm not playing roller derby, i'm training to play roller derby, which translates to several skate practices a week, haunting the YMCA, running to the top of one of my neighborhood's many glamorous hills, etc. i also made a decision about a year ago to live without a car. transporting yourself sans motor means depending on your body to get you where you need to go. i have never regretted that decision until recently.
dragging your old bones around town on a bum ankle is shitty. for two weeks, i couldn't ride my bike, or even walk to public transportation. but left with no other options, there were occasions when i did these things anyway, sometimes in the rain or the dark or the cold (often some combination of the three), and possibly to the detriment of my recovery. it has been eight weeks since i tore ligaments in my ankle, and i am not healed. presently, i would put myself at about 65%.
the fight crew has a game this weekend, and i will not be skating. this is my second consecutive game on the injured list. sitting next to me in the gimp section will be another fight crew jammer, leia mout, who is suffering from a knee injury. in addition to our physical injuries, we are both deeply sad, betrayed by these bodies we've worked so hard to condition.
when i talk to other women, civilians, about roller derby, i often hear, "i would love to do that! it sounds like so much fun! but i'm afraid of getting hurt..."
i never used to worry about getting hurt, but the past two months have afforded me time to reflect on that reality. i've concluded that being hurt is for the birds (shitbirds if you want to get specific), and i've developed a greater appreciation for the deal-breaking status "getting hurt" holds for some would-be derby girls.
not unlike the players in other full-contact sports, derby skaters get injured all the time. looking at the bigger picture, i realize that a sprained ankle ain't no thang. it will heal, and i will skate again, and what i need to do is stop feeling sorry for myself and focus my energy elsewhere. but there is so much energy - i have amassed a surplus in recent years, reserved for physical activity - and it's so fucking hard to not expend it doing the things that make me feel good: skating, running, riding my bike.
i think the only reason i've been able to write this is because i'm finally starting to improve (i think. i hope). my limp is mostly gone, and i can bound down the stairs the way i used to, and the aching in my ankle no longer wakes me up at night. nothing will be amputated. it's not terminal. i will survive.
and when i'm ready to start skating again, i'll probably forget this nasty business ever happened even though i shouldn't.
the fight crew recently lost a skater to a head injury. she sustained a concussion during practice, and has suffered from seizures in the months that have followed. she says that her personality has changed, she's depressed and she forgets things. she told us a story about driving and reaching for a cigarette, removing the cigarette from its pack and placing it between her fingers. she made a move to light it, and looked down to discover another cigarette already there, burning. she had no memory of lighting it or smoking it. she didn't know how it got there.
this skater talks about coming back after the seizures stop, when her doctors give her the green light. i'm not sure when or if this will happen, but her determination is both amazing and frightening.
jamming during 2007 championship bout