Last night was the last Fresh Meat practice of this year and it was a blast! With the help of my teammates, Dana (Purple Kush, who is also our team coach) and Krystin (Suzy Bruisemaker), we made the practice as fun as possible for our Freshtastics! We worked on sweeping and pack skating and, for some of our Freshies, it was the first time they were allowed to make contact with another skater. We also played a couple rounds of a little game we like to call “Asshole”, which involves everyone skating in a pack and two or three skaters basically making assholes of themselves – bumping people’s wheels, sprawling in front of skaters so they have to get out of the way, stopping suddenly, skating in the wrong direction, etc.
The smiles and giggles were plentiful and it felt really uplifting to see the ladies having a great time out there, enjoying the learning process and getting to know their future teammates. I found that by the end of the practice, my cheeks hurt a little from grinning so much…of course, that could have been from the black eye I acquired in last weekend’s bout!!!
One of the best parts of the entire night was at the very end of the practice when all the ladies were taking their gear off and they were all sitting around, yakking as though they’d known each other forever. This is the first week that I have seen this happen since the new intake began in October. Perhaps it was the hours they had just spent all touchy-feely that had led to a new rapport between them. Whatever it was, it made me feel all warm and gooey inside and, for a few seconds, I felt sad that I wouldn’t see them again until January.
The gloom quickly passed as I started to pack up my own gear and looked down at the Christmas present some of the ladies in our league gave me. The present was totally RAD and I LOVE IT, but the part that touched me the most was the note that came with it from one of the kindest, most caring ladies I’ve ever known, Bangers’n Smash.
Here is what it reads:
So one evening I was perusing Derby gear online and I came across this shirt! I immediately thought of you and bought it on the spot to give you for a Christmas/thanks for getting me off my ass gift.
I then thought it might be nice to have the Freshies that started with me to sign it as well. As I began contacting them to meet up with me to sign, I started to get requests from a ton of league members who also wanted to be part of giving this gift to you!
I opened it up to everyone you’ve coached, supported or just was a friend to and the response was huge! I want you to know that this league LOVES you!! Without you it wouldn’t be what it is, and I wouldn’t be what I am now either.
There are many members who I didn’t manage to meet up with, whose names should also be on here. This is just a small representation of the women whose lives you’ve helped change! I wanted to make sure that you knew how many of us contribute our success to your coaching and the time you put in for us. You’re the best!! Thanks for everything you do!!!
Kerry’s note made me tear up while giggling because I was thinking, If only she knew how many of these women have helped me and changed my life – made me recognize my inherent weaknesses, made me stronger and more resilient, made me start caring about people again (as I lost that part of myself when Cora died), made me a better coach by making me realize I have to be more flexible, more understanding, more motivating and, well, more human.
The simple truth is that if I’ve changed women’s lives for the better by being their coach or their friend, they have had the same effect on me and I’m grateful for every moment of the learning and changing – even when it sucks ass crackers.
So, thank you to all of the ladies who support me, approve of my coaching style, hate me sometimes for pushing them so hard (:)) but do the work anyway and thank me afterward…and to all of the others who oppose me, dislike me, and resent me for doing and saying the things I do and say! You can’t have the Yin without the Yang and I fully embrace them both!
I’ll see you all in January. Roll on!
And check out my Christmas Prezzie from the gang!