“I want to play roller derby.” I couldn’t believe I’d said it out loud.  I wanted to take it back, go back to the girl I was before I wanted anything hard.  But it was the truth and when I realized how much work it would take to get me from zero to derby girl, I was scared as all hell. 

I quit soccer, softball, cheerleading, band camp, college, and more jobs than you can shake a stick at.  I quit because I thought I couldn’t, because I wasn’t strong, wasn’t fast enough, and didn’t have enough coordination, endurance, patience or time.  I was ready to quit before I started.   Then something very important happened. 

Someone said, “You can’t” So I got skates and pads and joined a team.

Someone said, “You’ll never…” And with a rebel gleam in my eyes, I tried.

Someone said, “You aren’t…” So I pushed myself harder than ever before.

Then after more than a year of trying, someone said, “You did it!” And I looked back at all my hard work, all the days I could have given up, and I couldn’t believe my ears when I said, “I did it.  I play roller derby!” 

Every derby girl has one thing in common- she doesn’t give up, she can’t.  Learning to play the game is hard, training is hard, practicing three times a week is hard, staying fit is hard, realizing you aren’t even halfway there is hard, making the roster is hard, controlling your pre-bout nerves is hard…but quitting, that’s easy. 

For every new skater that joins our team there are at least ten more who say they want to play, but never made it to a practice. The truth is they can’t do it, because no matter how much they want it they aren’t willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get there.  When you cross that threshold, when you commit yourself to training, when you show up, you’ve already separated yourself from those who can’t.  

Today’s lesson: Yes, you can.  In fact, you are the only one who can.  No one else can make you into a derby girl.  The only time you fail in derby is when you give up.  So, don’t stop moving your feet, practicing, challenging yourself, and never stop believing that you can be anything you want.