I had this dream where the world was about to end and this huge spaceship was filling up the horizon and it was the future so you can imagine all the buildings were sleek and tall. Everyone was about to die and then I saw this tiny little fish. Only it wasn't a fish since it was swimming in the sky, not water...anyway it was swimming and somehow I knew- This thing is the messenger. And somehow- I guess since it was my dream- I got to be all in charge of everything. The little fishy alien squished it's way right up to me and blurted out that the big thing in the sky about to kill everyone was it's mom. I hysterically screamed- "TELL HER TO STOP!!!" I pointed and commanded the thing to high-tail it back to the ship and make waves! It pouted and looked at the sky then back to me and shrugged saying, "No, I can't do that... I'm too small. " I was furious at the stupid alien fish thingy. How, I struggled to imagine, could you see the end of the world approaching and not even try to stop it?! I woke up still shaking my head. It bothered me all day. I thought of all the ways I should have killed the little bastard. I shook my head weeks later- even today- wondering what the hell that was supposed to mean.

Well that's interesting.

The first "specialist" I saw about my knee was pretty wimpy. The doctor and two of her interns crowded around my knees, frowning, pushing and pulling and talking code for "I don't know." I left with no idea what was wrong with me and a list of excersizes I was sure were actually meant to piss me off. They were inner leg lifts and a few stretches. How the fuck am I ever going to play roller derby again with this sorry excuse for rehab?? I was pissed. Ice. Elevate. Be pissed. Ice. Elevate... But I'm persistant.

I went to a fancy knee center- with a real gym inside it. They specialize in knees AND sports injuries. AND they took a bunch of x-rays. It was fancy. I waited in a little room on a little bed covered with a thin sheet of paper that stuck to my now atrophied thighs. I was trying to guess at what he might tell me. I tried to prepare myself not to burst into tears if he said my knees had taken all they could handle and derby was no longer an option. Is this the end? My shoulders sagged and I must have looked pathetic when he burst through the door.

A few minutes later, after my legs had been suffeciently man handled and he'd shared a few quizical looks with his accompanying therapist and a few gutteral grunts, the doctor spoke. And his first question wasn't about what I couldn't do. He wanted to know what I'd been doing to strengthen the muscles around my knee.

I was surprised. The other doctors had said to ice and elevate, do a few lame stretches (while watching House) but otherwise no "pushing it" was ordered. I told him I'd been biking to work a few days a week 13.5 miles each way. He shrugged. "Is that flat land then? Or are you really working hard?"he asked suspiciously. I smiled. I already liked him.

I took the stairs down to the parking lot sporting a seriously goofy grin. I sent my derby wife an all caps text with about ten exclamation points-for safe measure. And as I setteled in to my daily commute I started thinking of which gym I'd be going to, what machines to use, what my goals would be, and then... why hadn't I been doing these things months ago?! What had changed?

It's so wild that such a small thing- like a few good words from a doctor- can change everything. Well, that's fucking interesting...man.

You can change everything by changing your mind. If you believe it, it's already the truth. So go ahead and try it out. Next time you start to feel like you should just coast off to the side and maybe sit down for a second, maybe take a breather... check this Handy Index of Excuses and follow the prescription.

I'm Tired
Play smarter. Take big deep breaths. And stop whining- Everyone is tired! This is Roller derby!

I Need Water
Yeah. And are you going to die of thirst before this drill is over? Think about kids in Haiti. Maybe they're thirsty too. But do they stop in the middle of drills to go get water?

I'm gonna PUKE!
Cool man. Remember to hydrate and get right back in, we need a jammer.

I need to stretch.
Ok. In fact, why don't we all just stretch. And we'll take off our skates and get mats. We can put on Moby and we'll call it Yoga. ...no, but really though. Stretch what you need to stretch. But do it with the quickness, we're down a man.

I'm having an off day.
I'm having an "off" life. That's the reason I play derby. This is your time off from everything else. So whatever's on your mind, get over it and get in the game.

I've got a hang-over.
Such is the life of a rollergirl. Roller girls all over the world got drunk last night. There, I said it. Now you can use that thought as a tiny consolment. and Hydrate.

I have a headache/ cold sore/ runny nose/ stomach virus/ diarrhea...yuk./ halitosis/ backache/ sore throat/etc.
So, are you in or out? Because if you're in, you're going to have to let that all fade into the nether regions of your gigantic brain. You can do anything you want. Even with diarrhea. and Hydrate.

I have the flu.
Fucking go home! NOW! Before you get us all sick! You fucking lunatic. ...but I dig the commitment, dude. Next time, call in.

My endurance sucks.
Wonder why. Here's a news flash- building your endurance actually! (Literally!) physcially! HURTS! But don't worry, it won't hurt as bad next time.

I'm out of shape. I'm too big. I'm too weak. I'm too slow. I'm too small....I'll never make a roster.
Not with that attitude. Decide not to give in to excuses. You should know by now there are no good ones. You either do, or you don't. So put your mouthguard in, and go knock someone down!