Sunday, December 12, 2010

Derby Journey

Last night I watched Canberra's representative team the Vice City Rollers take on and thrash the Sydney City Assassins. It was an epic bout for many reasons; a record-setter for derby attendance in Canberra, with over 3000 tickets sold - and the bout being held at the AIS Arena (Australian Institute of Sport)! But it was epic most of all because this is the first time Canberra have won against Sydney. The girls played so beautifully as a team, and though Sydney's defense was still A-grade, our packwork ensured that the VCR jammers got through the pack again and again. It was a very inspirational game!

And quite frankly I need all the inspiration I can get right now - today will be our first scrimmage session with the big kids.

From the time we started as Fresh Meat on March 16 this year we have always been the newbies, and though we all train together on Tuesday nights we usually split into star levels for any contact drills. We've certainly never had full-blown scrimmage with these girls, but as newly-minted Orange Stars the time has finally come - and I for one am a wee bit terrified!

It's funny to think that this time last year I was pumped about learning to skate but feeling a bit ambivalent about the contact aspect of roller derby. I'd already ordered my Reidell R3s, but when they arrived I really was hard-pressed to stand up in them! Now I am about to play with and against girls who have been skating longer and harder than me - many of them on our rep team. What a journey!

It looks like our Carnival of Carnage (debut bout) will be in late February next year, and then our intake will be drafted into the League's 4 teams. I am still terrified of breaking bones. And this is not as unlikely as it sounds - in the last 2 months we've had two broken collarbones, a broken wrist, a broken nose and a broken leg (in that order!). There have also been some broken ribs in the mix. So when I tell you that I am a bit scared of lining up with the big kids you can maybe see why!

But part of the derby thing is feeling that fear and, if not overcoming it, at least dealing with it. So this afternoon I'll line up with and against some of our hardest hitters - Aunty Aggro, The Cleaver and the Dalai Slam'er. But I'll also be playing alongside derby legends like Dr Hell, Bambi von Smash'er and DeNature, so that's gotta be worthwhile! All these women have the potential to break my bones, I'm just hoping they'll choose not to!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Counting my blessings

It's that time of the year; thoughts turn to family and friends and we count our blessings, all while our material society reaches its consumer zenith in the form of CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.

This time last year my workmates pulled together and made a Xmas hamper so that C and I would have some treats over the holidays. We weren't destitute by any means, but things were tight (especially by Canberra standards!), with Clinton studying full-time and the two of us living off my APS 3 salary. But we did alright - our rent was always paid and so were the bills. We had everything we needed, all we had to forego were the little luxuries. God knows, there were (still are) plenty of people less fortunate than us.

This time of year always gets me thinking how lucky I am. I think in a way I am fortunate to be aware of how truly blessed I am. It helps put shit into perspective. Imagine thinking constantly of all you didn't have, all that you wanted. Plenty of people have no choice; but I'm pretty sure plenty more just can't see that the crap they want, the misfortune they imagine, is nothing more than a societal burr demanding we worship whitegoods, fancy cars, and an assortment of other nonsense.

I got a letter from the mother of my new sponsor child (the former one, Rene, turned 18 and so left the program) the other day, expressing so much gratitude for the fact that I was sponsoring her little boy. It really brought home to me that the small amount I contribute, which is really not much money in the scheme of things, was worth so much to her and her family. One thing I was proud of C and I for achieving over the past 18 months of being an on-again, off-again single income household was that we both kept up our sponsor child payments.

Anyway, C has now landed a permanent APS 4 as a graduate at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which is bloody brilliant. I'm feeling absolutely flush - today I ordered a case of Tasmanian wine, and after work went to an exhibition/sale of handmade resin jewellery and bought what seems like kilos of the stuff! It's kind of fun to be so indulgent for a change. But I will not forget how lucky I am.

I have all I want, and all that I need. A home, a man who loves me, family, friends, satisfying work. I might not have as much stuff or money as a lot of people, but I'm certainly better off than most. It's always nice to take some time out to think about that, to savour the abundance of life, because things can always change in a heartbeat, and you never know. Better to realise how lucky you are while you have it, rather than when - if - it is all stripped from you by the vagaries of fortune.

It's better to think of all you have, rather than what you don't. Many blessings to you all this Christmas.