But it seems like the stuff that really tied that whole experience together was spending a sunny afternoon at a beautiful park with my daughter.
A little backgrounder: I bailed on the camp midway through day 2. I’m still really fresh meat (on my skates since April).
I had only done things like hitting for about 90 minutes total. My transitions are sketchy at best.
But those skills were assumed in a mixed skill camp.
I paid for the 3-day camp experience. I went all day on Friday. Needed a new helmet for Saturday (because I got pounded pretty hard a few times) but still stuck in it for the morning.
By the first class after lunch, I was totally fried. Lack of sleep (from being in single-parent mode for the weekend) plus information overload caused my wires to be crossed. I was all over the place. Hell – one girl even called me out after that last class for barking out to my scrimmage line to speed the pack up, despite the fact that it was OUR jammer who was the only one on the track (if you don’t read derbese, that’s pretty much the opposite thing you’d want to do, unless you’ve bet on the other team under the table. For some reason my brain read her BLUE helmet cover as a coloured shirt despite her clearing being dressed in black. Holy stupidity).
I took that as a signal that I was done – and looking at the other classes of the camp, I probably wouldn’t have gotten much out of them since they’re on a way higher level than I’m currently at.
Anyways, I decided to reclaim my motherly guilt (given I had schlepped my tummy-troubled daughter on my parents) and do something we’d both like: go to Prairie Winds Park.
If you can’t tell from the photo, there’s a wading pool and a playground park. We spent nearly 4 hours romping about between the two. I just watched her, and in observing her, it seemed the lessons I learned over the weekend were all tied together. She taught me some very important lessons.
The water is cold, but you’ll get used to it.
Prairie Winds is a wading pool. No heated water. The day was nice enough for it, but the water was pretty cold.
I felt it, I hesitated. I stepped back, and decided to let her play as I watched from the perimeter.
She took her time (a good hour or so) before she’d even let the water come up above her knees. But let me assure you, by the time I changed her out of her bathing suit, she was soaked head to toe. She got comfortable and by the time she was done, she was laying, sitting and splashing her way around.
It’s still like that for me with derby. I’m still adjusting my skates (and still oogling plates) but I’m still slowly getting used to the cold: the way my muscles react to hard skating, the way my shins pain me, they way my elbow always sticks out after a shoulder check, the way my back hates my skating form.
I’m still getting used to the cold.
Sometimes, your body just isn’t ready yet.
Every time we go to the park, she always climbs. She climbs all over the place. And she loves to try her hand at this particular curved ladder, no matter which park we’re at.
And every time, she gets near the apex and as it starts to go from climbing up to climbing across, she climbs back down.
I remember that this curved monkey bars thing elude me for a long time as a child too.
She’s a lot like me. I loved to climb, but when things got lateral on those sketchy steel bars, my arms were not strong enough to support me horizontally, my legs and body were too short to allow me to climb forward, and I didn’t have the coordination to move from climbing up to virtually crawling across a set of parallel steel bars.
Her body isn’t ready yet to get from the bottom of the bars to the platform on the other side. She’s too short, she’s not strong enough and she doesn’t have the coordination. Not yet, anyways. She will. It doesn’t deter her from climbing as far as she can climb, processing a little, trying something a the top, and climbing back down.
She’ll get it eventually. In the meantime, she’ll keep going as far as she can go.
As adults, we’ve been generally walking and moving about without much difficultly for a rather long time. We take for granted it took some time for our bodies to be ready to do the things that seem easy for others to do.
I learned a LOT of new skills and techniques at camp – most of which build on things like transitioning. I’m not there yet, but I’ll still get as close as I can to them. I’ll practice them on the carpet in my skates, I’ll practice them in shoes. I’ll build the muscle memory to ensure that my body can do those moves.
I’ll get my body ready so that when I’m rolling on my skates, I can go as far as my body will take me since my mind already knows where to go.
Getting the job done isn’t always pretty (and it is usually ugly).
My daughter climbs platforms. They’re about 18″ high. She’s about 2’11″. Her climbing up onto each platform to get to where she’s standing in the above photo is pretty ugly. Her white dress is actually a dirty grey colour all across the front because of said climbing.
It’s not pretty. That’s ok. It’s getting her where she wants to go.
I need to accept I’ll look like a crazy flailing fool. Lots. And that’s expected. And that’s ok. I know I can stay upright on my skates doing boring stuff – I should now be ok with flailing and falling doing exciting things.
You can ask for help.
There’s a hill in the background of the pictures of my climbing daughter. It’s a big hill. Particularly if you’re 2 1/2.
I asked her as the sun began going down if she wanted to climb the hill. She said yes.
We made it 1/2 way up and it got too steep for her. She asked me to carry her. I did.
It wasn’t shameful for her – it was natural. For me, it too was natural. It was clear she wasn’t going to make it on her own. And I wanted to get her to the top – I wanted to see how she’s see the world from there.
I’m really independent. I have a hard time asking for help. Even when I’m in pain or when I’m struggling, I’ll usually “tough it out”.
When you’re among trusted people – people who genuinely want to help you, it’s ok to ask for help. It’ll be natural for them to help you and they wont think less of you.
So here I am with tons of techniques I can’t quite use yet from the bootcamp. I’ll build in what I can, bank stuff I can’t use now for later, and look forward to more Monday freshmeat practice.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the burn on my thighs for carrying a 30lb baby up a big steep hill.