I had a conversation with my mom today (why is it that you have really smart parents and don’t realize it until you’re living 1,000 miles away? Sorry, familia) about how everything in my life eventually (or immediately) comes back to derby. We were talking about my job. I’m applying for a promotion. It’s a long shot, and I don’t expect to get it, but last year, I tried out for the A team in derby and didn’t expect to get it. I was right; I didn’t get it, but I impressed the hell out of my coaches and teammates and I think that my confidence improved as a direct result of that night. I did something that terrified me, and even though I didn’t make the team, I would never call that experience a failure.
I am not scared to apply for this job. We’ve been practicing hard the last couple of weeks, and we just got back from winter break. I’ve asked myself, will being rejected for this position hurt as much as getting knocked on my ass by a hard-hipped blocker in practice? No, it will not. Is applying for this job the scaries thing I’ve ever done? No, it’s not even as scary as trying out for the A team.
I have never really lacked confidence. I’ve been quiet at times, and I’ve gotten quieter as I’ve gotten older, but in the past I’ve always been able to get over my fears in order to try something new. Even so, derby has given me self-confidence that I never dreamed of. Before I graduated from college, I was not an athletic person and becoming an athlete (which I consider myself to be now, however much I might fail) has been the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. I never, ever expected this from myself. So applying for a job, even one beyond my scope? It’s not as scary as facing a wall of A-team blockers and hitting them as hard as I can.
I still have a lot to work on in derby. I’m working on becoming more aggressive. At practice on Monday, I imagined myself as the most aggressive skater in our league and tried to do what I thought she would. It improved my game. It also gave me a better sense of what I needed to work on, mostly fearlessness. I can be fearless when I know what I’m doing, so I also need to improve my skills.
The thing is, even just an hour of pretending to be like the most aggressive skater in our league has made me more aggressive in the rest of my life. I’m applying for a job that I wouldn’t have considered before. Sure, I may not get it, but I will have made people notice me. I may not get it, but I hope that someone will at least think, well she’s got guts. What I can do in derby, I can do in life as well.
We have a game this weekend. I am submitting my application for this job tomorrow. In both cases, I might end up crushed. But will I have learned something? You bet I will.