2022 has not started the way many of us anticipated. The surge of the highly contagious variant Omicron has thrown a wrench in many plans. It has rekindled many of the feelings of 2020 and parts of 2021. In late spring and early summer of 2021 we felt hopeful, we saw the possibility of an end in sight, alas it was just a short- lived reprieve.
While the new variant is less deadly for a vaccinated person, it has really wreaked havoc on anxiety levels. The hope we once felt seems lost for good. Most now realize that this may never end and we must learn to live with it. Many have done what is asked for and are ready to enjoy their lives again without worry of serious illness, or the fear of spreading it to others, or even death.
Despite the challenges and concerns, your league is starting to play derby again. Some are jazzed, of course some are nervous but yearning for a chance to participate, and others are simply not ready.
I, a triple vaxxed, mostly responsible (I am not perfect) person, unfortunately caught COVID for the second time. I won’t lie, I felt that I had done everything asked of me and yet still contracted the virus almost exactly a year after my first positive test. I will be truthful in saying that until another variant arises, I feel safer now. I will not assume I cannot test positive for a third time but I do believe in my antibodies for now. So for me, going out and doing things isn’t as anxiety-inducing as they were pre-vaccine. But I understand how others are feeling, and you have every right to feel how you feel — how you individually want to handle this virus.
I offer the following thoughts and suggestions for returning to derby:
Most leagues that have started back up or are about to start up are taking the required up to date precautions. Vaccines are required, or a negative test before every meet-up. We have learned that breakthrough cases happen and tests can provide a false negative but this is the best anyone can do for now.
Masks requirements are also a great way to reduce spread. Have you exercised in a mask? I went to spin class for months and spun in a mask, and . . . IT IS NOT EASY! Masks are tough for some, not everyone is comfortable wearing one while exercising. If this is the case for you, then you may have to wait to return to play.
Holy crap other people!
I’m an extrovert, tried and true, so being back around people is exhilarating for me, but I am married to an introvert so I am witness to their anxiety about small and large crowds. This can also be a factor in your decision to get back on the track.
While some have really used this time to get fit, many have not done a damn thing and that’s ok. So feeling nervous about moving your body, skating, and full contact are all valid reasons for not wanting to return.
Maybe you took up pickle ball or park skating and have fallen out of love with derby. What if you worry that you won’t be as passionate this time around?
What if I forgot everything I know? This question is extremely valid. You spent 1000s of hours skating and playing for it to all get swept out from under you in 1 day for 2 years. Reminder that everyone is in the same position as you. When thinking back to those beginning days of derby, cringing at yourself about what you endured to become who you are today is not a memory any of us want, but it’s what we need. Hard work pays off but it’s not easy. You have to get your mind set to essentially start over. But this time your progress should move faster, “it’s like riding a bike.”
For those who will transition easily back to playing, please remember that others will not be as comfortable. They cannot understand you nor you them, but what we need is empathy, patience and gratitude for the opportunity to play again.
-Jenn Pillow aka Rolli to most, Cannoli to some