Overcome Bummers

I've been skating with the league for a while. Why can't I skate as well as so-and-so?
Every skater has at some point compared herself to someone else in her league. Unless you have an identical twin, wearing identical gear, who has skated for exactly the same number of seconds in her lifetime, it's pointless to compare yourself to anyone else.

We all learn at different speeds. It may take you months to master how to perform an effective crossover, while your teammate who could barely skate a week ago can now do great crossovers and skate backwards. But if you compare yourself to her, you'll end up feeling like a loser. Once you fall into the self-loathing mindset in derby, it can snowball to the point that you're no longer having fun. Don't let that happen.

Becoming a good skater takes work. Becoming a great skater takes hard work, sacrifice and time. Your immediate goal should be to do the best you can at every practice – not to perform as well as so-and-so.

Most great skaters are doing something in addition to coming to practice. Maybe they're going to open skate sessions, or jogging, or riding their bike to work everyday. If your goal is to become a top-tier skater, then you'll have to make some sacrifices. So figure out what your goals are, and then be realistic about the time and effort it will take to achieve them. It won't happen overnight. And depending on your skill level, it may not happen this season.

I didn't make the roster. I am sad. Should I quit?
So you've had your first taste of rejection. And it's making your throat feel funny - like, you can't swallow quite right. You're wondering if you totally suck at derby and should quit now. No, you should not quit. You've already invested a lot of time - and money - in this sport. You could sell your gear, but you can't get that time back. So you might as well stick with it.

Assuming you've joined a league that's been around for a bit, many people are competing to be one of the 14 skaters who will hopefully lead your team to victory. Ask for feedback from your coach or a veteran skater about what you skills you need to work on in order to make a roster. Ideally, that's a question you should ask before a roster is chosen. Know what the expectations are, and strive to meet them.

Don't start mentally picking apart the roster, making a list of reasons why you would've been a better choice than so-and so (because we don't compare ourselves to others now, right?). Your coach or coaches had a good reason for assembling that roster. You may never know all the reasons each skater was chosen, but if you ask, you could at least learn why you were not.