Thursday, December 27, 2012

Non Derby Related? A Story From Home

Everything to me, is roller derby related. But this is mostly just story time, I guess. It's the story of me flipping the fuck out over a teenaged girl holding a sign outside of Rite Aid, yesterday.

I must warn you in advance: this is an emo blog post! 

So I'm riding my beach cruiser to Rite Aid and there's a sweet faced girl, curly red hair, bright blue eyes, freckles, and dressed like a nor-cal-bro huddled on the ground, holding a sign that says "Bet you $1 you'll read this sign." 

You've seen those before, right?

Well, I didn't even know what was happening before I was asking this girl a thousand questions.
How old are you? Why are you here? You're young and healthy, why don't you have a job?

And before I could let her think I was another concerned adult trying to make her feel bad:
I'm not judging you, I'm really just trying to understand.

She just looked like a Junior Doll to me. Someone's daughter. Full of youth and promise, what the fuck was she doing here, begging for money??? It fucked me up, and while she told me her story (15, kicked out, sleeping under a bush), I just started crying, which seemed to confuse both of us.

For the record: I don't believe anything a desperate person says. I've been in survival mode before, when I was her age. You'll say anything and do anything to get your needs met. So it wasn't her story I was upset by, because I was pretty sure she was making it all up.

It was that fucking sign. Who's been influencing this girl, or not, to believe that she can get more from other people than she can make happen for herself??? I just felt so awful that no one ever empowered her to want more for herself than that.

By the time our interaction was done, she had 20 of my dollars, 3 of my hugs, a copy of Living the Law Of Attraction, and 30 minutes of my undivided attention. I asked if I could sit with her and chat for a bit?

I had a question for her that she seemed to be answering for the first time: What are your dreams?
She has a beautiful dream: to be an artist. To ride around in an RV with a dog and paint supplies, traveling and painting. I cried again when she shared this with me. She's probably never met such a big, tattooed cry baby.

Why was this so emotional for me?

It's real the reason I quit playing sports when I was her age: because I'd left home, was already working a job and paying rent, and bending over backwards to please my friend's family so they wouldn't kick me out. And then, when I moved to California, it's because my Aunt Susan was taking me in. What would have happened to me if she didn't?

Where would I be without the power of my own self-reliance and self-convictions, in addition to this outside help? Where would I be if my destiny relied entirely on the generosity of others?? Or completely without the benefit of it??

These are the kinds of things we talked about. I get being a purist, I get loving what you love so much that you don't want to do anything that isn't love. I believe that's how people are supposed to live! You're supposed to do what you love! But here was a young idealist: willing to do nothing else.

And I found myself saying something I probably needed to hear as much as she did:

If you work full time at a job, part time on your passion, eventually you'll get to work full time on your passion, part time on your job. (Jim Rohn quote, and then I heard myself adding) And when you've reached the point of mastery, you'll be a full time artist. But you have to master it first, before you get to live the lifestyle of a master. And for that, you've gotta work!

I bargained with her, I've given you 20 times what that sign was asking. What am I asking for in return? Not for me, I may never see you again. What am I asking you to do for yourself?

She knew I wanted her to tear that sign up, get a fucking job and take care of herself like she deserved. 

I have never, and will never tell a homeless person to "Get a job." That's abhorrent behavior. I don't tell adults what to do. But this wasn't an adult, this was the future. I felt like how I handled this situation was very important. When I left, I hugged her again, got on my bike, as I rode off, called back:

I'm not trying to save you, because I don't believe you're lost. I just really hope I've been able to inspire you. Have an amazing day, and an amazing life!

And when she called to me, "Thank you, Merry Christmas!" I cried again. Because I think I really reached her. And if everything I ever went through in my life was just leading up to that one moment of inspiring that one girl, then I'd say all the pain of my past was more than worth it.

It made me realize that I have totally become the kind of person my teenaged self would be inspired by. It made me realize that by hustling, working, AND pursuing my passion doggedly, I am my own hero.

So, I'm not sure if she did more for me, by gifting me that realization, or if I did more for her, by being someone an idealistic, rebel teenager can look up to and relate to. (something I never had.) Either way it's a gift. A gift that I am honored, and humbled and yes, crying at the thought of, receiving. So I share that gift with you, along with the wish that you're doing the work to live your dreams, too. Whatever they may be.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review of Agility For Roller Derby DVD

I don't usually post reviews on my blog, I'm more of an article-writing kind of gal. But this review comes from Australia. I asked the first round of people to purchase Agility For Roller Derby via digital download to send me their honest reviews.

The thing about asking for feedback is... I always do it, and I always cringe a little bit, ready for anything! But the truth is, all the reviews that have come back have been pretty epic.

From Shell Bent, Sydney Australia:

"The roller derby community worldwide is first and foremost ever richer and more blessed to have Bonnie D. Stroir, as this groundbreaking instructional DVD (alongside all her other instructional gems) consistently demonstrates. Bonnie's talent for clear, effective, succinct, accessible instruction is the best I've observed in any industry, let alone roller derby. As a professional information designer myself, with a masters degree in making complex information accessible and educational, I am broadly exposed to the rife lower standards out there, in any field, when it comes to 

a) instruction and 
b) ACTION on that instruction/information... 

Action that can be successfully internalized and literally accessed/repeated by the empowered learner.The reach and effectiveness of it is priceless - it just keeps on giving, every time I watch it. 

Derby is intimidating to someone at my early stage of progression, and I have such fear, awe and respect for those simply awesome A-league stars who make it all seem so easy when they're out there on the track - but Bonnie goes one step beyond that, and skillfully breaks down the foundations of those 'rad skills', to a point where one's goals become more realistic, practical, navigable and less scary. I feel so positive and inspired each time I watch it, and just so energized to be on this roller derby journey even more as a result (more patient with where I'm at, and more confident I can incrementally get to the level I want). Thanks to Bonnie, it's become that extra bit doable. Thank you so much Bonnie - you ROCK!"

This is how I always hoped it felt to be coached by me, but you never really know until it's put so plainly in print like that! It was kind of crazy to see all of my intentions for the DVD spelled out in one review. I hope you get a copy of your own and also love it. xoxo

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Best Way To Help Yourself....

Not sure where the quote came from, but I've heard that best way to help yourself is to help others. Or, as Zig Zigler put it: "If you help enough people get what they want, you'll get everything you want."

Such has been the mantra of my time as a travelling Coach. I've held nothing back, given everything my strategic brain can think up about the game. More importantly, though... I've shared my own love and passionately inspired heart for roller derby.

Cuz, you see... The sport is the sport. It's neutral. There's skills to improve on, you get better at them. There's strategies to work out, you get used to them. It's the relationships with people, and yourself, that make or break you. 

I've been both, made and broken. And, through a bunch of unconscious habits, actually damaged myself quite a bit in the process. Healing, and reprogramming, I take one day at a time.

This time spent helping others get what they want/need was also a way of exorcising my own personal demons. Help enough people treat themselves kindly, maybe the biggest puppy kicker on earth can learn to love herself kindly, too. We can work on it together.

It's been an incredible journey, thank you to everyone I've met along the way! Thank you to everyone who's purchased one of my MP3s about these lessons I've learned.

But, for me, the time for talking is over. Time to put all the knowledge to work! Expect much less frequent blogs in the future... If you're wondering where I'll be... it'll most likely be the Doll House, at any given moment.

Comebacks sound glamorous, but anyone who's had to do it knows how humbling and grueling it can be. Give me 3 months, and you're gonna see a better version of me than ever existed.

Stronger is one thing. Wiser and stronger? I get goosebumps just thinking about it! I'm gonna go get to work. Let's both remember what's really going on: the sport is neutral.

It's how we treat ourselves and each other that truly determines the quality of our experience. xoxo

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jealousy vs Inspiration

So... this is definitely not the first time I've written or talked about jealousy in roller derby, and it probably won't be the last, either.


Because we women still have a lot to learn in the "empowerment" department. Empowerment doesn't work one way, it works in all directions. If you want it, you have to give it. If you give it, you also have to receive it. (Graciously)

It's that whole, "what goes around, comes around" thing, in action.

I have a quote for you that people hearing The Puppy Talk on this tour have enjoyed:
"Jealousy is inspiration that just doesn't know how to be yet."

I've had people be mean and jealous towards me in person, and then when I see them a few years later... they're acting just like the aspects that they hated on. Both personality wise, and in skate style.

I point this out, not from a condemning perspective, but from an understanding one: I get it. If someone has what you want, you feel bad for not having it.

But just imagine that a brand new skater was watching you do crossovers.

Reaction A: They tell a friend what a show off you are
Reaction B: They comment on how good you are at that skill, and ask you for help.

Would you help someone with Reaction A? Would you help someone with Reaction B?

My point is that it is totally possible to train yourself to skip the jealous reaction and go right to the Inspired Action. Praise, and ask for help.

Jealousy knocks both parties down. Inspiration lifts both up.

I think sometimes, on an individual level, we forget how much power each and every one of us has to effect that passion in all of us. What you do matters, and what you say to each other matters. 

I'm not a life coach, I'm a roller derby coach. I can't say what's best to live "normal life," because I don't even know what that means anymore. But I do know that this sport has the potential to effect how the entire world views women.

And, given that opportunity... wouldn't it be awesome if we lived up to that chance, and rose up for that occasion? Lifting ourselves and each other up... What could be more inspiring than that?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yes, There Is Crying In Roller Derby

One thing about being me is that I cry a lot. Not sad crying, that's actually kind of rare. But passion tears, inspired tears, happy tears, and breakthrough tears.

And maybe it's because I'm so connected to my inner cry-baby that, often, people end up crying around me that usually don't. I can tell they usually don't because they either:

a) tell me, "I never cry!"
b) say to themselves, "There's no crying in roller derby!"

Who are you kidding with that worn out old phrase? Of course there's crying in roller derby! Thank your lucky stars there's crying in roller derby!!!

Roller derby is not, I repeat, is NOT an 80's sports movie with fictional characters. It's a REAL sport with REAL people. Real people are better than movies, you know why? CUZ THEY'RE REAL!!!!!

I won't belabor the point, but I'm just sayin... if you gotta cry, cry. And get it together afterwards. But don't tell yourself not to feel things when you're a passionate beast who's living their passion.

Crying is what real people do, openly, when they feel real emotions. What could possibly be stronger, and more beautiful than that?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Keeping The Love Alive

Last night at a camp in Ottawa, a skater asked me how I've managed to keep my enthusiasm for roller derby, over the years. If you'd like to know I'll share a few of my strategies with you.

Because it's definitely NOT because things have always been easy, or that things have always been fun. I don't keep the love alive because everyone loves me, plenty of people haven't over the years. I'm not still in love with roller derby because every aspect of it exists just to please me, I'm here because I want to be.

One way I've kept my spirits high is by taking breaks. If there's one aspect of derby that I can let go of for a while, I do. If the love dies, I go away until it comes back. It always does.

Another is by having reasons bigger than me to succeed. If  I promise myself that for everything I accomplish, I'll empower others along the way... Then there's sufficient fuel to keep the fire going on the hard days. I think about all the people I could potentially inspire, just by striving to reach my own potential.

The thought of being a good example to someone else gets me through the days where I'm not selfish enough to do it just for me. 

And most importantly: I stay because it keeps making me a better person. Every time I get over another mental or physical hurdle, every time I learn how to understand another personality type (sometimes through conflict), every time I level up to a more evolved version of me, I think...

Goddamn, where the fuck would I be without roller derby??? 

I know that not everyone is in this for self-improvement. But if you want to know what keeps me excited about the present, reflective on the past, and anticipating a bright future in roller derby.... That's some of it.

Day-to-day maintenance advice, more specifically, can be heard on my Happy Place Maintenance MP3.


And here's an example of how reflections of roller derby have made me a better person, if you're in the mood for story time:

When I was a 22 year old beginner, I quickly lost all care for "the real world," and treated roller derby like my friend, lover, and full time job.

In other words, when other people were hanging out on a Friday night, I'd be skating in the train station parking lot. When other people were having lunch with a friend, I was studying roller derby's history. When other people were watching TV, I was wearing my skates in my apartment, practicing agility drills on the carpet, or going up and down the stairs in my skates.

Going to the post office, grocery store, work? On skates. If the business wouldn't let me in on skates, they didn't get my money. I'd find one that would.

Now, during this time period I was also getting hated on pretty regularly at practice for my rapidly growing skills. And I remembered snide remarks like, "Well, if I was 22 I'd be skating like that, too."

Being 22 definitely had very little to do with the fact that back then, the average roller derby player spent 2-4 hours a week on skates. And I spent closer to 22 hours/week on mine. I'm pretty sure people had no idea that I could hear their petty comments. Lord knows I've been very forgiving. I still see a few of those people from time to time, and have always treated them with respect. But I never forgot.

Instead of getting bitter, or quitting, I decided to be a better person for this experience. I'll be 32 this year, and when I see a younger skater come into derby and quickly advance through the ranks I do exactly what a confident, secure, and good role model should do: I praise them for their efforts.

Would I have known to do this without the negative experience? Or would I do the perfectly natural thing and just hate on the fresh face because I'm feeling insecure about my own self? Hard to say.

But I do know that learning to embrace awesome and love shiny is a lesson that's continued to bring good in my life, and keep me inspired over the years. So it was well worth learning, and would I do it all again to have that quality? Absolutely.

What if there's more incredible qualities like that on just the other side of my next derby challenge or conflict?? So you see, I don't stay just for the good times, or because I'm a masochist... It's because roller derby is the single most amazing catalyst for growth that could ever exist.

If you want to look at it that way. <3

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Frequencies and Wavelengths in Roller Derby

Last night when I was coaching, I talked about some things that you might be interested in.

If you've been following along, then you know I'm super into metaphysics and things of an other-worldly nature. Though I'm finding more practical, every day applications of these interests all the time.

In fact, there's pretty much no aspect of my life, strategy I coach, or talk I give that doesn't involve the word "energy." And I'm very delighted to say that people get it. Coming out of the metaphysical closet was the one of the best things I've done in roller derby, I believe.

So this subject of frequencies and wavelengths is another one I'd like to share.

Before giving the Puppy Talk, I give an over-the-top compliment like, "That was totally amazing and I am very proud of you." And the crazy thing is, most of the time, no one even hears it.

It's not because I say it quieter than most things, it's not because I'm not looking people in the eye when I say it... It's just that people who aren't on the wavelength of self-appreciation just don't recognize over-the-top-appreciation from others. Does not compute.

And this explains so many of my derby experiences, really. I remember getting sat down at a bar once by volunteers who said, "You don't appreciate your volunteers."

And I was like, "Hang on a sec, I THANK YOU ALL THE TIME! I even place my hand on your shoulder when I do it." I can be very touchy-feely, and you think you'd notice someone touching you and saying thank you....

Unless you're just not even on that frequency. Then it's like someone blowing a dog whistle in your ear. You notice that something's happening, but not really taking in what it is.

I've found positive use of frequencies in extreme focus. I played a game once where my team swore up and down that the team we were playing were screaming profane words at us the whole bout.

I believe them, but I didn't hear any of it. Not one mean word. Because I was so in the moment, I heard nothing but my own heartbeat and breathing. If that. It was one of my better games, and I was in such a focused frame of mind, that nothing outside of that wavelength even existed to me.

Interesting stuff, right?

I give the Puppy Talk, and the other Seminars I do, to give people the option to choose a different frequency. Just to make it available. Because it seems like a shame not to even hear when people say nice things. That's the type of thing that's worth tuning in for.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Roller Derby - Changing the Future

The video below is a little bit quiet, so I thought I'd write a little to go with it.

Did you ever dig through an older relative's old collection of family photos? See older generations of relatives you never knew, and find one that you think is amazing?

I totally believe that someday far in the future, some young person is going to find old pictures of you in your derby get-up and be in complete and total awe that they are related to someone that cool, brave, amazing, rad.

And it will inspire them to greatness. Someone who hasn't even been born yet, will look at you as a symbol of everything that is awesome about the world, and use that image to create more awesome.

Epic, right??

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Self Reliance In Roller Derby ~ A Tough Love Post

I'm sure there's a look of bewilderment on my face when skaters complain to me that their Coaches don't tell them how they can improve anymore.

Personally, I don't remember the last time anyone offered me help on my game, unsolicited. It may have been in 2004. If I want someone's feedback, I have to ask for it. And even then... It's very hard to find people who would actually give me any, even though I know... quite a few people in roller derby.

Is that sad, bad, or wrong? No. I think it's awesome that things have worked out this way. It may not be the easy road, but I've learned to be resourceful. And I think that's a gift that keeps on giving.

Make sure you're not a Spoiled Skater or Spoiled Coach. Please don't email someone and ask them how to do everything. Hack away at it first. Find your own way first, then ask for if there's any suggested adjustments. Ask EDUCATED QUESTIONS.

Here's a spoiled question:
Skater: "I just started jamming, any tips? I'll take whatever you've got."
Coach: "I just started coaching, what do I need to know? Any advice appreciated."

Here's some educated questions:
Skater: "I've watched your Seals and Sharks video, and been applying it to my jamming, and noticed that when I'm in the turns, slide out sometimes takes me from the middle to the deep water. Any tips on how to adjust the strategy to a slippery floor?"
Coach:"After listening to your MP3, Inspired Coaching, I've tried the method you suggested for doing X, and getting result Y. Am I missing a part of the process? Overall things are working, I just need help with this one adjustment."

If I've sent you to this blog post in response to your request, it's because you're asking for too much. Please ask yourself these questions first. Be resourceful, and then compare notes with me. I'm happy to compare notes with you.

But I'm not just going to give you a greatest hits of 9 years experience for free. You can download one of my MP3s for that!

Everyone who's at the top of their game has learned in small part from others, and in large part from making it up as they go along. 

Like I said in the last post, it's that I don't care, or don't want to help you. It's that I totally do!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Story From The Road

Right now I'm coaching in Australia, on a 2 month tour.

On the way to Australia, my flight had an emergency landing. Someone on-board had a medical issue and all 400 passengers had to spend a day in a hotel in Honolulu, HI so the flight crew could rest up after all the hub bub.

Would you believe there was complaining from the other passengers???

Most of them, actually, were complaining. I guess they just enjoy complaining, because I've been all over the world and STILL think Hawaii is the best real-life paradise the entire world has to offer!

I put my headphones in (positive speakers or happy music, typically) and grabbed my breakfast voucher. All 400 of us got them, but for some reason, only 5 of us saw the Starbucks off the beaten path to luggage claim...

The young man in front of me in line was doing the same thing I was. We were adding up totals and seeing just how many things we get from this Starbucks with the $15 voucher. We started comparing strategies, and continued talking as we made our way to the shuttle area.

He was Australian. A tall, blond and handsome, athletic dude, in his mid 20's. He had that star quality that people sometimes do. I asked him what he was doing in America.

He told me he was a semi-professional Australian Football player, trying out for the NFL and my whole body got goosebumps. I tried to keep my cool, (I tend to bounce around when I get excited) and after listening quietly to his story said, " Dude, I'm pretty intuitive, and have a feeling you're totally gonna make it!"

He beamed, didn't even blink at the "intuitive" part, and told me more about the try outs process.

As we were chatting and waiting for the shuttle, I noticed a guy in a business suit looking around. He had that lost look going on, so I smiled at him and nodded to the coffee in his hand, "Got your breakfast?"

He smiled back and chatted with me and The Athlete a bit. Then he led the two of us away from the shuttle line, explaining that he was getting a taxi and we could share it with him. His work would cover it, and then we could beat the crowd checking in to our hotel.

The "taxi" was actually a limo.

So I'm in a limo, with a future NFL player, and an Executive, in Hawaii and I think for just a second... WOAH, THIS IS KINDA CRAZY!   

But is it, really? Is it crazy that good things happen when you're always open to them? Is it SO CRAZY that when I choose to be positive, actively deny negative thinking, and be friendly with people, the results are also positive?

Turns out me and The Athlete (who I am quite sure is gonna be a big star in NFL in the next few years) both have birthdays in December, and both listen to positive speakers when the headphones are in.

This is one I hadn't heard of, The Athlete told me about him. I thought, What an awesome gift this has been! So I share it with you:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

3 Ways To Prevent Injuries

You know how people say "It's not if you get injured but when in roller derby."

What a fucking awful mantra to carry around! Please, if you've been known to say this, just stop. And start working on things that plant positive suggestions in your mind. Like:

1) Be More Agile
Agility is not as elusive as people make it out to be. It's just a matter of testing the boundaries of what feels safe and reasonable to do on skates, and then going just a little bit farther than that. Practiced in manageable amounts of scary, this can be an incremental and gradual process. 

Try this: Test the limits of what feels safe and normal for just a few minutes, every time your skates are on, and then get right back to what you'd normally be practicing. That way increasing your agility becomes a more integrated part of practice. Water breaks are a great time. Or while waiting for your turn at a drill. Practicing lots of transitions, stumbling and one footed feats especially.  There's also a DVD out now:

2) Get Strong and Flexible
Roller derby drills, practice, and games will build up certain muscles like your quads and lower back. But it does very little to work out other muscles that are needed to support your derby muscles. Like the muscle groups around your knees, hamstrings, inner thighs, glutes, and core. 

You need that stuff to be balanced and hold up all the derby muscles. Otherwise, it's like asking stilts to hold up a mansion. Put under pressure, they'd prefer not.

You know how you skip stretching and go right home after practice sometimes? (Or is it all the time?) That's doing your body a serious injustice. 5 minutes of stretching is better than no minutes. Just do it.

3) Enjoy Yourself and Pay Attention
There is danger in crashing into other people on wheels. If you can respect that, without letting that become a ruling fear, you'll be able to prevent all kinds of injuries.

ENJOY your time on skates, but don't have so much fun that you forget you're doing something that requires your complete and full attention.  

3 Resources:
1) Agility for Roller Derby DVD: by Bonnie D.
2) Roller Derby Workout

There's a difference between getting hurt and being injured. Bumps, bruises, scrapes... who cares. That stuff all makes you stronger. 

There are fluke accidents, for sure. But the staggering number of injuries happening now in roller derby are not because of how inevitable injuries are. It's because many of us didn't know there was a way to prevent a lot of that stuff.

But now... YOU KNOW! xoxo

Friday, April 6, 2012

I've Got a Very Big Stick

People have different ways in which they measure success in life.

Some are interested in spirituality, or popularity, others money, we all have our different drivers. For a very long time, my main driver has been, "What does it feel like to hang around me? Make sure that I feel good to be with."

But the truth is, I want it all. I have a VERY large stick by which I measure success. I want to be spiritually enlightened and physically beastly. I want to feel good to be around and I want to laugh my ass off every day. I want the body of a goddesss and the mind of genius. I understand it will take time reach both ends of this very large stick... but I still carry it around with me every day.

Someone asked me a couple blogs ago what my inspiration is. Here's the answer:

I'm inspired by the idea of being the best version of me that's possible. So... I'm just gonna do everything I can to see how awesome I can get in one lifetime.

You know how they say we only use 10% of our brains? I say fuck that. I've spent the last 10 years actively sculpting my mind, spirit and values. Now I'm sculpting my body and physical abilities.

I love that roller derby can be such a holistic catalyst/vehicle for all of that.

You just gotta grab those opportunities when you see them. You gotta grab those opportunities when you see them.Through the community you get to hone your social/human skills. (Nothing like learning a little conflict resolution to hone your emotional endurance!) Through the sport, your physicality is tested.

Will I ever be perfect? Nope! But... I will be inspired to get a little closer every day! xoxo

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just Breathe?

In training for the big comeback to derby, I've been researching/trying out a lot of new (to me)  fitness/training techniques pretty extensively. I always want to do things the best way possible.

There's one thing that keeps coming up, though, that's been super frustrating for a long time: that whole "breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth" thing was really starting to piss me off!

You see, friend, I've been blessed with a combination of some lovely Hungarian genetics (thank you, Grandpa) and a couple lucky punches (you know who you are, haha!) to the nose.

Basically, my nose leans very much to one side. Making breathing in through it very much not possible in cardiovascular, gasping-for-air situations.

I'm inexplicably aware of the term "deviated septum." But, unlike many of my Californian friends, I have a fear of doctors that outweighs my vanity by, like, a million percent! So a nose job is out of the question.

I was trying to regulate my breathing on the treadmill yesterday, and went for the in-nose, out-mouth thing, and finally realized: THAT IS NEVER GOING TO WORK FOR ME!!!

So... I just told my body, "it's ok, just breathe how you need to," and you know what? My whole body relaxed. Even as I increased the speed on the treadmill. Hm... I was tempted to do a bunch of research on the subject, but have decided to just call it a lesson on listening to my body and be done with it.

If there's any other left-side-leaning-nosed-mouth-breathers out there... I won't say I know what's best for your body, but I will say that this was SUCH a huge relief and revelation for me, that I just had to share it!

Which is just as weird to say as it is refreshing, since breathing is... last time I checked... supposed to be the most natural thing is the world, right?! xoxo

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Road Back To Skating

I recently made the announcement that I'll be moving back to San Diego, to train with the league I founded in 2005 again. If you're at all curious about that, here's my story:

Last year a weird thing was happening. I was travelling all over the world coaching roller derby, and having very inappropriate responses to compliments everywhere I went.

I believe I was in Canada the first time it happened.

A skater said, "So this is your full time job?"
Me, "Yep!"
Skater: "Wow... you're living the dream!"
Me, inexplicably irritated

Wait, what?? Shouldn't I be happy? It's so rare that people are openly happy for another person's success, so these moments are to be cherished! But... it was nagging at me for some reason.

Then it started happening more frequently... and before you knew it I was hearing it every day! "You're living the dream," "I'm so happy you are following your dreams," "You're so lucky to be doing what you love!"

Well, first, there's a difference between lucky and what I am: which is extremely dedicated to my craft. I study this sport, and coaching, leadership, and business with a voracity that would make you think my Master's Thesis was due tomorrow...

Second... I LOVE COACHING! I mean, I Since I was a kid I always wanted to be a teacher. (Which became very confusing when I realized just how much I hated... school...)

Coaching gives me an outlet for that need to teach, in the subject I am truly passionate about. But... in terms of roller derby... Coaching is not my dream, per-se...

My dream, from my very first practice in 2003 was to be a professional roller derby player.

So I'm gonna go get that dream. I thought it would be enough for me to facilitate that dream for other people, but as it turns out... I'm more selfish than I thought!

My dream is to play professional roller derby. It's not that far away, you know... But in order to do that, I'm going to have to reach a level of fitness I've never reached before. So that's the journey that I'll be on, between now and September (when I'm done touring for the year) and ready to train full time with the league of my dreams, The San Diego Derby Dolls.

If you've got any great come-back stories, quotes or videos, please share them in the Comments section! I love that stuff, and will probably never get enough of it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2 Boos and 2 Yays

Though I've been a "retired" skater since December 2010, roller derby is still my entire life!

Right now I'm training for the Exhibition Bout at March Radness and plan to join the scrimmages at the NorthEast Derby Convention, which is not exactly a "big comeback," but it's something for the die hard skater in me to train for and look forward to.

I love Coaching, but I'm still a Skater in my heart.

That said, I've been brewing on 2 areas that I'd like to differently this time around. And would also love to share with you 2 areas I'm proud of myself for, in roller derby.

2 Boos

1) Off Skates Training
We did a fair amount of it in league practices, but that just wasn't enough. I could have made the time to do more, but I didn't.

I would wake up early mornings, tell myself "Get up and work out," and then roll over and go back to sleep. Is that true athlete behavior?

This time around: Rather than doing off-skates workouts that support "skating muscles," I'm working out all the things that don't get worked out from skating. All the muscle groups that support the skating muscles.

Hamstrings, small muscle groups around the knee, core, back and calves. 

I don't love working out, so I have to tell myself: this is what athletes do. And you're one of those. So do it. There are only benefits, no negative side effects. Healthier, stress release, better endurance, injury prevention...

I do it now, and I feel good about myself every time I do.

2) Being A Perfectionist
Hi, my name is Bonnie D.Stroir, and I'm a recovering perfectionist. It's been one year since I was a complete abusive asshole to myself. I take it one day at a time.

This contributed greatly to giving up on Off Skates Work Outs. I couldn't get myself to go a whole hour without wimping out. So, because I couldn't do it perfect, I gave up.

This time around: I tell myself, Better Than Yesterday = Success.
I don't regret having high standards, I always will. I want to be my best. I want to reach my potential.

But what I didn't realize was that it is NOT POSSIBLE to reach one's TRUE potential and always feel like an utter failure at the same time. Those two concepts don't live in the same space.

I spent at least 7 years making myself feel like a failure, for not being perfect. SO SAD! Now I realize that my self, like most people, performs better under the conditions of praise and encouragement. With high standards as goals to get closer to every day.

2 Yays

1) Treating People Well
Nobody's perfect, but overall I'd say that I've been really good about giving praise where it's due, admitting when I'm wrong, and making sure people know how much I love and appreciate the time we spend together in roller derby.

If there's one thing about me that I love very much, it's that. And I learned it from watching LADD's Founder, Demolicious. She makes every person she talks to genuinely feel like the most important person in the world. It's not flattery, she really cares about people. And that's a quality I've always admired, emulated, and am happy to share with you.

I can't tell you how many times this has come back around for me in awesome ways. It's just good business and good human behavior to treat people well. (Including yourself!)

2) Giving More Than Is Expected
I went way above and beyond in my league practice ethics, and responsibilities as a Founder. And I still do, as a Coach. I study the craft, constantly research new ways to do things, and hold nothing back.

I'm also true to myself and honest with people about when I need space, time off, etc. But when I'm present, I'm fully present, giving 110% to whatever my job is at the time. Because I have a passion for this sport that is... kind of ridiculous!

Roller derby has given sooooo much to me!

It's been my college, business school, athletic outlet, method of self expression and family since 2003. When I think about how little I was and had to give when I came to roller derby, and the woman roller derby has shaped and molded me to be... I completely radiate with pride and appreciation.

Where else on earth could I have gotten all of that???? How could I not give back???

Those are my Top 2's. I totally encourage and invite you to reflect on yours. It's such a whirlwind, this roller derby experience. Taking stock every now and then can be a great reminder to enjoy the journey and get/give all you can from it.. xoxo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Knock Knock... Who's There? My Knees....

I got a follow-up email about a previous blog I wrote, where a skater asked about overcoming knock-kneed stuff. I've gotta be honest with you, I didn't do right by my body with that, my first.... 8 years of roller derby...

But I am now!

Did you know you can actually train a lot of that knocked-ness out?? I know, blew my mind. Here's some recommended links:


Videos below to go with this article:

For those Pilates inclined:

Side Lunges

Side Step Ups

Hip Abduction

With A Big Blue Ball

Wall Sits

I can be seen doing these exercises during warm ups, on the side, and in between drills in a city near you! After years of being a good skater, I'm now learning to be the good athlete I wish I'd been before. 

If you have an area to improve on, go ahead and get started on that. You'll be glad you did when you feel stronger and can go for longer without pain, or even remembering what nature gave you to start with!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Injury Fear Monster

Last year I wrote a blog about Derby Mental Injuries. Another aspect to this is Physical Fear.

It's something I know all about. My first bout I did something dumb that caused a sprained neck. Did you know you could sprain a neck?? It's a lot like a sprained ankle, but you can't turn your head for 6 weeks.

When I came back to the game, there was a physical fear that was in my body. Not just my mind, but my body itself was now afraid of roller derby.

The good news is that I went on to play for many years after that, getting better every year!
The unfortunate truth is that shaking off that fear takes patience w/yourself.

Here's my advice on making your big comeback, and shaking the fear from an old injury out of your body:

1) Take healing seriously.
If immobility is what you need: be immobile.
If tedious-terrible-annoying physio exercises are what you need: do them.
If yoga /stretching/strength training, acupuncture, or massage are what you need: do it.

Whatever it is you need to heal, do exactly that. Mentally, and physically, the conscious choice to heal correctly is an important part of the process, because it gives you time to do just that: process. Injuries can be kind of shocking.

So while you're healing you get time to get over that shock. And while you're rehabbing, you're shaking the shock out out of the body. One grueling exercise at a time.

2) Skate alone, and start anew.
Alone time on your skates is one of the most valuable tools in skating. Even in a team sport, you and your skates need to have a special relationship. That means you'll need alone time.

Going over basic skills, skating outside, or just wearing them in the house on your day off. The skates need to feel like an extension of your foot, and not the scary monsters in the closet that made you get hurt.

Have some fun on your skates, alone, and take your league's most beginner classes, before you're throwing yourself back into pack play situations. Just to get reacquainted.

3) Fall down. Get back up. A lot.
Falling down and getting back up can be either a scary, or empowering situation. Depending on where you're at mentally. I like to throw myself on the ground tell myself to get back up before anyone else gets the chance to. Especially before a returning practice/bout.

That way the ground/track don't feel like a foreign, scary place to end up. It's just part of a good, committed warm up. I still do this sometimes, even coaching, if I'm having an off say on my skates. Just to feel like a boss.

4) Write some new goals and affirmations.

Injuries feel like they're taking you back to where you used to be, but they're not. You'll never be the skater you used to be, you'll always be the new you.

The new you is forced to take the time to work his/her way back up. So... maybe the new you makes/takes the time to become an even more skilled, strong and athletic person than the old you ever bothered to be? Writing some new goals, and coming to new resolves will help you be the new person.

Let the old you go, that version of you is in the past. Who do you want to be now??

I've seen so many skaters COME BACK be better skaters than they EVER were before, (including myself, and I did it several times) by taking the time to do it right. Just tell yourself that you're one of those, if you want to shake off the fear monster and play as a better version of you than the world has ever seen!

Just take the time, and be patient with yourself. You can totally do it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Philosophy And Roller Derby

"Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go is easy"

~ Chuang Tzu ~

This is one of my favorite quotes, that I really aim to live by. I know how quotes can be just kind of a flowery mash of words if skipped over too quickly, so if you're in the mood for philosophy and roller derby... Let's get into it.

This particular quote really altered my entire process of decision making in roller derby. Younger Bonnie's decision making came from asking myself, "Is this the right thing to do?

Which became a real mind fuck a few years later, when I started to wrap my head around more philosophical concepts like... Maybe there's some right and wrong. Or maybe it's all subjective and there is no real "right or wrong"???

You can see how being a young philosopher, and trying to do the "right" thing all the time got to be kind of at odds with each other. I felt like I was judging myself all the time, before anyone else would have a chance to, I guess. 
It's very hard to be genuine and be "right" all at the same time. 

And that's when I found this quote, and thought... Shazaam! Now my decision making more often comes from a place of  "Does this feel right?"

And usually when things feel right, there's a certain easiness there. When things feel arduous, tedious or strained, it's time to ask "What needs to change to make things feel right again?"  

For example: 

When I first started driving to Los Angeles for roller derby, it was actually really easy for me to do! Sometimes the "rush hour" traffic would make the trip 3 hours long. But I had music and my imagination, and time just flew right by.

A couple years later, when I no longer had a truck to drive there, things were really hard. Nothing was really working, and it was time to make change. 

Out of that need for change, San Diego Derby Dolls came to be. And you know what? Getting that league started was one of the easiest, most invigorating, exciting things I've ever done to this day! Ever since then, and even just today, I've been making choices based on this philosophy. 

Because even a shitload of hard work can still feel easy if the energy's right.


Why would a modern day, tattooed, foul mouthed roller derby coach from California would be so enamored with the work of a 4th century BC, Chinese philosopher...  How did that happen?! No clue. But it feels right, and easy. xoxo