Thursday, February 3, 2011

Derby Conditioning: Torturous Like Childbirth. Where's My Baby?

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After last night, I'm secretly longing for the debilitating illness of last week to return so I can miss tonight's derby practice.

Last week was the official start of practice, but I was so sick I couldn't do anything at practice besides bring the Derby Gurlz Double Mocha Cupcakes. Which, by the way, shall now be known as Typhoid Cupcakes, because everyone else is now sick, as well. (Incidentally, my cupcakes are entered in a Valentine cooking contest. Please do your part to help me kick asparagus by clicking "I Like This" by the little heart under the photo here. You don't need to register. Just click. Thank you!)

So, I really had no clue that last night's two hours of conditioning were going to constitute the fatigue equivalent of thirty-nine hours of labor, plus two more squeezing a 13-centimeter baby head out of a 10-centimeter hole. Was that too much information? I, frankly, don't care - just like I didn't care when the doctor came in during my twentysomethingth (YES, that's a word!) hour of contractions and tried to make small talk by asking if I wanted a girl or a boy. I replied, in all seriousness, "I don't care if it's a game of Parcheesi. Get it out of me!"

For those of you who haven't actually given birth - or have only done so under anesthesia of some sort - it sort of goes like this:

  • Excruciating contractions begin. The sensation could be likened to the abdomen simultaneously being fed through a taffy puller and a cement mixer, while spontaneously imploding. Some experts may argue, but in my experience, each contraction lasts about twelve hours.
  • Somehow, amazingly, the contraction finally subsides. Having endured, the woman falls back, closes her eyes, breathes exactly one sigh of relief, has time to be astonished she can still breathe, and...
  • The next contraction begins.
  • This continues until the woman positively knows she's on the brink of expiration. At that point, someone (a doctor, a midwife, or the impatient baby) decides it's time to push the kid out. 
  • The woman says something to the effect of, "You've got to be f***ing kidding me... You want me to PUSH?" (Or, in my case, the woman says exactly that.) She's exhausted. She can't get through one more contraction, let alone push something the size of a bowling ball out of her hoo-hoo. And then...
  • The mother pushes. And pushes. And pushes again, until the glorious, blessed moment she's been waiting for. She's tired. She's sore. She aches, she's sweaty, she's crying, and there's plenty of mess in and around her body, but she's received the most amazing gift, and she suddenly knows it's all worth it.
Last night's practice was pretty much exactly like that, except I didn't get a baby for all my blasted effort. The last time I put my body through that much torture, I got a human being out of it. Last night, I didn't even get a goldfish. Psssh... whatever.

Our guest instructor last night, Miss Attila, made us contort into something resembling a prayer squat, which is intended to "open the hips and improve balance, memory and concentration." In my opinion, it could be better described as a guaranteed post-traumatic physical flashback of your repressed labor and childbirth memories. After all, it's often said it hurts to bear children, but it's "the kind of pain you forget."

If, in fact, you forgot, try this pose for a few minutes. You'll remember.

Attila scared us all into assuming this pose, then instructed us to shift our weight to alternating sides, a rocking technique I can only assume is intended to distribute pain equally to both sides of the body. She called it prying. I wonder why.

"Any questions?" she asked, as we all rocked and grunted.

"Has anyone ever died from prying?" I gasped.

"Ha, ha! I like that question!" she laughed. She "likes" that question? As in, That's one of my favorites... hear it all the time!

The worst part is, she never gave me an answer.

The entire practice, like labor and childbirth, was a systematic torture designed to push us to the point of collapse, when we were sure we couldn't do one more plank, lunge or contraction... and then make us start over again. And we did. No one died; no one quit. No one let anyone quit.

During childbirth, not finishing isn't an option. That baby's coming out, one way or another. (Actually, I begged for "another" about an hour or so into pushing. "Can't you just knock me out and do a C-section?" The doctor shook his head. "Could I change my mind about this natural childbirth bull, and get an epidural? What do you mean, too late?")

But this is derby. It's different. I can quit. If I don't want to finish, there's going to be someone else who will... and what's more, she wants me to finish with her.

Together, we're getting stronger. Together, we're learning we can do one more circuit, even though the first one nearly killed us. Together, we're creating something great.

That, my friends, is our "baby."

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