Monday, February 27, 2012

The Politics of Passion

In roller derby, there is an abundance of passion to go around, both on the track and off.  Skaters are passionate about their performance, their events, their hardware, and their sisterhood.  With these passions come strong emotions.  Being a derby husband in training, the trick is to learn which emotions are the result of which passions, and how best to deal with them.

The XY chromosome that defines me compels me to, no scratch that… REQUIRES me to solve problems, even when they are not mine to solve.  That’s just the way we are wired - When faced with an issue, provide a solution.  It’s that simple.

So when the politics of derby enter household discourse, I am full of solutions; few of which are welcome of course.  It’s easy just to tell myself to step back and listen rather than open my mouth, but stopping the synapses from triggering my vocal chords is not as easily done.   I have decided that I need not be involved at that level, and do my best to steer the conversation elsewhere when said subject matter arises.

The plight of a derby husband is to be once again a bachelor of sorts.  Our household chores increase.  Our dinners become solo events.  And our DVRs fill up for lack of the four eyeballs necessary to approve a deletion from the hard drive.  Finding a way to be involved in derby, while not spewing our opinion, is necessary for the relationships between we derby husbands and our absentee wives/girlfriends to survive. 

The involvement/solution catch 22 has caused me to rethink my approach.  Rather than step onto the landmine of derby conversation in the house, I’ve rekindled my interest in old hobbies, namely photography and web development, both of which have allowed me to stay attached to my derby girl’s derby life.  In doing so, it’s sparked some passions that have hid dormant in me for some time.  In short, her derby life has added value to mine, and I am the better for it.

Following one of my awoken passions, I watched my love’s last bout solely through the lens of my camera, capturing glimpses of individual passions that had long faded from the track.  With the bout on the line, and with :20 to go, my girl was called upon to toe the line one last time against the one-woman wrecking machine who scored most of the opposing team’s points bringing them back from a 50 point deficit to a mere 6 points.  As the last jam unfolded through my lens, I began to witness the emotions escaping from these very passionate women.  Some were of elation, some were of fear.  I found myself dropping my camera to my side to watch my bride as she struggled to keep up.  For the first time, I cheered out loud, louder than I ever have.  I wanted her to know I was there supporting her, supporting her passions.

When it was all over, I met up with my angelic one, her eyes swelling, trying to hold back the tears for having not scored enough points to hold off the comeback.  I saw her passions for her team in those teary eyes, for she felt she had let them down.  I had no solution to give.  Rather I had understanding, and a kiss.

Yep, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my relationships, and MY passions while watching my girl follow hers.  And though I’ve learned how best to deal with the politics of derby, the occasional taboo topic sometimes makes its unwelcome way into our conversation, in clear violation of our agreement to prohibit derby talk during conjugal visits.   When this happens, my advice is simple… RUN!

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