I was first introduced to the world of Roller Derby about six years ago when I was in Germany. My ex-husband’s friend used to play for the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse, and watching her bouts were the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Back then, I never really considered playing Roller Derby because, 1) I felt like I was too fragile to, and 2) I didn’t think I had the time and commitment for it. I remember some weekends where she had to travel with her derby team to compete with other teams in the European Union, and I didn’t think that I had time for that. Fast forward to present time, and now here I am now fully immersed in the derby world.
I don’t even know where to explain why I decided to start here and now – it was just a random decision I made. Maybe its because I just had a baby and I needed something to keep me focused about getting back into shape. Or maybe this seemed like something that I needed to do just to prove to myself that I can do something difficult like this. Whatever reason it may be, it led me to two nights a week on eight wheeels and burning thighs from derby stance.
Although I can’t tell you the why, I think I can do a better job at explaining what derby means to me. For starters, it definitely means commitment. I mean, I initially bought $300+ worth of basic derby gear to start, so if that price doesn’t scream out commitment to you, then I’m not sure what is. I’ve been on-skates for seven months now, and I still look like a baby deer that was just born, but you know what? I can tell that I’m starting to make improvements in staying upright and falling less(er). Derby gives me something to focus my energy on and strive to another goal of improving myself while doing something fun.
Roller derby also teaches me humility and how to be humble. I am far from perfect, and I didn’t need derby to teach me that, but I did need derby to occasionally give me a reminder (or a quick hip check) that no one is born perfect or special. It really takes time and dedication to be able to skate without falling over and then go onto forming barricades to prevent the other team from scoring. In my life outside of derby, I do get bummed out because I know that I’m putting in a good amount of effort at work even though I don’t get praises or told I’m doing a good job. Sometimes, awards even make me resentful for other people because it feels like we’re awarding the same people who don’t really deserve. However, in derby, training sucks hard for everyone, and I can appreciate that we are all focusing on bettering each other, and we all have had the same struggles. There is no favoritism in derby – its either you know how to play and you can do you 27/5 or you can’t.
Roller derby is seriously a lifestyle that I can stick to. It is really a new breath of life for me ❤