RP Greenade, photo by Chris Switzer
A visit to see a friend in Washington has changed my life. She had just started as fresh meat with a team after she moved out there. Once she convinced me to gear up at her practice I almost immediately fell in love. I literally searched for a team back home as soon as we got back to her apartment. One email later and I was coming home to my first practice with EDG the following Tuesday. Any part of me that thought this would be easy was very wrong. The dedication is well worth the reward though.
Most of my friends and family were very surprised that I wanted to be a derby girl. After an injury, it was even harder to convince them to come see my first game. This sport has turned into a family. I initially joined to get out of the house and get a good workout. Now I look forward to practice days and events with one of the most amazing group of women I know. As with anything in life, the more you put in the more you get out. One way I contribute to the league is through my artistic talents with flyers and such. Never did I expect for my derby team to be my biggest support in getting through my divorce.
Anon from within the league….
That Was Not Me…
I have to do what on skates? That’s all I could think at the first practice as I watched handfuls of girls skate around and around the rink effortlessly during warm up. That was not me. These girls could already skate and really well. That was not me. They could even skate backwards. That was not me. They could cross over and toe stop with ease. That was not me. They must have spent a lot of time during their childhood at their local skating rinks. That was not me. Most of these girls looked like they were in their mid-20s. That was not me.
I could not barely skate and when I say barely, I mean barely. Most of my skating consisted of tiny step like movements and an excessive amount of holding onto the wall. At open skates, I would hold onto the back of my boyfriend’s shirt while trying to calm my ever present anxiety attack feelings. Tears and many arguments ensued at those open skate nights but I wanted to be a derby girl and to do that I had to know how to skate. In fact, I had to learn how to do more than just skate. I had to learn how to jump, fall, stop and balance on skates. Skating was the easy part they told me. I laughed. Skating was NOT easy for me.
The girl who wants to be a derby player. That was me. The girl at every practice. That was me. The girl who goes to two or three open skates a week in full gear even with teenagers looking at her strangely. That was me. The girl who attended speed skating classes. That was me. The girl who watched roller derby in person and on the internet. That was me. The girl who learned to skate. That was me. The girl who became a derby player. That was me. The girl who made a real life dream come true. That was me.