Yooper Suomi, photo by Chris Switzer
Growing up in the U.P. I was very active biking, snowboarding, hiking, camping, ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and many other things. I continued to be active while attending Michigan Tech University taking snowboarding and mountain biking PE classes along with getting out on the trails most afternoons. I moved from the U.P. to Golden Colorado for graduate school and was able to continue being active and actually learned how to rock climb and play ultimate frisbee.
When I graduated something coerced me to move back to Michigan, but this time to the lower peninsula to be metallurgist in a steel mill in Dearborn. I knew from all my trips south growing up that I wouldn’t have as many opportunities to be as active as I had been Colorado and the U.P., but the job was exciting. So I packed up my belongings in February and moved to Michigan.
Less than a year after starting working my life got shaken hard, I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. I had surgery that removed more than 90% of it and then followed with 6 weeks of radiation. A couple months after finishing radiation I went to and adventure camp for young adults with cancer, First Descents, and learned how to white water kayak. What a rush, learning how to do another activity and talking with others about cancer. I joined a local cancer group and made close friends.
One of these new friends knew about Eastside Derby Girls through their head ref. I cannot tell you how we got to talking about derby, maybe we had just watched Whip It, but he told me about EDG and that I should go check it out. He made sure to introduce me to Stan and Stan shared the practice times with me. I showed up at practice and fell in love with roller derby. Derby allows me to get exercise after work, socialize with people that I otherwise never would have meet and help out our local community.