Dear Meat,

 Posted by at 10:00 am  Add comments
Apr 092010

Hi. My name is Rock Bottom, and you want to play roller derby.

Maybe you’re a washed up athlete craving an adoring fan base. Maybe you’re a hot chick looking to stay in shape while showing off your shape, or a momma in need of alter ego time away from husband and kids.

I’d like to say I was once all of these things. It would flow really well and make me seem super relatable and cool, but mainly I was the washed up, lonely athlete looking for the adoring fan base and hodgepodge of loyal teammates. Now I’m a rookie who’s just starting to get a feel for the sport, the culture, the unapologetic feminism.

Hi. This is my terribly unflattering official head shot. I was skinny.

I played a year of college basketball for Tulane University in my hometown of New Orleans, making me the fourth generation in my family to play for the university. You don’t care. I mean, I cared for a while, but then I sucked. I didn’t play, and we lost a lot. I hadn’t a spare moment to nap (and I love naps) or  to take a walk with the ducks of beautiful Audubon Park (and I love ducks). So, after a single, pathetic season of Division I basketball, the supposed Caana of aspiring athletic souls, I quit.

And then, oxygen. Chirping birds. Sunshine. Free time. Free time!

Because roller girls have to be contradictory, I joined a sorority for a bit before finding my derby love. But, after a single, average year of sorority life, the supposed Studio 54 of underage socialites, I quit.

And then, lack of purpose. Boredom. New stretch marks. Stretch marks!

When does my story get happy? When I casually emailed Violet Reaction of Red Stick Roller Derby, dragged a friend with me to Leo’s Rollerland, and found myself a new challenge.

New friends to make. A new skill to learn. A new purpose.

Now, I skate. I throw my arms in the air because I just don’t care, and the crowd feels me. I jump over hos who fall on the ground and warm up to my humble rap songs. I’m happy.

Sometimes, I notice my friends looking at each other when I tell stories about Rock Bottom and her friends. They smirk at Caitlin’s evolving wardrobe. It kills me a little to not have them back me in whatever makes me happy, but I get it. New shit is scary, and so is change; but the two can also be violently invigorating. So, whatever, I’m happy.

You, too, can be happy. Already happy? Then get ready for happier. Because roller derby is for you. It’s for any human with a vagina, two legs, a dash of swagger, and a willingness to accept incongruous folks.

It’s time you bought your skates, my friend. Find a cul-de-sac and skate it like pre-Babe Ruthless in Whip-It. Your old friends probably won’t get it, but your new friends will.


  4 Responses to “Dear Meat,”

  1. Thanx for getting a freshmeat perspective on things, I’m sure a lot of them need someone to tell them things like this and I praise you for having done so. I know this is how I felt two years ago when I first heard about my team, but I joined anyway and never looked back. I fell in love with everyone and everything and kept in mind that no matter how hard it got, I wanted it. Now, things are better than ever and we have a huge group of girls coming up. We have mad love and respect for the teams we play, and have made friends from all over. I’m stoked to have come as far as I have, and to have girls from all different backgrounds become my sisters.

  2. How do I love thee, Rock Bottom?

  3. As a fresh meat for the Undead Bettys in Northern California, I can honestly say that it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for ME. Don’t get me started on the other women on the team….motivational, supportive, inspiring.

    Great article!

  4. How do I love thee, fellow skater gals? Tricky, I know you, so you know you my dog. You other ladies, thanks for your responsiveness. I’m, like, mad happy with this new turn my life has taken. I have so much love for the sport and all it’s brought me, which I’ll be talking a lot more about in the future. I’ve got community and (lookie here) people who care enough about what I say to tell me that they care about what I say. Thanks, guys. Stick around. Be my friend. Leave me comments. Email me.

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