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