If you’re a skater, or you live with or date one, you know how much we talk about roller derby, especially in the first six or so months of skating. Of course, derby remains an immersive activity throughout one’s career, but it’s during those first months that you have the most trouble talking about other things. With each practice, your knowledge of the game and your blocking and jamming skills increase exponentially, which of course serves as great positive reinforcement for the increasing time commitment you’re making. In the beginning, you are also getting to know your teammates, both as skaters and as people, and your derby family starts to become more and more central to your life. There comes a time when, despite your best attempts to limit talk of ass-punching, crotch-stomping, and the predicted quality of the floor at RollerCon when in non-derby social situations, you may find your relationships strained by your new obsession. Ever tire of hearing about your friend’s new boyfriend or girlfriend, when they are in that phase of new love where absolutely every imaginable topic of conversation leads to something about said person? That annoyance usually lasts about three weeks. Derby skaters babble with the same sort of intensity for MONTHS. Sometime last fall, I found that the distance between Sarah Perry and Tricky La Rouge was shrinking while the distance between each of us and my non-derby friends was expanding. Roller derby also, perhaps, effected my relationship with my previous partner – but this is a problematic, debatable effect that I’ll have to get into in a future post.
As we all do, I found ways to hold onto the positive aspects of my pre-derby life while continuing to deepen my commitment to derby. I’ve since chilled out a little, I think, and am better about halting my derby talk when I see that someone is glazing over (which occasionally happens even when talking to other skaters. Anyone can get a little burned out).
Which brings me to a little anecdote. First of all, I’d like to officially announce here on LDG that I’m dating a new person. This is pretty awesome news, especially since he’s been reviewed by much of my team and has been approved. He’s derby-supportive and had previously been one of my most reliable ticket-purchasers (guys and gals who’d like a derby girl of their own, take note).
But I mostly share this news with you so that I can tell you this: the other day, he was clearing some seriously entrenched brush from around his uncle’s house, which involved hours of hard labor out in the Southern heat, and he found himself thinking: If I was on Tricky’s team, would this count as a make-up practice?
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d thought that I wasn’t talking about derby nearly as much as usual, but clearly, I was wrong. Skaters, don’t fool yourselves.
And yes, he calls me Tricky. Score!