Worm on Wheels

 Posted by at 6:20 pm  Add comments
Feb 242011


Please suppress your gag reflex: this post is about how derby makes me a better mom. BUT, I’m not going to write about how awesome my kids are, or tips about how pack a mean lunch, or any other saccharine drivel about parenthood or cutesy mom shit. I’d like to think I’m better than that. If you can stomach it, read on.

When I first wanted to go out for derby, my mother-in-law’s response was, “But you’re a mother of two.” That’s a non sequitur. It’s like saying, “You can’t do derby, you’re a Gemini and you hate cilantro.” What the hell does that have to do with anything? I have two kids. Does that mean I can’t skate? Am I disqualified?

Sure, I was concerned about how my joining the team might affect my family, mainly

Worm on wheels

if my husband would feel dumped on because he had to deal with kids alone two nights a week. But it never crossed my mind that I couldn’t do something just because I had children. Children are the reason I DO things, not the reason I DON’T do things. They inspire me; they don’t hold me back.

My daughter Elizabeth (nickname: Worm) is 7-years-old – old enough to have fun with but still young enough to not find me embarrassing – and she thinks derby is incredible. She asked for quad skates last Christmas, specifying in her letter to Santa: the skates with FOUR WHEELS. She had me use sidewalk chalk on the street to mark a jammer line so I could teach her how to run off the line on her toe stops. She knows how to give a whip. She comes to dryland on Saturday morning to hang out with the derby girls and wear her pink helmet with the Sin City Skates sticker on it. But what makes me prouder than anything is that she knows I’m a part of a team. She knows I’m committed to the skaters, and that I have to go to practice and not skip out just because I’m tired. She sees me doing push-ups and tries to do them with me.

Our relationship vis á vis derby is symbiotic – I hope through skating I’m being a good role model for her, but she’s also an inspiration for me. My goal during a bout is to score points as a jammer, because I know when I get home I’ll get two questions from her: “Did you win?” and “Did you score a lot of points?” My husband just asks, “Are you hurt?” It’s more important to me that I scored some points.

Elizabeth’s schedule is demanding and I have to accommodate that: piano lessons, gymnastics, school functions, field trips. Our whole family has to juggle around those things, but she makes sacrifices too so that I can fulfill my obligations to the team. Sometimes I’m gone for a few hours on a Sunday night for a committee meeting, or I have to leave town for a day for an away game. She knows it’s not all about her, but it’s not all about me, either. It’s about us, together, and we make it work.

What am I teaching her by doing derby? That I’m part of a team, that I have to exercise and get stronger to stay part of this, that I have something I’m committed to. But she knows, too, that she comes first. And, most importantly, that while all other moms are sitting in their lawn chairs on Saturday afternoon watching their kids play outside, I’m the only one that asks to borrow her skateboard and take it for a spin.


  13 Responses to “Worm on Wheels”

  1. moxie. adorable. all of it. you, the worm. exquisitely… adorable.

  2. anonymous is me, rock. im not automatically signed in on this work computer. imagine that…

  3. Moxie you rock! Its also a good way for you and her to bond by skating! :)

  4. This is such a great post – made me think of all the moms I’ve skated with! I think it’s awesome that your daughter is so into it, and you’re right, it is really important and impressive to show her how invested you are. Also, who hates cilantro? I love cilantro.

  5. Completely agree! Moms (and Dads) who give up exercise and activities because they have kids are not doing them a favor. Kids need to see a good role model who cares for her body, is multi-dimensional, and is a good wife/mom (committed to a positive and productive family unit).

  6. I have friends who gave up living when they had kids, and I know friends who live at the expense of raising their kids. Nice to know that there are responsible parents out there who balance living *and* family. You’re a better person than me in that respect. All power to you.

  7. Totally agree with the post. Living and leading kids by example is important. Exercise and team work are extremely important throughout life.
    To your mother-in-law, being a roller derby “mom” broke the roles. It didn’t fit her ideas of a stereotypical “devoted mom”. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that people in society ever had that 1950′s mentality in the first place!

  8. Love this post. It is so amazing that

  9. I love this post. I myself have a seven year old daughter and two small boys, my daughter is in love with the sport. She is my biggest fan and at every bout she is sitting there cheering the loudest and when all is said an done she will ask ” why didn’t you jam longer? Why did you go to the box? Why did you take that other girl down? You got a lot of points, but you will get. More next time”
    She makes me want to do better. I can truthfully say that one day I hope that she will be playing this sport and that I will be watching her. At first it was extremely hard for me to be away at night two to four days a week, but I will say that what we are doing as mothers is teaching our daughters so many things. I can say that I am proud that she can go to school an tell everyone that her Mom has a bout this weekend and you should go.
    I feel it is teaching her teamwork, commitment, faithfulness, drive, humility, an confidence. In this day and time I am happy that I am in the derby community and that I have my daughter in it as well.
    Your post brought tears to my eyes…thank you and I agree with everything that you have said!

  10. I must admit, this blog made me misty-eyed. I’m a freshmeat with two small children, and I was very hesitant to join because I didn’t want them (or my husband) to feel abandoned. Realizing that I’m not the only derby mom, and that it IS possible to juggle everything has been such a relief. Watching my daughter try to put her tiny feet into my quads makes me feel pretty amazing, too.

  11. Moms make the best derby players! I’ve always thought that! and teachers.

  12. So much love to my Wife and the Worm! Awesome post!

  13. I am a single mom of an eight-year-old little tomboy (self-proclaimed derby name Khaos Kid!) and I joined a start-up derby team last fall. I really, really wanted to do roller derby, but I thought for sure I could never manage it, but I was lucky enough to find a team in my home town that have embraced both me and my sidekick. She is now the team mascot, and puts on her gear every practice (after her homework is done) and skates with the fresh meat. She already has a better running toe start than I do! We’re learning together, and it is a beautiful thing to share with her. Yes, there are times when I have to miss that special training camp because they don’t allow eight-year-olds, or I may miss a practice when she is sick, but personally, I wouldn’t do it any other way. She is my inspiration and my cheerleader, and I look forward to the day she can kick my ass on the track.

    And any aspiring moms out there, who aren’t sure they can skate and parent at the same time – well, if I can do it, so can you!

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