What happens when you join a roller derby team? You can’t sleep. Your heart starts racing before practice. You have high expectations of becoming the biggest bad ass in the league, the region, THE WORLD. Your every waking moment (and there are a lot of them because as I’ve mentioned, you can’t sleep) is spent contriving ways to get better at this crazy sport. You know nothing about the game, but you know you’re in love and it’s going to feel this way forever.
What happens next? A lot of things, but eventually, familiarity breeds complacency, and at some point you find yourself slacking. Maybe you’re at the top of your league and there’s no one around to call you out anymore; maybe you’re in the middle and the bitches at the top are so busy inventing new plays with names like “Confuse the Chicken” and “Have Sex With Your Grandma” that they forget you need help mastering your hockey stop; maybe you still can’t stop at all and no one seems willing to pull you aside and say, “Try pointing your toes inward when you go into the plow.” For whatever reason, your beloved league can’t provide the kick in the hotpants required to renew your initial enthusiasm. I suggest you seek outside support.
Blood and Thunder was fucking amazing. My league mates (Tank, Violet, Zoom) and I skated almost constantly from 9 in the morning to 9 at night for 3½ days and were reluctant to remove our skates Sunday afternoon for the 8-hour drive home. We took pages of notes on advanced offensive strategy; we learned how to return to the fundamentals of skating and tweak the basics; we loaded up on drills and plays to take back to the girls at home. But most importantly, each of us regained the derby spark. I can see it in Zoom’s eyes when she explains the fancy whips she learned from Smack Ya Sideways; in Violet’s smile when she demonstrates “derby hugs”; and in Tank’s whole demeanor when she and I talk over each other out of sheer excitement while planning our next practice.
I’m not saying you have to shell out tons of cash and drive thousands of miles in order to rediscover your derby spark in times of slump. Just remember that there’s a whole world of derby out there besides the one inside your helmet, and the more you access it, the more you’ll progress as a skater and as part of a team.
This is unrelated, but I have to tell you: I beat THIS WOMAN at Queen of the Box. Granted, it was off-skates and she obviously would have out-witted me with skates on, but still… I think I deserve a cookie or a shiny star on my chart.
Turbo Tyke is not a regular contributor to LDG. But we want her to be! If you want to see more of her on LDG, or send her a cookie or shiny star, hit her up on Facebook.