Apr 202011

No, really. How far would you go for roller derby? Would you drive 30 minutes to and from every practice? An hour? An hour and a half? With leagues seemingly popping up all over the place, it seems no one should have to drive too far to get to derby, but depending on where you live, you very well may have to.

Very soon I will be moving back to California for my husband to go to school. I will be leaving my league for a new one. I’m not committed to anyone yet, but I’ve got my eye on Bay Area Derby. Between their practice location and the neighborhoods we are looking at to position my husband close to school I could be driving about 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic to and from practices. That sucks. Big time. But it’s what I’m going to have to do.

For the record, I hate driving. It is important to me (if I must own a vehicle) to own a car that I can sleep in comfortably. So I drive a minivan. The gas bill is devastating (but road trips are soooo nice). How far would it have to be for me to decide it isn’t worth it? Would I get my own separate “commuter apartment” away from my husband to be closer to roller derby? Will I sleep in my car? Would I (gasp!) trade in my luxury sleeper car for a sensible commuter? Would I demand that he commute to school so that I don’t have to commute to practice? I won’t know until I’ve been doing it for awhile. It all seems a little ridiculous. Moving is already a pain in the ass and logistically, this will be a nightmare. But I am so focused on where and how I am going to skate that I am probably neglecting the bigger issues.

Is this the part where roller derby starts to put strain on my relationship? If it takes me 90 minutes to get to and from a 90 minute practice, will I start to be a flake? It’s making me a little anxious.

Me and my happy home team, The Cog Blockers. Awesome photo by Kim Lincoln.

Perhaps the anxiety about commuting is a disguise for something else. Perhaps I am insecure about going to a new place with new people and asking them to accept and like me. The Bellingham Roller Betties was my introduction to roller derby. Usually I feel it’s more “dysfunctional” than “family” but after 2 years I have sort of found my place in the league. I’ve become comfortable with my committee role and I know how meetings are going to begin and end. Switching leagues is like changing elementary schools. I’m not going to have any friends!!

I do realize this isn’t the first time a girl has moved to a new league. I just want it to be easy. Would someone please make this easy for me? While I’m working in Alaska this summer find me a nice apartment walking distance to the practice location of a competitive derby league and cycling distance from Cal Maritime? Thanks.



30 Minutes

 Posted by at 1:03 pm  3 Responses »
Feb 282011

I was nervous about what to write for my first post. Does everyone say that? You don’t know me. I’m a relatively new skater. This is only my second season and I am not nearly as over it as many ladies I know. I know that all my feelings of being burdened with derby work are only the beginning. I know that going to practice 4 nights every week and having a meeting the other 3 is my new Normal, and that I had better start to like eating dinner at 5pm. Because I plan on doing this until my body will no longer let me; I accept this as my reality.

In my time so far on my home team, we have not won a single league bout. Which feels pretty crappy. Especially since I’m now  the team captain and a primary jammer, my feelings of responsibility and disappointment have compounded . Our travel team has some pretty high goals for this year, and I have already sort of arranged my life around them being accomplished. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have delusions of grandeur, but I have some big plans for myself (and my teams), and will kick my own ass if they don’t come to fruition.

Last night my coach asked the whole team to give 30 minutes of extra derby “work” everyday outside of practice. For some girls this will mean physical activity. For others it will mean studying the rules, or watching bouts online. Those 30 minutes of derby zen need not be consecutive, and not necessarily consistent from day to day. The point is to make playing roller derby and being a winner a constant thought process. I’ll admit that when I have a non-derby day I’m pretty stoked to hang out on the couch and have a couple extra beers. And in my down time, I waste countless hours surfing the net. But last night I raised my hand in front of all my teammates to say that I would rewire my brain and find a way to apply everything to my skating. Those 30 minutes will not be hard to fill. I’ll read more articles by other skaters, watch more DNN, and hip check every open door and cupboard in my path. I will change my attitude.

This morning, while my coffee brewed, I did 50 sit-ups. At work today, I sifted 150 pounds of flour (I’m a baker), and instead of scraping the flour through the drum, I engaged my core and shook it. When I am done writing this I am going to put on a pair of high heels to vacuum my house (I read in a girly mag that it strengthens your legs). For lunch, I had a salad instead of a muffin. After tonight’s training meeting, I will join a few other skaters for a little “bum-bum” workout. If at the end of the day I feel like I’ve come up short, I will rest my head on my fancy pillow, visualize hitting my opponent off the jam line and go to sleep with a smile.

I was very inspired by the idea of living/breathing derby in a positive way, and not in the overwhelming way it has come to be. Like I said, 4 nights each week are signed over to practice and one of those nights is a back-to-back skate. I condition at the gym in my “free” time”. It seems like it should be enough, but it just isn’t. No matter how much time I think roller derby takes from me, there is time leftover to make myself stronger, smarter and more valuable to my team. Last night I raised my hand to say that I can give more, and now I am telling you (feel free to hassle me you catch me slackin’ off!). I can spend 30 more minutes on top of all my other cross training, on top of all my practices and I can make every decision throughout the day to be a better skater. I will be a better skater.

What can you do?

photo by Kim Lincoln