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Oct 182011

Buster-Skull-roller-derby-130104706596980000I am a confident person. I am confident in my abilities as a skater, as a leader, as a worker, and in all aspects of my life. I was taught to always do my best and take pride in everything that I do. That confidence is my source of motivation. I know that I am capable of great things, I expect great things from myself, and I work hard to accomplish great things. I recognize and seek out areas for improvement as a skater and in all my roles.

Webster’s defines confidence as belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing. The issue is that many people confuse confidence with conceit. Self-confidence is necessary. However, you have to have confidence in others as well as yourself. You have to believe in your own capabilities an in others’, especially as a member of a team.

Over the years, I have been accused of being conceited, but never by anyone who knows me well. I suppose it is still my fault if I project an air of arrogance, but I truly don’t feel that I do. When I see myself, I view myself as strong and capable. I love what I see when I look in the mirror. If that were the only thing that I said, you might think I’m arrogant. But when I see others, I love them too. I know that sounds like bullshit, but it’s true.

I work as a physical therapy tech and recently I had a patient who was incredibly inspiring. I spoke to her for a solid hour about her love for everyone. She works in maintenance at a geriatric health care facility. To some people that is just a job, just a paycheck. But, she told me that when she comes in contact with someone, she makes a difference in their day. She may only see them for a moment while she is sweeping their floor or changing their linens, but in that moment she brightens their day. She greets everyone with a warm smile and opens a conversation. She takes pride in what she does. If her own mother were at an inpatient facility, she would want everyone there to treat her well, and so she recognizes the importance of what she does.

As a physical therapy tech, I could go through the motions and get by without putting my best into what I do. But, I would never do that. It might seem insignificant to ask a patient how their weekend was, or give them a sincere compliment, but I know that what I do matters. Maybe no one has asked them about their weekend, maybe something really significant happened and they simply want to share with someone. By being that person who asks I have made a difference and I take great pride in that.

My inspirational patient told me that she sees everyone as beautiful. She reminded me to be kind to those who are unkind because they need it the most. Love and confidence may not seem to go hand in hand initially, but they do. To appear confident rather than conceited, we have to remember that there is something to love in everyone. It is hardest to see in people who don’t see that in themselves, but that is when it’s crucial.

Someone who lacks confidence will not take pride in what they do, they may feel insignificant. I would imagine that going through life feeling unhappy with yourself would make you at least somewhat unpleasant. It might be challenging to smile at someone walking by with a scowl on his face, but he is the one who needs to see your smile! That small gesture is a reminder that you see good in them even when they can’t see it.

Of course, there are some people who have confidence in themselves and not in others. Those are the ones who are especially difficult to reach. My personal example of this is a “good old boy,” an older, country raised man who thinks that he knows better than I do about everything because of his upbringing, years of experience, and possibly because he’s a man. He’s not alone. We have all encountered arrogant people. What makes them arrogant is that they have a falsely high opinion of their own abilities and a low opinion of others’. These people don’t seek out areas for self-improvement and they don’t see the good in others.

I’ve learned recently that the best way to approach these people is with the same sincerity as you do others.  Don’t allow arrogant people to cause you to lose site of the good things that are within each person. It may seem counter-productive to look for good in someone who only sees good in himself, but if you don’t you will become him. As challenging as it is, you have to maintain your ability to believe in him. You may never change that person, but they may end up having confidence in you and that is a start.

If you only believe in yourself and not in others, than you are arrogant. If you only believe in others and not yourself, than others will doubt you. You’ll encounter people who struggle with one or the other, or with both. Don’t lose your confidence- you have to believe in yourself and in others, especially when it’s challenging.

As part of a team, especially in roller derby, you have to trust your teammates. If you’re playing defense and you doubt the person you are in a wall with, what happens? You leave them and try to hold the jammer on your own, or you overcompensate and end up leaving a space for the jammer to slip through. If you had trusted your partner’s abilities, whatever they might be, then you would have been better off. If I am in a wall with a brand new girl at practice, I will probably tell her to hold the inside line and guard it with her life then I’ll play defense on the outside and help keep our wall protected. If the jammer is coming up and my partner has left some space on the inside line, I will move her to where she needs to be. If my partner misses the jammer and I don’t have time to re-trap then we’ll just reset and adapt for the next pass. It is okay to be realistic about her abilities, but the point is that I don’t jump the gun and leave her. Instead, I work with her; I know that she has the potential to be a strong member of my team, but not if I don’t give her every opportunity to learn.

As a jammer, I have to be confident in my abilities. When I line up, I see the first holes that I am going to take and I take them. If they close up, I am ready to find another way, or fight through. I am confident that I will get by each of the opposing blockers, and I am confident that my blockers will be able to hold the other jammer so I can get through before she does. As soon as I doubt that, I hesitate. Any jammer can tell you that if you hesitate when you get to the back of the pack you may end up stuck. If you doubt your abilities you give them enough time to wall up in front of you.

An important thing to remember about confidence on and off the track is that it has to be realistic. If I know that I am going up against a solid wall, I don’t doubt whether I can do it, I simply adjust my plan. Maybe I’ll need one person to start on offense to get me through, maybe I’ll need to keep fighting through while my blockers stay on defense, the point is that I won’t back down. For most people, especially new athletes, the problem isn’t being falsely sure of their abilities, it is the looming self-doubt that comes with being new to anything. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about the realistic part. Just know that you can’t fly through a wall of solid blockers just because you are confident. That is called a back block.

Everyone on your team will have both strengths and areas for improvement (including you) but play to the strengths! Remember that off the track you’re a team with everyone in the world; it’s just a much larger playing field!

Jul 272011

Last month, my team (The Red Stick Roller Derby Capitol Defenders) had our first official win of the season.

Actually, I’m not saying that right.  I’m making it sound formal, which is not how I feel about it at all.  If I were expressing it in a manner in line with my emotions, I ought to say something more like, We fucking WON!  We finally WON, Bitches! But either way, I guess you get the idea.  I’m excited, obviously.


But not as excited as Hitter, who jumped Madi, skates and all. (Photo Credit to AKoch Photography)



It’s been a hard season for us, full of injuries and absences and a constantly changing roster.  For its first 3 years, our league only had one team.  Red Stick, pure and simple.  At first, the growth of the league was too slow to truly trouble this set-up.  The girls would occasionally play an intra-league bout, but for the most part they worked on bulking up the roster of the single team, changing the line-ups slightly for each game.  And then, sometime during that 3rd year, we began to grow.  I was a part of that growth, part of the sudden influx of newbies skating around the far end of the rink with the refs, trying not too look too stupid or make too many waves.  My fresh meat class, which entered the rink for the first time in April of 2010 (I think?  Why don’t I have this written down??), was the first of several – the first set of Red Stick Ladies to receive official training before being thrown into the pack to sink or scrimmage.

Since that April, four full classes of freshies have passed their MSTs and become part of the league.  After the second of these classes, it became clear that we were finally getting big enough for two teams: an A team and a B team.  An All-Star roster (the Diables Rouges) and a roster for newer players.  It made sense; after all, the Southern region was expanding rapidly, with teams of all skill levels rising up all around us.  While the All-Stars worked on WFTDA certification by playing more advanced opponents, the newer ladies could hone their skills competing against the teams the All-Stars had played in the past, along with some of the greener teams sprouting up in the area.

Being a member of the B team hasn’t been easy.  During nearly every game this season we’ve received a thorough scrubbing, then gone on to watch our A-team sisters juke and block their way to glory, breaking past challenge after challenge to become a better unit, a better candidate for WFTDA status.

We were overcoming challenges too.  But our victories were small.  During one away game this year, we nearly cried from excitement when we managed to get beat by fewer than 100 points. It was literally the greatest thing that had ever happened.  Sometimes we could barely scrape together our thoughts when, during team pow-wow, our A-team coaches asked us what we thought had gone WELL during the bout.  “We fell down less?”  we’d venture.  Or, “We kept up with the pack!” (said with an air of surprise). Or, my personal favorite, “We seemed a little more like we knew what we were doing this time.”

So when we finally won our June bout, by over 100 points (check out THAT reversal!!), we barely knew how to react.  Mad Hitter doubled over in fits of laughter and crying, then threw herself flat onto the floor of the locker room.  C-Murda talked about whether she should laugh or cry, but then decided to shout instead.  Mauley Rinkwyld called absentee teammate TrAC/DC (who is, sadly, in Houston for the summer) and screamed into her voicemail.  I nearly suffocated A-team member Turbo Tyke with a victory hug when I caught her in the hallway between locker rooms, and I’m pretty sure I might’ve punched Jams P. Skullivan on the arm out of some weird testosterone-fueled need to seem more dude-like in my elation.  We slapped each others’ asses, hugged each other tight, and just generally effused about how excited we were to be together, to be playing, to be making progress, to be winning.

And we tempered our excitement, too, with anguish.  During the last few minutes of the game, Summer Squasher took two hard hits from two formidable blockers nearly

Summer showing her mad skills as a jammer (Photo Credit to AKoch Photography)

simultaneously and fell to the ground with what we would eventually learn was a broken tibia and a broken fibula.  By the end of the night, her husband (and our team doctor) Dr. Squasher was texting to tell us that the breaks would require surgery the next morning – a rod and a plate and some screws.  Summer’s playing was one of the highlights of the game.  As a blocker she had attacked the other team’s blockers with an efficiency and aggressiveness our humble B-team had never experienced.  And then, as a jammer in the second half, she continued her assault on the scoreboard, racking up points hopping through the pack as though she barely even had to touch the ground.  At one point during the night, I called her “Queen of the World.”  We saw her at her best, and then suddenly she was taken out.  We had won in part because of her, but she was carried away on a stretcher before we could share the elation.  And so we sent her texts, hoping she’d receive them from her hospital room.  We posted messages on her facebook wall and made plans to visit her as soon as we could.  We had TrAC, her derby wife, calling her from Houston, telling her we loved her and believed in her.  But still, we wanted her there, lying on the sweaty locker room floor next to us, taking in the excitement with her calm, steady manner.  We wanted her dancing at the after party with us, paragon of the derby belief that those who work hard deserve to play hard too.

That win was an important one for us – one that came at exactly the right moment.  The losing season had been causing our teamwork to suffer, sending us reeling in frustration and anger with each defeat.  Sometimes we lashed out at one another, and in the early days of the season we had sought hard for an answer, a scapegoat on which we could pin our disappointment.  We had worked our asses off, and losing felt like an insult to our efforts.  Surely it wasn’t our fault.  Surely outside forces were conspiring against us.  And then the big win came. After an entire season of feeling frustrated and splintered by losses, finally we found something we could agree on: winning felt good.  We liked winning.  We wanted to do it again, together.

And then, a month later, our elation went sour.

After a month of riding high on the wave of victory, we faced the same team on their home turf Saturday night.  And we lost. By 8 fucking points.

A switch-up like that is never easy.  Our win the month before had seemed so flawless and coordinated; we couldn’t understand why the same plays felt like they weren’t working, why our pairing seemed off and our packs seemed like loose collections of legs and arms rather than tight and conscious waterfalling machines.  When you’ve fought so hard for a win, only to turn around and lose to the same team a month later, you’re left with a lot of questions.  And in many ways, our reactions to the loss were as deeply varied as our reactions to the win. We wanted to scream.  We wanted to cry.  We wanted not to feel so overwhelingly failed.

And the thing about failure is that it feels so individual. When we made that win, we did it because we were together. We were a team.  All of a sudden, when we lost again, the fragile team-ocity we’d cultivated suddenly broke apart.  We needed someone to blame – and none of us wanted to be at fault.  We won together, but we wanted to believe that the loss belonged to one or two people, or – even better – one or two completely uncontrollable circumstances.  The calls were bad.  The rink was hot.  The opponent was stacked.  Surely it was anything but us.

We have one more bout, at home, on August 20th.  And I want us to win.  I want us to close out the season riding a high like the one we felt in June.  But more than that, I want us to feel like a team again.  I want us to be able to overcome the strains and cracks caused by an unexpected loss.  I want us to put it behind us, to remember that nobody’s perfect, and to remember that we need each other. I want us to be able to sacrifice our own egos for the good of the team.  Because, however things turn out, I want to walk away knowing that we protected our jammers at all costs, working seamlessly in packs, and fought our hearts out for our teammates from beginning to end, regardless of how we feel about each other off the track.

I love my Capitol Defenders, and I don’t want to see us split apart.  This is our last one of the season, girls.  Let’s prove that we belong together.

Me, Uni-Psycho, and C-Murda smiling BEFORE the big loss. Guess what? I love them just as much AFTER the loss. Go figure.

May 302011

This is a season of firsts for me.

My first Live Derby Girls blog! My first time subbing! My first season playing every position except pivot! My first engagement to a badass, derby-supporting man! My first time using five exclamation points in a single paragraph!

My first time purchasing a Kanye West album.

If the first time isn’t the best, it is always, always the most memorable.

Hi, I’m 9lb Hammer. I play for the Burn City Rollers of Auburn, AL. I’m a doctoral students, I teach college English, and I wrote a book about derby (that was reviewed by Villianelle, my interleague derby wife and favorite blogger!). I hate tomatoes, and I despise ketchup. I define myself by the amount of love my three cats give me. I I’m picky with my men (beardies are best) and with my skate wheels (Atoms, please).

I’m even pickier with my music.

I grew up listening to old time mountain music and mainstream country. (Anyone else remember Suzy Bogguss and Aaron Tippin?) In 8th grade, my cousin and I discovered The Beatles. We spent an entire week listening to Abbey Road; we didn’t even stop the CD when we slept, ate, or dug a hole outside for our time capsule. As I whipped through high school and began college, my musical tastes converged, eventually leading me to an appropriate apex: alternative country music.

Alt. country was—and still is—a perfect fit for me. I’ve always been a little bit country and a little bit rock-and-roll. (But not the Donny and Marie kind. Seriously.) The first time I heard a Ryan Adams’ song, I knew that this was the genre of music I’d been waiting to hear all my life. I fell deeply in love with Gram Parsons, The Jayhawks, and Old 97s. All of my friends liked, and for boyfriends, it was a requirement.

Unfortunately, I judged people who listened to pop, punk, metal, or rap; I even judged people who liked the same bands but different albums. Your favorite Wilco album is A Ghost is Born and not A.M.? I really don’t think our friendship is going to work. Like, whoa. No way.

And then I started derby. I started making friends who listened to everything from Metallica to Barney to Taylor Swift to Lady Gaga. The more I got to know my teammates, the more I realized, hey! Cool people can listen to pop music! Country music! Kids music! Metal! I even dated a ref who—gasp!—loves Wu Tang Clan. The more I skated, the more I realized that music is not the definitive measure of a person.

Then came the Kanye album.

I bought My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on a whim. It was payday, and I was browsing the entertainment section of Target. I’d heard that one of my favorite artists—Bon Iver—was featured on the new Kanye album, so I thought I’d take a chance. A risk. A leap.

On my first listen, I hated the album. Until this point, I’d never owned a hip-hop album. The only thing I knew about Kanye was that he spoke his mind, and I liked that. What I didn’t like was that a lot of his rhymes seemed like rhymes –for-rhymes-sake.

But I kept listening.

Eventually, I started discovering that the universal themes of the album could reach a recovering music snob like myself. Cure me, even. I fell in love with the songs one-by-one; I started appreciating how the highs and lows of the album created a pastiche of personalities and experiences; I let the words and the beats find their way into my hardened lo-fi heart.

So Saturday night, before I subbed for the very first time, I listened to MBDTF’s “Monster” on repeat. The song features a variety of heavy hitters: Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Kanye, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj. As I let the rhymes and beats seep through my skin, I got pumped. I got ready. I got fired the f. up.

During the bout, I played the song on repeat in my head. I didn’t hear the announcer, the mixed-up music, or the fans. (I did listen to the coach, though…promise.) As I skated, I pushed to the beat of “Gossip gossip/
N-ggas just stop it/
Everybody know (I’m a muthaf-cking monster).” When I jammed in the second half, lines from Nicki Minaj’s verse echoed between my ears: “You could be the King but watch the Queen conquer
/O.K. first things first I’ll eat your brains
/Then I’mma start rocking gold teeth and fangs
/Cause that’s what a muthaf-cking monster do. ”

And you know what? I had a great bout. A great muthaf-cking bout. I was a monster.

(I’m pretty sure it’s because I had a more badass earbug than Kathy Mattea’s “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.” )

At the close of “Monster,” my man Bon Iver croons “So I-I am headed home.” I know that I will always listen to music. I also know that no matter how many times I will sub or move, I will always consider Burn City my home team.

But it’s good to shake everything up sometimes. It’s good to be a muthaf-cking monster.

May 142011

Let me begin by saying that we’re not going to cover wheels here. I know, I know. There’s nothing I’d like more than to spill my guts about wheel hardness/softness/grippiness… etc. I’m not going to talk about it mainly because wheels deserve a post all their own but also because I have relatively limited knowledge about the diversity of wheels. Granted, I know more than freshmeat, but I’d rather let a vet really do justice to the all-powerful DERBY WHEEL. (Yes. All in caps because wheels deserve it.)

Same thing goes for skates, but I’ll go on the record with my setup – Riedell Vixens with 88A Radar Flatouts and 93A Atom Jukes. I dare you to try that combo and not have multiple feetgasms. Truth.


Anyway, let’s talk about the other part of Derby Gear. The things that draw some women to the sport and then the things that eventually keep them there.



Fucking fishnet. Hell yes. I’ll be honest and say that the look of derby was attractive to me. The dichotomy of badass motherfucking women in clothes that told an entirely different story oddly fascinated me. I know a lot of people have problems with the scantily-clad nature of the sport, that it’s a “sexification” of female athletes (and we are athletes), but then again not all teams wear skin-tight, ripped midriffs with cheek-accentuating panties that say “EAT IT.” Honestly, if I had the ass for that, I’d be totally onboard. Another part of me really loves the stream-lined uniforms of teams like Gotham City or Philly’s Broadstreet Butchers. Either way, “accessorizing” seems to be a really important part of the draw to derby. Even if your team has a strict uniform at bouts, practices are an entirely different story. I can’t count how many times someone’s come to practice with new knee-high glitter socks and everyone shat their panties. New, unique fishnet? Cause for a celebration! Cute derby shirt with clever quip? TIME FOR A SHOPPING TRIP.

 You pick a name and then adorn yourself with the clothes that help define that name… in the beginning, that is. I almost bankrupted myself on fishnet and knee-high socks in the first two months. But once you’ve emptied all of your drawers of the clothes from your “former life” and refilled them with nothing but DERBY, you come to the realization that it’s not the clothes that make the name – it’s the skater. Sure, dressing up is fun and there’s nothing prettier than upper thigh rinkrash in the shape of big diamonds, but once you’ve tested all of the different types of accessories, you streamline. You find what you like, what’s comfortable, and what (possibly) helps make you a better skater.

In the beginning, I wore fishnet, thick knee-high socks, derby panties under shorts (and then REAL panties under them), and any one of a thousand derby-related shirts I’d bought. I also started with the same gear any girl probably starts with – cheap shit from Academy. I had no idea what Killer 187′s were. I didn’t know what Protec or Triple 8 was. I thought, “Hmm. I’ll need to keep from breaking my ass and face open, so I’ll just get this $25 package that includes everything I need.”

Yeah. Well $25 gear is….. $25 protection. The first practice, I tried to do a Tomahawk and did something so weird to my knee that there probably isn’t a name for the move. THE FIRST PRACTICE. Welcome to Lameville, I’m the Mayor – Lamey McLamerson. I showed up to the next practice even though I couldn’t skate because I didn’t want my team to think, “Oh great. Another lame-ass new chick who can’t handle it.” So I got back in there and upgraded.




Feisty Psyche

My wonderful, fantastically-giving friend Feisty Psyche (Broadstreet Butchers) sent me an old set of her Killers. LOVE. I still have knee trouble, but doing the Rockstar on Killers is like floating on fucking clouds. The kneepads I had before were like spoons taped to your knees – not much coverage. She also sent me some Riedell skates that ended up being too small, but don’t you just love how giving the women of derby can be?

I have a Triple 8 helmet and am currently upgrading my elbow pads andwrist guards. My old man (Sofa King Bad) uses Protec, which is what I’ll probably go with. I can’t stress enough how important getting good, solid gear is. Three weeks ago, I almost broke my wrist in a bout because the spoon tore out of my right (and cheap) wristguard right before I went down.

Back of fingers? MEET FOREARM.

As for the clothes - I now  wear thin, black leggings cut off at the knee, ankle socks, and bout panties. For a top, I wear a black/white wifebeater. Why? Because it was fucking hot wearing all of that other shit. And while I still love the look of fishnet, I prefer the leggings because of the way I do my crossovers. Let me keep it real by saying I’m not a pixie blocker. I’m a buxom, red-blooded BLOCKER and my crossovers became smoother because of the leggings. Does everyone have that issue? Probably not, but I’ve found my comfort-clothes and I’m sticking with them.

Ok, so the moral of the story is – flash and glitter might be what draws women to derby, but it’s the comfort and safety (funny enough) that keep them there, because believe me – there would BE no Coma Splice if my gear hadn’t evolved with my skating.

Apr 302011

This is not going to be a happyhappyjoyjoy post. It’s not going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the wonderous sport we all know and love and it’s not going to lead you to some revelation about yourself or derby.

This is a look at how I was (and probably still am) a total n00b.

For those of you who are slightly to moderately internet-dyslexic, according to “Lord Emperor” of, a n00b is “A[sic] inexperienced and/or ignorant or unskilled person.”

Ok, so anyone entering into derby would be considered a n00b, in a way. I remember when I first heard of derby I thought it was for badasses. And I don’t mean like, sassy women who “tell it like it is” or something, but women who were so amazingly confident in themselves that they didn’t HAVE to tell anyone how it was because it didn’t change the TRUTH of it all. “It,” as it was, existed with or without the telling of it. Women so amazingly confident in themselves and the other women they surrounded themselves with that they all got along amazingly because of this unspoken truth.

Right, so you see how I was n00bish, huh? Yeah.

So right off the bat, I saw how wrong I was. The women I skate with are amazing, make no mistake about that, but I made the mistake of buying into this mythical derby ideal that doesn’t fucking exist. Granted, my derby family is different than all of my “normal” friends and family and that’s why I love them. They love me because I’m not “normal” either. How can normal exist in derby anyway? It takes a special kind of girl to wake up in the morning and say, “Today’s a good day to get my ass handed to me in the rink.” And you always love your teammates for putting you there and making you stronger for it.

But we’ve already covered this, haven’t we? trACDC did a rock-solid job on the taboo involved in your derby family. But what about other teams? What about other leagues?

So you see, I learned early-on that I had a misguided idea of what a derby girl is, but I still assumed that other teams filled with similar-minded women could still uphold that sense of comaraderie I’d always heard about. If you’ve skated in even a single bout, you know exactly what I’m talking about: both teams skate their asses off, knock each other into next week, then party together like they’re long lost sorority sisters or something. I assumed every bout was like this since derby has always seemed like a left-of-center sorority to me. Fucked up chicks who are sisters because we’ve all taken the same beatings, bruises, broken bones, and rink rash. It connects us in a way that is unbreakable, right?

Until you meet the one team that doesn’t operate that way. A team that doesn’t adhere to this supposed code and plays, well, however the hell they want. And that’s ok. It’s the real world and we’re all big girls, so we can pull our glitter-panties up and be big girls about it. It doesn’t take away from the fact that unsportswomanlike conduct still pisses you off.  

See to me, that sense of interleague comaraderie is an important part of what derby is. And yeah, maybe that’s why I’m still a n00b, but if that’s the case, then I’m ok with that. I want to be friends with the other team (after the bout, of course). I want to be able to go up to the tiny girl who somehow managed to put me on my ass and say, “DAMN. That was awesome,” and I want her to be able to do the same thing. What I don’t want is to wonder if I’m going to have to defend myself from a fight-happy derby girl at the afterparty. I don’t want to wonder if one of their fans are going to jump me when I leave the bout. That’s not what derby is about.

I don’t know, I think my biggest rant here is that once you’re a “derby girl,” you sort of start assuming a lot of things about a lot of people. You assume that someone else who has earned the same title respects the sport as much as you do. You assume that she has also worked her ass off like you did and that she wants to play as fair as she can – like you do. We assume the best in all of these women because we want them to assume the same is true about us. The thing is – assumptions are for assholes because you can’t assume anything about anyone because we are not all cut from the same cloth, ya dig?

So yeah, I’m still learning. I’m still discovering the idiosyncracies of the women on my own team while also trying to figure out how to navigate the testy waters of other teams. I wouldn’t trade anything I’ve learned/bruised/broken in derby because, like every other experience in my life, it’s shaping who I’m becoming…. and I kinda’like that girl.