Feb 232011
 

geared upSo, I’m new here.

Well, I’m new all around. But I’d really like to start making my mark in the wonderful world of derby. Or rather, I’d like the wonderful world of derby to start making a mark on me.

But let’s be honest for a second here. Derby has already started making a mark on me. In fact, it did the first time I saw a derby bout. Enough of a mark that I decided that derby was something I needed to get into, regardless of the fact that I was out of shape and that I’m a socially awkward and shy person. So I did. And I’m never going to look back.

I must admit, roller derby is not something I ever thought I’d be interested in. It’s certainly not something I ever thought I’d be involved with. After all, I’m not exactly the type of girl that would ever be seen in fishnets or hot pants. I don’t really do the “girly” thing, and I admit my first (incorrect) impression of derby was that it was a sport for girly girls. Yet here I am, two bouts in, anxiously awaiting the next time I strap on my skates, counting the seconds until I can leave my heart out on the flat track.

I’ve been involved with sports my whole life but I can honestly say that roller derby is the most physically and mentally demanding sport I’ve ever done. And there has not been a single second that I’ve regretted joining the league. The rewards I reap make it completely worth all the pain. Plus, because of this sport, I’ve been introduced to the most wonderful group of people I could have ever hoped to meet. These girls feel like family to me. No, scratch that, they ARE family.

When I entered the skating rink as fresh meat back in October, I was completely terrified. I’m not really good with social situations or engaging new people in conversation. Typically, I’m the kind of person that hides in a corner and fades into the background. Thankfully I was welcomed almost immediately. I was even invited out for post-practice drinks. I’ve never felt so accepted before. And I’ve never felt so sure that I made the right decision than I did after that first practice. Sure, it hurt. And I didn’t know if I’d be physically up to the challenge since I’d be mostly sedentary for ten years. But I knew I wanted to be a part of this. I wasn’t going to give up. I decided the first night that there was nothing I wanted more than to be a member of Red Stick Roller Derby. Now, just a few months later, here I am. And I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

lead jammer

There have been a few moments in my life that I have considered the proudest I’ve ever felt. Now I believe the proudest moment of my life so far is the first time I skated up to the jammer line in my very first bout. I get that feeling of pride every time I skate up to the jammer line. That’s a feeling I want to hold on to.

Becoming a member of the derby team was like a dream come true, even though it was a dream I never knew I had. Derby is the best thing I’ve ever done with my life, hands down. Thanks to derby I finally feel like I really belong somewhere. Even though it’s not easy (I’ve suffered a few minor injuries so far), it’s worth it. No matter how difficult it gets, I’ll never let myself give up. Because I am a derby girl. And nothing is going to stop me from being a derby girl.

Share

True Love

 Posted by at 8:00 am  4 Responses »
Apr 242010
 

RSRD *hearts* MRV

I am a woman. I am a woman who has friends. I LOVE that I can say that. Logically speaking, it would be easy for me to have friends who are women , since we have this basic gender thing in common. Similarly, logic would hold that when I was a girl, I would have friends who were girls as well. Well, clearly our world is not always logical. As a girl, teenager, and finally a young woman, I failed miserably at obtaining and maintaining girl friends. As a child, there were a small handful of neighborhood girls I was friends with, each in their own time. I was never surrounded by the gaggle of girls I saw swarming some of the more popular girls. Rather, my friend and I would tromp around outside and see what the neighborhood boys were getting into. Eventually, my friend would find more popular friends and I was left to tromp after the neighborhood boys myself. As a teenager, this scenario didn’t change much. It went from tromping outside to exploring neighboring towns in our cars. Always had more guy friends than girls. I filled up that need for a good girl friend with an aggressive swagger that actually probably scared away any potential BFFs. I found myself in college working full time and going to school full time, always had my head down trying to make the right choices to get school paid for and money saved, that I missed that college experience. In a way, I have mourned this perpetual absence of “the friend experience” for a long time now. I would get terribly envious when my classmates or coworkers would talk about recent trips they took with friends or concerts they saw. As the years passed and I married my spouse and we started a family, I had even fewer opportunities to meet people and make lasting friendships.  Most of the other wives and mothers I would meet  at work or through my husband’s friends already had huge and complex social lives with girls they had known since infancy-or so it felt. I was a lonely lonely duck.

That is, until my current best friends came into my life. (Of course it’s roller derby. It’s ALWAYS roller derby !!) I had a great conversation with one of my good friends Tank Goodness about why I am so in love with being around not only my teammates, but most roller derby players. Her thought was that we are a ragtag bunch of girls who never made friends with girls growing up and we somehow made it through childhood and adolescence and crazily enough, we found each other. I had to agree with her. Sometimes I feel like it is out of sheer luck that we all found each other. Of course there are plenty of derbies who were the queen bees of their respective schools, childhoods. And more power to you, we learn how to be great girlfriends from you. Thank you. But I want to wax poetic and relax into the idea that these women I have met are like a comfortable, down -filled chair that envelopes me when I wasn’t aware I was weary. We wrap our arms around each other and offer love and support even when we don’t know what’s wrong. Interestingly, sometimes my teammates will ask what’s wrong, but usually they don’t-they just offer their attention and support where it is needed, a reason is not necessary.

my true loves, my team

It’s wild to me because I have only be in derby since October and I have made the best friends I have ever had in my life with some of these girls….and with all the others, I can’t wait to get to know them better. Check out our Facebook statuses and you will see what I mean. My Facebook wall is littered with affirmations of all different sorts from my team. Platonic exclamations of love such as “You did awesome tonight!“ and “I need some Kittie Fantastik!!!“ rock my world and fill my heart to brimming. Truly, this is the amazing thing about roller derby-or maybe it’s just my team!-the very open, supportive, affectionate, loving women here are all willing to embrace you, who you are, and who you want to be. In this day and age of cattiness, bullies, queen bees, and all-around toxic-ness, I found dozens of BFFs in the most aggressive, physical sport for women. Who says we are scary bitches?

Share
Apr 142010
 

When I started roller derby, I was living in southern Mississippi with my alcoholic mother. I was trying to pull my life together after splitting with my husband of seven years whom I’d been with for eleven. Our two young sons stayed

mmm

with their dad in Maryland. I was broke, lonely, trying to get my shit together. I was sad. 
 
I was stepping in my mama’s urine in the middle of the night. I was fucking people that didn’t deserve to put a finger up my twat. I was eating Mini-Wheats every night for supper. I liked Mini-Wheats. I liked them because I could grab them quick and dart to my room in case my mom got up drunk, half naked, and stumbling down the hall way toward my kitchen.

My soul certainly needed saving; and then, there she was: beautiful roller derby.

I heard about the Mississippi Roller Girls while visiting friends in Nashville. I got home, looked them up on myspace, sent a couple emails, and was watching a practice before I knew it. My obsession was instantaneous. It was the release I needed. They were sliding and knee-falling and colliding into each other. I wanted to start that day. There were so many amazing and beautiful women just a’laughin and hollerin. It was a small league. Only about 10 skaters. I was instantly welcomed and encouraged. My mom could feel my enthusiasm. She gave me her credit card and told me to order skates. She was tremendously drunk, of course, (and I could have bought a moped) but I opted for the low price r3’s.

I began practice a week later.

Joining the league was the first healthy thing I had done for myself since I hopped in a rental car and kissed Maryland (and a decade long relationship) goodbye. With a renewed sense of optimism, purpose, and courage, I strapped on my skates and started my journey.

Share

At Ease, Finally

 Posted by at 8:00 am  No Responses »
Apr 122010
 

I think I have a lot of things to say.

I have an independent, me-centric blog out there, you know, but no one reads it. People are going to read this. You’re reading it, I think, unless you’re stoned and just seeing it. I get that, though.

I’d like to put things out on Al Gore’s internet that matter and that touch people, and I’d like to do it in a way that isn’t me-centric. Here’s my effort to create something that might as well have been written by you, because we folks who walk upright on our two legs experience a lot of the same shit, even though we experience a lot of different shit.

sup baby

Roller derby is that perfect clash and blend of collectivism and individualism. It’s like if Japan and America got married and their rollerbaby was like, Hey, teammate. We’re so the same because we’re not the same as anybody else so lets drink some stuff and skate and celebrate it. Actually, RSRD’s bylaws would forbid the rollerbaby to do it in that order, but the rollerbaby would be so cool that it wouldn’t care.

What am I saying?

I’m saying that I don’t fit into any one world, which makes me ironically like a lot of people. A handful of these people reconcile this issue by playing roller derby.  I get together with these people at roller rinks, bars, homes, parades: anyplace that permits public hotpanting. No matter the place, it feels a lot like a womb. Warm and comfortable.

With these people, I can say, I haven’t been to mass in a while, and it makes feel guilty. Or I think I might throw up all that Patron. Or Should I wear these Spiderman boy underwear even though you can see my cellulite and my mom will scold me for it?

My teammates don’t always get me, but they get not being gotten. They know what it’s like to feel inconsistent, because work and home sometimes don’t get them.

I hope you get this. If you play roller derby, I’m sure you do. Actually, I take that back. If you’re not just catholic or just a professional or just any one thing, then you already understand what it’s like to need a space that accepts all the parts of you without, itself, feeling threatened.

It’s like finding a lover who adores your smile as much as your absurdly nourished love handles. That’s love. It’s apparently what I’ve been searching for for a while now. It’s roller derby.

Share