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.

May 072010

Fun facts for Regular Readers:

Toothbrushes I currently call mine: 5

Number of locations where these toothbrushes reside: 5.

Item I carry with me at all times these days: mascara.

Priorities? Erhm…

Moving on.

People, I’ve been super sick for about five days now, and I might as well just lay that out right away, so you’ll know why this post I’m launching into turns out so scattered and crazy-sounding. I’ve been coughing like a madwoman, ripping huge hacks out of my increasingly sore throat, my nose has been pouring like goddamn Niagara, I’ve been feverish and consequently cranky, I’ve been sleepless and consequently depressed. I’ve been laying in bed like a loser and weeping like a little kid, which of course has aggravated my stupid, chronically bad neck.

Worst of all, I can’t seem to STOP. WHINING.

Gold pills to "increase your self-worth!"

But actually, as of yesterday, things started looking up. I made a flurry of doctor’s appointments, including my first with a chiropractor (oh my, I’m a little in love with that man now), and a visit to my totally generous ear, nose, and throat (ENT) guy, who graced me with two steroid shots, some magic decongesting nasal spray, and two antibiotic prescriptions (man, he’s easy). I also have plans for a dental cleaning and a therapist appointment (I know, right? what took so long?). I’m getting myself together, here.

Last night’s RSRD practice, however, was a little bit of a setback, similar to the setback I experienced

The bench is pretty comfy when you're not in a bout

during our last bout. I’d gotten those steroid shots and was feeling FAN-EFFING-TASTIC! Until I realized that fake, drugged fan-tastic doesn’t really translate into, like, actual energy. By midway through practice, I was hacking and feverish again, and my back started spasming in a strange, serious way, in a spot where I’ve never had trouble before (yeah, I know – familiar story, post-chiropractor-visit). So. Where I would usually push myself through, I actually sat down. I put my ass on the bench and just watched my girls for the rest of practice. I felt guilty, like I really should have been out there, since my leg wasn’t broken or anything, but I think just sitting back for a minute was really good for me. For one thing, I stopped thinking about my own performance and got to check out and appreciate everyone else (especially useful since I pivot sometimes). The following is a list of things I learned. Actually, I already knew all these things, but each of them was reinforced last night, in a serious way.

  1. My girls are TOUGH BITCHES. Oh my god, we had so many incidents last night – a busted knee, a hurt shoulder, a banged head. Why? Because we’re injury-prone? Hell, no. Because RSRD doesn’t let up. RSRD beats on whoever’s there – even if it’s ourselves –so we can get better and better and eventually just totally dominate the Gulf Coast. Yeah, I said it. I’ll be watching from up North and can’t wait to see it happen.
  2. Our newer girls ROCK. The group I’m talking about here is the Capitol Offenders, our newly-christened team of new-but-not-freshmeat skaters who constitute what might be called a “B-team” on other leagues. This group includes a lot of post-Whip It people who joined us in or around October 2009, and so many of them have progressed at lightning speed. It’s a little frightening, actually. All of us senior skaters should be well aware that we need to step it up to be sure we keep our slots on the travel roster.
  3. Bad attitudes are surmountable. So, people were, let’s say, a bit cranky in general, at the beginning of practice (I contributed, I admit). I don’t think anyone would argue with me on this one. I don’t know what the hell was wrong with us as a group, nor do I know why we so often bring our pouty faces to practice on the same night. However, eventually everything shaped up, I think, and scrimmaging at the end of practice seemed to go pretty well and be quite productive.
  4. Sitting back and just watching some derby, and not having to sweat, strain, hit the floor, and yell constantly is actually really, really, seductively, awesome. Like really. I can’t let myself think that sitting out again is an option, because I can see now why it’s so tempting. So, I’m not suggesting that you let yourself wimp out during practice when really, you could be skating, but if you have the opportunity to just watch your team sometime, take it. You get that little bursting-with-pride feeling in the chest, and you get to know your teammates’ styles of play a bit better. Next weekend, Capitol Offenders will play Lafayette, LA’s Acadiana Good Times Rollers, and I can’t wait to sit back with a beer and cheer them on.

Photo Credits: geekologie.com, The Sun Star