I am the same as all new roller derby girls-I love everything about roller derby: the sport, the clothes, the people, the support from the people, the encouragement to be yourself. But one thing I LOOOOVE in particular is the concept of the derby wife. Personally, I am a little shocked that the other bloggers for Live! Derby! Girls! didn’t jump right in with a gratuitous post about derby wives. Roller derby wives are sometimes hard to explain to non-roller derby people. You know I get the Look and the lesbian question again and again.*sigh* I found this definition from the Rollercon website:
“A derby wife is quite simply this -
She is the one person in this whole sport of roller derby that the very instant you looked at her, you felt like you’d known her since you were a fetus. She looked just like your best friend from fifth grade, or something she did reminded you of all the things you ever liked in anyone else.
She is the first person you’d call if you ever need to get bailed out of jail. She’s the one who will be holding back your hair when you puke after drinking too much, and she won’t let anyone take your picture while doing it.
She’ll ride in the ambulance with you when you lose a tooth, break your wrist, or tear your ACL. She’ll make you laugh the whole way to the hospital, try to steal your pain medication (lovingly), and sneak your favorite food and a beer into recovery. She’ll make her actual husband understand that if he loves her, he’s gonna have to put up with you, too, no matter how many times you come over forcing him to revisit all the derby-related shows on his Tivo that you missed. She may not even be your best friend in the league or the sport, but she’d be the one you know will be the first one to back you up, even if you’re dead wrong. She’ll just tell you you’ve lost your fucking mind later in private, possibly kick your ass alittle bit, and then be the only one who could ever talk your hotheaded ass into some reason. If you can find more than one derby wife who can meet those needs, then you are lucky indeed, but myself? I’m a one derby wife gal.”
This post on the Rollercon website also notes the myth (I say myth, cause how could this not have been in existance since the dawn of roller derby?!?!?!) of how the concept of the derby wife came to be:
“The tradition started in November 2003, when a load of Derby Dolls went to see the first AZRD bout and the derby wife concept was born.
Now, see, we Derby Dolls (and I imagine/KNOW a whole lot of the rest of you out there) really like to drink. Some of us have been a little further in the barrel than others, and some of us have done so on a 6 hour van trip to Phoenix. Well, my dear friend Evil E and I initiated both the world’s most ill-advised drinking contest and what was very likely the first verified pairing of derby “wives” called as such on that very trip.
Did I mentioned that I love this concept? As a feminist and a wife with a non-derby spouse, this idea cuts me to the bone because it is a non-sexual (usually!) relationship that you actively choose to be in with another women (typically a woman, but it can be a male too!). Derby marriage is a public announcement that you will support your wife, no matter what, through things derby related or not. For me, it is a unique spin on the heteronormative ideal relationship. Derby marriage takes the best of a legal marriage and applies it to the most wonderful sport on earth AND to your girlfriends. I love that we can openly display love, affection, and commitment! It kinda, and you can argue with me on this if you want, it kinda takes what is kept behind closed doors (or at least not discussed)- what’s considered “personal” in a traditional marriage-and displays flaunts it. How much more awesome can this get?!? PROPSAL STORIES!!! You know you love to tell your story. Be sure to leave it in the comments!!! Everyone loves a good proposal story!
As for my story: I have derby wives-yes that’s plural! One day after practice, it was the Tuesday before our first bout ever, two of my favorite teammates and fellow freshmeat, Sour Patch Kid and Hanna Konda (who were already married to each other-in the derby sense, of course), got down on one knee and simultaneously asked, “Will you marry us?” My little derby heart melted and I of course said yes. We jumped and hugged and got a little teary eyed. It was a beautiful moment of platonic sister love.
Our league, Red Stick Roller Derby has several epic pairings. I have to mention Tricky La
Rouge and Moxie Balboa, whom I have always been jealous of their solid derby marriage-they look so happy together! There is Whatta Tuesday and Zarathrustya, who complement each other beautifully. Another unique relationship set, much like my own, is Julie Kablooie and Eve N. Better and Panda Scare. Interestingly, Panda is also married (derby wife-style) to male ref Skunk Roller. Also, several of the newer players are paired up: Madie Sans Merci and Crumble Bee, Dizz Integrator and Blitz….the list of loving supportive friendships goes on and on. It’s beautiful that we all willingly commit to each other in this way. I also find it inspiring that our team takes the uniqueness of derby to heart-we will never take any derby tradition as a hard and fast rule. To do so would go against the very essence of roller derby. So go forth and be polyamorous in your derby marriages, take a derby mistress, a derby girlfriend, break the derby mold and have a mixed (male/female) marriage, all in the name of love. What could be wrong with that!