Little Queen Trash Mouth
I had talked about joining Derby the way one talks about cleaning their house; could you imagine? Think of how GREAT you would feel. Accomplishing things feels good, right? If you’re as lazy as I am, it’ll be a big task… such a big task. I’m super interested, don’t get me wrong, but like… maybe tomorrow?
I think the first time I said that was 2011, and for perspective, I only attended my first bout as a SPECTATOR in 2013. Last bout of the season, the co-ed one, I think… it was September? End of October I got a message from a player that I know from our years of hockey together, and I make one of those infamous rash ‘3AM decisions’ to make a huge financial commitment, only this time I had to drag my socially-anxious definitely-awkward butt outside TWICE A WEEK to go EXERCISE, and I didn’t get a cool new device to blend fruit with or make my eyelashes really big.
And so, I showed up on my first night. Everyone else had been at it for a few weeks and knew each other already, which did nothing to help my nerves. My skates were in NO WAY derby ready and barely fit, my wheels were too sticky for the floor, and I only had a too-big hockey helmet with a not-removable face mask. My mouth guard was malformed and made for someone with a HUGE mouth. I wasn’t allowed to practice falls until I had better knee-pads. I put my wrist guards on BACKWARDS for the first week… I have no excuse for that one.
Any doubt which one I am? Backwards wrist guards included in photo. No joke. No one told me.
I went, week after week, to skate around the track and learn how NOT to die, despite the fact that my career as a jammer would mean that killing me would always be the #1 goal of the other team.
My wheels made it impossible to stop at any speed, I had to rely on gravity to slow me down. I had no idea what the rules of the game even were. I don’t think I ever spoke, I’ve always had a bit of difficulty around new people… I have no idea why I kept showing up. Stubbornness, maybe. An obsession with leggings, probably. Habit, mostly.
And somewhere along the line I learned to absolutely love this game.
Weeks turned to months, and I moved from Learn-to-Skate to Fresh Meat to my current home with the Pirates.
I went to a Siren’s practice once, essentially got murdered. It was a lot of fun. I think my right lung collapsed.
I’ve shown off risqué placed bruises at my corporate office building … Accidentally once in front of my millionaire CEO ..You know the one.
I’ve had to cancel plans with friends because of injury.
I admit I have played the “I’m limping, make me supper” card a few hundred times with my partner.
I’ve had to sit out jams because my feet were bleeding.
I’ve pulled my groin so many times it’s lost any chance at becoming humorous.
It’s been super worth every second spent and ounce of blood lost.
I’ve met more than one woman who can bench-press me for a joke, one of whom tried.
I’ve gotten drunk with skaters who’ve just beaten the shit out of me, and high-fived them over fresh bruises they gave me on the track.
I’ve had opponent players congratulate me on “improving my skills” since our last game while simultaneously pounding my sternum as hard as they could with their shoulder. (Favorite moment thus far, tbh)
I was in a lot of pain about thirty seconds after this photo was taken.
I’ve been bit, licked, groped and exposed by teammates. Usually by accident. Usually.
I’ve watched teammates work their asses off, and succeed, countless times at countless goals.
I’ve met people from all walks of life find a home in massive, global community of bad-asses, whether as skaters, NSOs, refs or fans, people I would have probably had no way of meeting otherwise, but I’m so glad I’ve been able to. All because we strapped some wheels to our feet and decided to hit each other.
I’m going to keep the sap fest short and just tell you to join Derby, okay? In any way you can, come be a part of this magnificent beast of a sport.
Clean your damn house.