Meecher MKR - Roller Derby As Religion And The Birth Of The Derby Saints

There are plenty of derby men and women who would willingly tell you that Roller Derby has done no less than save their souls.  This sport stirs a personal passion in so many that is unrivaled in the sport world. Truly, Roller Derby often goes beyond the track, and into the greater community, with teams participating in charities, spearheading fundraisers and connecting families. These qualities seem almost religious to me. And surely, the commitment, sacrifice, selflessness and desire to better one’s self, are all virtues that span between the church and rink.

 

For our team, there is often a choice made between church and skate.  Driving to practice one Wednesday night, I saw the churches lit up, ready to accept those coming for bible study.  Again on Sunday morning, making my way to practice, I watched the parish parking lots filling and people in their Sunday best, filing into the buildings of ivory and stained glass. For me, there was no choice. Walking into the skating rink equals the feeling of sanctuary that others feel when they step through the welcoming doors of their local place of worship.  Lacing up and hearing the rip of my Velcro as I put on my gear, is as close as I need to get to prayer. My Sunday best usually consists of sweat wicking fabrics and a high spandex content. And I couldn’t be more at peace.

 

As an artist, whatever I’m living in my life has to find its way out through my artwork eventually. So, as Roller Derby quickly took over, I was filled with the need to express it on the page.  There are plenty of good Roller Derby centered artists in the world. The internet is littered with pin-up poses, blood drenched bad-asses, freeze framed actions shots and every one with all the right curves and none of the smelly funk of sweaty gear.  I tried to join this group, but try as I might, I could not create one decent, strangely posed, scantily clad, exceedingly voluptuous derby girl.  I was a failure. 

 

It was on one of the drives to practice, pondering in church traffic, that I realized why I was having such a hard time.  Roller Derby wasn’t some place I went to feel sexy. And while I play with some very fine looking ladies, (Star City Roller Girls, rawr!) sex appeal is not the forefront in any of our strategies.  But devotion, now that made sense to me. As surely as we worship the great derby players in the world, we aspire to be as strong and talented as them. We give our bodies and minds over to the sport and our teams. That made sense.  Roller Derby didn’t need more pin-up art, it needed something tongue and cheek that spoke to the passion that people felt about it.  We needed our own, Passion of the Rink.


So, the first Holy Roller Derby Saints were created and slowly gained some followers. I was encouraged and warmed by the support I received from other derby lovers I knew online. I realized I had found the connection between my two loves, Art and Roller Derby.

 

But then something terribly sad happened.  A wonderful derby girl had a severe asthma attack and tragically passed away. She ran a Fresh Meat group on Facebook, where Freshies could vent, ask questions and share their triumphs. She was an inspiration and support to so many of us around the world, myself included.  The outpouring of love, and the desire to honor her in the wake of this tragedy spread quickly over the web, and the globe.  Then I was asked to make her the Patron Saint of Fresh Meat. In my sadness, I jumped on the chance to do some small kindness for a woman who had meant so much to so many, and created this:

This image has already been printed on buttons, t-shirts and stickers. It’s being sold literally around the world in the US, the UK,  in Canada, Australia, and Portugal to just name a few and with all the proceeds going to our fallen derby girl’s family and a charity in Louisa’s name.

 

If you’d like to support this cause and remember Louisa you can pick up a sticker here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184213947/large-4inch-and-small-2-inch-decal-for?ref=shop_home_active_1


You can contact Lucid Lou at Twelve Thirty Five Skate Co. to get a T-shirt with your donation going to the cause, by contacting her here: http://www.twelvethirtyfourskateco.com/

 

If you’d like to give directly to the fund for Louisa’s family, please click this link: http://www.gofundme.com/7vv3ig

Or if you'd like access to the hi-resolution version of the Patron Saint of Fresh Meat so you can start your own fundraising in Louisa's honor, contact me on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/meechermaker


While I was wish the Patron Saint of Fresh Meat never had to be created, I feel honored to have my work supporting and remembering such a passionate and kind Derby Player. Her Facebook Group will be kept going strong and you can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawmeatsydney/

 

As for the rest of my Derby Saints, they are happily growing and showing up in color now.  You can follow my work on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/meechermaker

 

And find my work for sale in many awesome forms, (yes, please, I DO need a Derby Saint mug and Hoodie!) at: www.society6.com/meechermade 

I'm working with some other derby girls and businesses to make the Derby Saints available as decals, t-shirts and possibly coloring books and water bottles. So follow my page to stay involved! The Derby Saints are just getting started.

 

I’d love to continue to share my love of Roller Derby and Art with the world. If you are looking for an image for charity, feel free to contact me. I’m also readily accepting commissions, if you’re rethinking your team logo, or want some cool merchandise for your team, talk to me. I can also alter the existing Saints to fit your needs because I know you want to see the “Queen of the Rink” in your team colors. I can also do private, personal commissions, because everyone wants to see their Derby Persona in stained glass. Feel free to contact me through my Facebook page with any questions and ideas.

As always, I’m looking for your thoughts and comments. 

 

And do me a favor? At your next practice, hug every one of your Derby Sisters and Brothers.  You wouldn’t be doing what you love without them there. Actually, take a moment today to hug everyone you love. We are so busy running or skating around, we sometimes forget how fleeting and precious life really is, and don’t always remember to let people know how important to us they really are.  Make up for that today.  Be Derby Strong. Spread the Derby Love. And remember: 

About The Author

DOB: 12/6/1984
Leagues: Bio:

Current new skater for WFTDA apprentice league based in Roanoke, VA called Star City Roller Girls. I will be celebrating two years of derby in June 2015. Roller Derby is a driving force in my daily life and my derby sisters are an inspiration both on and off the track.


DERBY TODAY
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