Meecher MKR - Roller Derby Saves Another Life

I had never in my adult life put on a pair of roller skates before my first practice with the Star City Roller Girls. I came to the rink that day terrified. It wasn't a fresh meat camp, just a team full of vets zooming around the track, and one other girl who coincidentally was starting the same day as me.

Thank goodness for their fresh meat pads, as smelly as they were, because I had nothing. No gear, no skills and no idea what I was getting into. I strapped on rental skates, clinging to walls and stiffening my knees. I hobbled onto the track feeling like the friendless fat kid back in elementary school again. I was sure everyone was looking at me, wondering why I was there. Judging every fall, flail and desperate stride I made.

Who did I think I was anyway? I wasn't an athlete, I didn't know much about the sport, and I wasn't exactly the toughest stuff in the world. I was a stay at home mom with a one year old, still clinging to over 20 pounds of baby weight (and I wasn't in shape before that.) I had social anxiety, no friends, no outside activities and I was miserable. Somewhere along the way, between settling down with my partner, having a baby, becoming a family, I lost myself. I felt empty, purposeless, and guilty. 

That's why I was there. Roller derby was the little promise I'd made to myself. The thing I had always wanted to be a part of and had never tried. This was where I shoved every scrap of courage I could muster and with the support of my amazing partner, Matthew, showed up at that rink that sunny Sunday morning. 

The judgement I thought I felt, slowly melted away. The members of SCRG were quick to encourage and tell me tales of the all-stars on the track that had started out like me, no skill and no clue. As my Facebook friends multiplied, I felt lightness return to my body. My very sore, bruised body, but it felt wonderful, nonetheless. I had something, I was someone. 

Derby became a guiding force in my life. When I went to the gym I didn't meander, quit early or stroll around clueless about what to do. I knew I needed endurance training, leg strengthening, and a stronger core. I had a purpose; I was there almost every day I wasn't at practice. My body was changing, I was feeling in control.

About a month after I started, we had an endurance practice. To be clear, I couldn't do a crossover yet, but there I was, lined up with the vets, doing burpees, struggling through orbital pace lines, not doing stellar but refusing to give up. I left three hours later, feeling numb, exhausted but proud. My foot however, was not impressed and by the next morning was swollen so badly walking on it was impossible. Stress fracture: a common injury of someone doing too much, too soon. I'd beaten my foot until tiny little cracks formed in my bones. Derby, piloxing, running daily.  When did my body rest? Never. It could have been worse, I was so lucky. A month on crutches and I kept up at the gym with arms and core but the lesson stuck with me, train smarter, be kinder to my body.

So, fast forward through many bruises, the introduction of an actual fresh meat bootcamp (more on that in another post) struggling to pass assessments, and lots of blood, sweat and tears later, here I am "roster ready." We've just started our season and I made roster for both games but have only actually played two jams. Yeah, exactly. My roller derby journey has just begun and I'd love to share it with you.

The type of posts you can expect from me are, Personal: being a mom and raising a daughter with derby making me a better role model. Weight loss and fitness related: I've lost 50 pounds since I started derby and have gained so much muscle and confidence. I think talking health, body types and cross training is important.  Tutorials and other arts and crafts: I make the MVP awards for our bouts and have been illustrating a "Derby Saints" series that I'm pretty excited to share with the world. Being an artist makes me as happy as landing a good hit and knocking another girl down.

This first post is an introduction to me but it is also an invitation. I know we all have derby stories. This sport brings a passion unequalled, and I want to hear your tale. From the freshest meat wobbling on skates like a baby elk on ice to the seasoned Vet, six years in. We all have something to share and you never know who you might be inspiring with your life. 

Looking forward to the track ahead and seeing you in my pack.

Meecher MKR 

Star City Roller Girls

*Bout photo credit: William Mahone (awesome photographer)

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.

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