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
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
Star City Roller
*Bout photo credit: William Mahone (awesome photographer)