Jam Buster - Team Switzerland
In a dark kitchen in late October 2013 I called my parents and cried. Happy tears. So many happy tears. I had just been invited to be the head coach of Switzerland first National flat-track Roller Derby team. As I read the email to my parents I was immediately pulled backwards in my memory to my first time on my skates. I was standing in an empty skate park in Winnipeg, Manitoba thinking, "what have I done?!" Our trainer that day, RedDeLizious, assured me I was not in fact going to die and that eventually my knees would stop shaking. Then one simple comment from my mother brought me back to present,
"Your Oma would be so proud!"
She wasn't saying this to mean the generic pride grandparents feel about anything their grandchildren do. No. While my paternal Grandmother (Oma) was proud of basically anything her grandchildren did, roller derby was something different. Roller derby brought out a pride in her that I have trouble describing. Roller derby was something my Oma and I had that was uniquely ours.
My roller derby story starts with her, long before I was even born. It started in the 70's on Saturday afternoons. Something you should know about her it that she didn't sit down much. Family dinners were a constant chorus of "Oma just sit and eat please!" She always had something to do. Roller derby was the only thing that made her sit down, watching Gwen "Skinny Minnie" Miller fly around the banked track made my Oma stop for a little bit not just to watch but to also yell at the TV while she folded the laundry or made buns. I said she would sit, I never said she would stop.
So when I told her in late 2009 I had joined the local roller derby league in Winnipeg, pleased doesn't even describe it. Though I had to explain to her the game had changed substantially since the days flying elbows and choreographed fights the essence of the game was still the same. Me talking to her about roller derby was the only thing that made her sit during our visits. Even after she had her stroke in 2010 she still remembered my skate name and wanted to see bout photos.
I joined roller derby because of her and now I was standing in my kitchen, knees shaking, thinking I'm going to die accepting the role of head coach for a National team. All because of one woman's love of the game in the 1970's.
So here I am, a first time head coach. Never in a million years did I think I would be leading a team to the World Cup. I was that fresh meat skater who couldn't do a crossover to save my life. Now I have a group of 25 amazing Swiss women looking to me to lead them on this adventure of making Swiss Roller derby history. I've come full circle and I'm asking myself, "what have I done?!" Something amazing...and terrifying...but definitely amazing and I want to share with you all.
The good, the bad, the scratchy.
Now if only my knees would stop shaking.