Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Memoirs of a (Retired) Derby Girl: Part 1

Please welcome Haute Fuzz, who graciously requested to guest blog for me. When she asked, she had no idea where to go with this. But she already knew what the title would be, as it's a title she would like to publish a book with. (Please DO NOT steal it from her!)

I am not your normal Jane Doe. As the title perceives, I am a derby girl. Every roller derby girl has a story to be told and this one is mine. My name is Haute Fuzz #38C, and I played for Dead Girl Derby in Riverside, Mo., for the Royal Pains. I am an original member of this league, which started in Liberty, Mo., in July 2009, and I retired after our last game on August 21, 2011. Most of you may think, "Well shoot, she's not a derby girl anymore if she's not playing." Well let me tell you, in my heart and mind, I am and always will be a derby girl and and no one can change that.

I began my roller derby journey many ways and the story is never the same when asked because, truth be told, it's a bit embarrassing how I got into it. Remember MySpace? Well I was intrigued by this league in town called Kansas City Roller Warriors. I decided to add them as a friend back in 2006. It took me three years to go to one of their games. Why, you ask? I'll tell you.

I was a stay-at-home mom for seven years. I never got out. I was secluded in my 20's to the house by personal and family reasons. When my son finally reached 1st grade and the roller skating parties began, I finally got to breathe life again. I know, I make staying at home sound horrible, but for me it was. I am a sociable person. I crave interaction with others and if I don't have it, I feel alone and sad. So I was more than happy to get out on the rink with him.

My husband and I enjoyed it. We found that we both were losing weight (I was still on Weight Watchers and had trouble getting off the last few pounds) and gaining muscle by skating so we decided to make it a weekly thing, and we did. Every Saturday we would take Fuzz Jr. to Skate World and we would skate. I was almost just as bad as Fuzz Jr. was at first, which some of you may be surprised by. I loved skating. I was a rink rat myself growing up, but of course, when high school hit I was preoccupied with other things, so I was rusty. Going to the skating rink every week and eventually increasing the skating to two or three times a week, my confidence built up and I started skating pretty well. We made friends with a lot of the regulars and found that some of these regulars were part of KCRW or wanting to be a part of them.

I of course knew of KCRW, but as I mentioned earlier, I never actually saw a game or really knew what roller derby was. Mr. Fuzz didn't either so he went to the library and checked out a book for us to read. The book was titled, Rollergirl: Totally True Tales From the Track by Melissa Joulwan. I fell in love with what I read. I then persuaded him to take me to a bout and he did. We went to our first KCRW game in 2009 and I fell in love. That was the beginning. I began asking how to get into KCRW; I began doing the research, and I felt overwhelmed. I didn't think I had what it took to make KCRW, so thankfully with luck from my friends, I found Dead Girl Derby, another league in town that just started in Liberty, on MySpace. I added them as friends, followed them, and in December 2009 saw that they were still looking for recruits. At this point in my life I was ready for something and my husband thought that I needed something in my life, too. I just finished my Technical Schooling in 2008 and was back to staying at home, doing nothing by 2009, and really needed something for myself. So this opportunity spoke to us and he told me to go for it. Sometimes I think we both regret making that decision.

I sent an e-mail to the person in charge of the MySpace account and started asking questions, or more so, I told her straight-up: "I don't feel comfortable being a skater, I think I would like to ref." I had it set in my mind that this league was going to be like KCRW, and I already saw KCRW skill requirements, and didn't think I could make it there—that's why I was over here. I scared myself out of it. She told me to come to the meet and greet at Crossroads in downtown Kansas City, Mo., where the league would be while supporting The Belated and Nuthatch 47 show. I said sure. I went and had a fabulous time with those ladies. They welcomed me with open arms, were inquisitive, and overall accepted me. When I went to my first practice, it was the same. However, I had a lot of girls ask, "Are you going to skate with us?", and I would retort, "No, I am going to referee for you." I look back and every day I regret starting as a referee. Why? Because to be honest, I didn't know that I was just as good or even better than some of those girls who were actually playing. I also misunderstood the league and how it was for any girl willing to learn and wanting to skate. I refereed for four months. Finally, after a lot of help from my referee friends, I was accepted as one of the girls, got to practice with them, and ended up playing in my very first game in June 2010. I was horrible. It's true.

I almost gave up after that very first season. Mr. Fuzz and I were struggling in our relationship. I was at practices two nights a week, a game a month, a league meeting a month, fundraisers it seemed every other week, it was strenuous. I still loved my family and I still took care of my responsibilities but it was not enough in Mr. Fuzz's eyes. However, he knew how much I loved the game and told me that if I wanted to continue with it I needed to change some things. I had the best intentions of doing that, but as most people know, sometimes it's hard keeping promises.

The story will continue in Chapter 2.

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