Monday, September 12, 2011

Memoirs of a (Retired) Derby Girl: Part 2


In life we all make mistakes. We all make promises that can't be kept. Promises mean something different to everyone, including me. I had the best intentions when I promised Mr. Fuzz—when I decided to stay another season with Dead Girl Derby—that I would be home more, just make it to the minimum required attendances, no drinking and staying out late afterwards, no more being out all the time with all my new friends, make more time for the family. Well when life threw us a curve ball, it was hard to keep hold of that promise.

I was really focused at the beginning of the new season. Change was happening. We were allowed to take off September during the transition of starting the league at a new rink, trying to clear the mess of the business that was not exactly ran properly, and creating a new system. My biggest goal for the season was to really focus on skill and technique; I wanted to be a bad ass on skates, not only as a blocker, but as a jammer and pivot. My small goals were to really try and be a better person to everyone, and not let every little negative remark about me or my playing get to me. I wanted to connect with more people; I felt at the end of the season, that even though we were a close-knit family, I was still distanced from everyone. I wanted to gain more personal relationships that would last a lifetime, rather than a business/professional relationship that would only last until my roller derby days were over. I wanted to be a mentor to the new girls that were coming as Newly Dead recruits. These were the goals. Well, I don't know exactly how many of these goals were accomplished.

I didn't take the month off. September was our biggest fundraiser at the Renaissance Festival in Bonner Springs, Kan., as many of us would be working as beer wenches to raise money. I signed up and worked one day per weekend. We also had practices that were optional. When I got wind that we were going to be having teams and to be drafted to those teams you had to pass the skills testing approved by the Old School Derby Association (OSDA), I decided to kick it up a notch in September. I pushed myself at every practice, did everything without stopping. I would ask questions, make sure I did things right, etc. I would even stay a bit late and practice quicksteps around the track just to get faster. I knew that we would be recruiting, that some of these girls could be as good or better than me, that I may not meet the goal of becoming jammer or pivot this season or be drafted to a team that would not fit my personality and needs or wants.

When October rolled around, the balance in my personal life and derby life were going well. It may not have seemed like it, because I was gone still a lot with derby, but I stopped going out. I was home as soon as practice was over and stayed home on weekends, mostly because I worked the weekends and got out of work so late and wanted to be rested. The new recruits were somewhat panning out. We had a lot of them drop like flies due to financial issues, timing, etc. I looked at all the girls and really, to be quite honest, wasn't that intimidated by any them. I was sorely mistaken, as I learned once the games began. But in October, I wasn't and that was a bad thing. I got a bit cocky, especially when skills testing began. The season before, there was no skills testing, which was the one thing that stopped me from going to KCRW last season. But this season I was ready. OSDA and Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) skills testing were similar but not exactly the same. I had to do many things as basic skating, falls, balance and agility, skating with others, blocking, and knowing the rules of the game. If you would like further information on what testing looks like you can go to

When I said I was ready, I was. I ended up taking my Endurance and Speed tests on quad rentals from the rink because one of my skate's broke and had to be repaired, and I made good time on both. People were surprised. I was surprised. Have you ever gone from wearing rental skates to your very own skates and then to have resort back to those dingy, nasty skates? Well, in my opinion, only a skillful skater could. They are horrible. I passed everything else with flying colors—except, I'll admit, I had to redo my squats. If you haven't seen me, I'm about 5'10" off-skates so adding another four inches makes me pretty tall. That is why in our first season, I was not so good; I still didn't have my balance or agility where it needed to be so I looked like an Amazon baby giraffe. Squatting is not my forte, but I ended up doing it and passing. The waiting began for the draft.

Testing took longer than it should. We all understood, or those of the previous season, that with all the changes that took place, we were pretty much a new league, starting all over again. Also, some of the things we set as goals didn't get accomplished as we would have liked because we were still learning. However, instead of six weeks of testing, it was more at your own pace. This wasn't necessarily a good thing or bad thing, it just was. We were all just anxious to be drafted to know who wanted us. The captains (who were chosen by the league) and their co-captains (who were picked by the captains) got to make the decision with the Board of Directors (BOD) on whom went first. I was drafted by the Royal Pains (at this time we did not have a name but we were "Team Purple"). I was so excited when I found out I was drafted to that team. I had some very awesome "veterans" with me (BOD chose to have each team draft the veterans first, then the new recruits) that I was somewhat close to or really wanted to be close to, and I was ready to build onto those relationships.

While I was doing all of this with derby, I was also trying to keep that promise to Mr. Fuzz. October, as you can tell, was pretty busy with testing, drafting, Renaissance Festival and new recruits. I also was given the position of Committee Head for the Administration Committee. That’s a lot to deal with, along with Mr. Fuzz and I still working on our stuff, and I was working a part-time job in October.We had a good run for about two months, and then the straw that broke the camel’s back occurred: out of the blue his daughters moved in with us. This was a fast change and transition for all of us. I barely held on and of course, I relapsed.

Oops. I did it again.

To be continued soon in Chapter 3: Big Blocks.

Part 1 of Memoirs of a (Retired) Derby Girl began Sept. 6, 2011. Read it here:

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