Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How I Fell Into Roller Derby

A while back, Mama Breakdown suggested that I write up a blog post about how I discovered derby and got into this crazy sport. I didn't realize I hadn't really done that! So here goes.

When Whip It came out in 2009, my new hubby thought it sounded like something I would like. The movie didn't stay in theaters long and we still settling down after a wedding, so we missed it. We first tried to watch the movie in a crappy hotel in Ft. Lauderdale on our honeymoon in January 2010 but refused to pay something like $12 for pay-per-view. When we did finally rent it from Blockbuster, I was completely in love. I knew I was falling into a movie trap and wanting to "be my own hero," so I tried to keep my thoughts to myself so I wouldn't sound like a total dork. And if it didn't pan out, I didn't want anyone to say, "Remember when you thought you were going to play roller derby? Ha! What a dork."

Within a week, I was researching roller derby leagues in Kansas City. All I could find on Google was the Kansas City Roller Warriors, and they were looking to recruit women who could already skate. Roller blading around the block at my grandma's house on the weekends as a kid doesn't exactly count. I had never been on quad skates in my life. The WrecK League didn't yet exist. I put the idea out of my mind for a while.

Not long after (I'm guessing March 2010), I was browsing Good JuJu and spotted a pair of white vintage high-top Roller Derby brand quad skates. Surely they would be too small. Then I tried them on. They fit. Well, if the shoe (skate) fits... I paid less than $20 and took them home.

Within the next month or so, I read about Dead Girl Derby in a copy of Ink or The Pitch (I haven't been able to find the article online since) that I picked up on a whim around town. I Googled "Dead Girl Derby," ended up on league Facebook page, emailed Recruiting, and went to a practice the next week. Ho. Lee. Crap.

I hit up Skate City Legends once or twice on my sad old high-top skates a couple times in hopes that I wouldn't look too lame in front of a bunch of presumably tough derby girls. In all honesty, I could barely stand up, my crossovers were pathetic, and I had no idea how to stop. I was not ready  to practice. But how could I say no?

Injured June 2010
On the first practice night in May 2010, I was hooked. I had to miss the next one for a prior commitment, but knew I'd be back ASAP. In that second practice, I jacked up right knee (tore my ACL, strained my MCL, bruised the bone, stretched the patellar tendon, and I don't even remember what else). Everyone probably thought I'd quit. I was just some new awkward girl who came to practice twice and hurt herself because she didn't know how to stop. My family thought I was crazy and had no reservations about telling me so.

That was June 2010. Now it's March 2012. I'm still here and have no plans of going anywhere.

February 2011

The first time I wrote about skating on this blog was February 2011. Post-surgery, I was still wearing a knee brace, could hardly hold my own against little kids at the rink, and only skated once a week. Every muscle in my body would hurt. I could only sort of do "watermelons." I was afraid of falling. The last one cracks me up the most.

Now I kind of wish I had insisted to everyone all this time that I'd be a real derby athlete. Then I could say "told you so."

May 2012

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