Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Derby Cafeteria - not like your high school cafeteria! (I promise!)

Sometimes I feel like the girl who ate her lunch in the cafeteria bathroom...

Roller derby leagues are popping up all over the place, much like zits right before prom. The roller derby community is expanding at such a rapid rate the only thing that could stop it at this point is a zombie apocalypse. But even then, I still see derby chicks as the last girls standing.

So, you may be new to a league...or not so new. You may have been on the team since its inception. You might be a Fresh Meat...or you might be kind of, well, stale meat. Either way, when I say the phrase “Sometimes I feel like I am eating lunch in the cafeteria bathroom," you probably know what I mean.

I used to be shy. For those of you that know me, this is kind of hard to comprehend (Miller?! She would talk to a serial killer!), but for reals y'all, I use to eat lunch in the Walter Hines Page High School bathroom my freshmen year of high school. When I look back at that time in my life, all of me is glad that I had that experience. I am a better person for it.

Roller derby can make you feel like you want to run for the bathroom, lunch bag in hand. Hide until the popular girls go away.

But even though sometimes you have to fight back the 8th grade freak out, you have persevered and entered the terrifying realm of roller derby.

Here's the thing: everyone who plays roller derby is special and unique. Some girls are warm and fuzzy, others can drink your alcoholic Grandpa under the table. Some are natural to the sport and take to it like they were born with skates on, while others struggle to keep their ass off the floor. But all of us share one common goal: to be awesome at roller derby and to have a kick ass time.

But here's the other thing: if you play roller derby, you already are awesome at roller derby. You are attempting to play a full contact sport with skates on, surrounded by women you didn't know two years or even two days ago. You are an amazing and powerful woman, regardless of your skill level. Don't let yourself fall prey to unhealthy thinking. There are no “popular girls” on the derby team, no hierarchy. Sure, there may be an A-team...but those are just the girls who have achieved something to admire, not girls who think they are better than you.

High school, sweet Jesus, is OVER. How you felt then is how you felt then. You are an adult now who is so bad ass you strapped on skates and showed up for a party you weren't even invited to. In roller derby, the drama kids, math stars, football players, cheerleaders, and pot heads hang out. It is like the best John Hughes movie of all time (back off Jake Ryan though, he is mine!).

When you start getting that gut wrenching “holy shit, do I have a period stain on my pants?” feeling, check yourself. You are becoming the best version of yourself, surrounded by people doing the same. The roller derby community is the most loving and amazing world you will ever encounter, even when we are hitting the shit out of you.

Cue the closing line of “Breakfast Club” and the fist pump.


Former high school nerd, tramp, pot head, and D-student Miller Lightnin'

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