For those of you who play derby, I'm sure you have heard this question in some form once you've told someone this is your sport of choice. Everyone who answers this question has their own reasons and their own paths that lead them to this glorious sport. Surprisingly enough, however, many of them are very similar. For anyone reading this who doesn't play derby or for those that are curious, I offer you my reasons.
Currently, I am in my second round of fresh meat. I guess that makes me not-so-fresh? Anyway, I'm not surprised, really. If you had told me three years ago that I would be trying to make it onto a roller derby team, I would've laughed in your face. You see, I was not a skater, not in the slightest. I didn't grow up skating on the weekends, in fact, I avoided it. Having skates on my feet was the most unnatural feeling ever. I'll take my nice, flat shoes without wheels, thank you. I would go to the occasional birthday party at a rink and once I went with my girl scout troupe. On that trip I actually started to feel a little more comfortable on the skates, then one of the girls came around and teased me about being slow. Way to show some girl power, friend. So roller derby was out of the question. Until about two years ago when I received a random invite to an interest meeting for another team. For some unknown reason, the universe said I should go. My daughter was born 4 months before and it seemed like it might be a fun way to get out of the house and exercise....on skates. What am I, crazy?! Anyway, I gave it a shot and actually started to enjoy skating. Fast forward to this year in February, when I went to the interest meeting for the first "official" fresh meat class for Greensboro Roller Derby. I wasn't a skilled skater but I was better than when I started. Next thing I knew, I was doing things I never thought I could do. Jumps, stepping, weaving, crossing over and so much more. I was amazed and still to this day I'm amazed at how I grow and learn more about skating. Now, I can't imagine my life without it.
The second part of the it's-crazy-to-think-I'd-play-roller-derby equation is it's an all girls sport. Well, there are teams for men and even co-ed bouts but predominantly women play it. You see, I was never a "have a lot of girlfriends" girl(See above story about fellow girl scout teasing me). I never thought I would be, either. I just figured I have my few close friends and that's cool. Then I came into this group and met some of the nicest, diverse, crazy, funny, and supportive women(and men) ever. It was then that I realized roller derby was magical. How else could all these people be attracted to this one force? It's like I grew an extended family and I love it! These are women who want you to succeed, believe in you when you think you don't have anything left and whisky slap you at an after party(out of love, of course). When a member of the team is injured they cook meals, bring movies, beer and a laugh. They're a shoulder to cry on and a cheerleader when you make it over that hurdle you've been struggling with. Simply put, a derby girl is awesomeness embodied.
For me, this is why I chose derby or maybe derby chose me. I don't know for sure but I do know I'll never be the same because of it.
The Worst Noel