About a year ago, two of my best friends boarded planes and headed across the sea to begin their European adventures sans yours truly. I waved good-bye, scratched my head, and wondered what the fuck I was supposed to do now that my friends were both gone. I don’t remember exactly when the idea of roller derby came across my mind as a possible way to make new friends and let out some aggression, but I just remember spending hours online researching teams in Seattle, looking at the gear I would need, and watching videos of bouts on YouTube thinking, I bet I would be good at that…
But of course as I browsed the videos and websites there was this little voice in the back of my head that kept saying, Stop pretending, you can’t do that. I believed that little voice, and in the end I let the fear of being rejected, or sucking, or not being tough enough keep me from stepping out from behind my computer screen.
Then of course I lost my job, moved to Olympia, and before I knew it I was realizing that if I didn’t take matters into my own hands and attempt to move beyond my sometimes crippling social anxiety, it would just be Adam and I staring at each other for eternity. The book group was a LIFE SAVING first step because it showed me that there were women in this new city that I could relate to. But I knew I needed to continue to push myself.
Then I read a post on All & Sundry on how Linda was going to step outside her comfort zone and run a half marathon. Even though it scared her, and she thought she couldn’t do it, and her immediate impulse was to say NO for so many reasons, she was going to commit anyway. At the bottom of her post she dared her readers to think of the thing they immediately skirted away from, think of something that made our stomach twist simply at the thought of tackling it, and then DO IT.
Ummmm I can’t run a full, half or even one-sixteenth marathon, so that’s out. I kept asking myself, what is there that I desperately want to do? What is there that lies just beyond my reach? What am I missing? What is out there that I felt like I would love completely and utterly but I’m just too chicken to actually tackle? For quite a while I was drawing serious blanks.
Then I went and saw Whip It.
And as I walked back to my car I remembered my fleeting roller derby dream. And how I love being on a team. And how I literally grew up on roller blades. And how even though roller blades and skates are NOTHING alike, I was pretty sure I could figure it out. And I remembered how I LIVE for dress up themed parties, how I desperately needed an evil alter ego, and how fucking thrilled beyond belief I would be if I tried this, and then found out that I did in fact love being a roller derby girl.
So I did. Sunday November 1st I fought the urge to vomit the ENTIRE drive to the stake rink, I gathered the strength needed to open the door to the rink, and I walked in the room and announced to a room full of bad ass women I desperately wanted to be friends with that I was Fresh Meat and would like a shot at being an Oly Roller. I shit you not, my heart has never beat faster in my entire life.
I survived the first practice. And the second, and even the third. And I am going to keep coming back for more until I can officially call myself a ‘roller derby girl’. I have 60 days to practice with the team and see if this whole roller derby thing is for me. At the end of those 60 days I will be given a roller derby name, handed the worlds shortest shirt and a pair of fishnet tights and welcomed officially on board. I have no idea if this is my new love, or a fleeting hobby, but it doesn’t even matter because I can say with actual certainty that I will never look back on my life and say, “I wish I had tried out for a roller derby team… I wonder if I would have been good at that?”
Want to know more about this sport I am jumping into? Here’s a video called, Roller Derby Explained, and below I even tracked down a video on ESPN describing the Roller Derby Revival sweeping the nation since 2001.