I’m a pretty stereotypical computer nerd. I’m an awesome WoW raid leader, but a terrible athlete. So how the hell did I get into roller derby?
Playing derby had been on my “bucket list” for years. A longtime FB friend skates with Rose City, and I’ve been amazed by how much of a badass she is, and by the amazing group of friends she’s made through derby. I wanted that too!
Still, I never thought I could do it. I’m such a klutz that I have broken bones by (I shit you not) falling out of bed and running into walls. Yeah, I’m about the last person who should be strapping wheels to her feet, traveling at high speed and slamming into other people. I thought, if I try this, I will probably kill myself. But then I realized: maybe I’ll suck, but I won’t know for sure until I try it!
I got brave and attended new-skater orientation in January 2018. That itself was a feat, because even though I can be totally chatty and social with strangers, I have a really hard time putting myself into new and unfamiliar situations. So I psyched myself up, went to the meeting, met a bunch of really cool people, and committed to making it through Fresh Meat.
I was a HUGE klutz on skates. I wobbled, I fell, I ran into things. I got all manner of bumps and bruises. But holy crap it was FUN! I could laugh at myself, hop right back up when I fell, high-five my teammates, and keep working. I was getting out of the house (huge!), I made offline friends (also HUGE), and doing something good for myself on a regular basis. I’ve met so many amazingly supportive people through derby and gotten so much love and guidance since I first started!
Not to say that it’s been even remotely easy. Klutzy as I am, my progress has been WAY slower than the other skaters on my Fresh Meat crew. After four months, I fell just short of passing my skills test while the other skaters breezed right on through. I re-tested twice after (our league does quarterly tests) and managed to score LOWER than my first attempt. I was crushed. All that hard work, but for nothing.
Luckily, my friends were incredibly supportive and reached out with love and advice to help me get through, and help me not to be so hard on myself. I’ve decided to be a proud member of #teamturtle, and if it takes me another year to pass my skills, that’s totally OK. I will keep paying forward the support I’ve received to my fellow skaters, including the new skaters just joining the league, and I’ll get where I want to be eventually.
And in the meantime, I want to share some motivation and encouragement with the rest of the Internet, and give back the love I’ve been so grateful to receive!