How Roller Girls are Made

me roller derby

Derby hair, mouth guard, sweaty selfie. And some of my make-up was still in place. 

I never thought I’d be a roller girl. I never imagined that roller derby would become my obsession and passion.

Girls wearing fishnets and hitting each other? Why would I want to get involved with that?

I’m not a badass. I have no interested in being some kind of sex icon or having an alter-ego. The roller derby girls I knew were not the type of women I would fit in with… or so I thought.

Lots of things happened in my life over this last year. Heartbreak and frustration and change and growth, and most unexpectedly, I found myself immersed in the strange and wonderful world of flat track roller derby.

I moved back to California in September. One of my old friends had been posting about re-building our small town roller derby team. My sister had done roller derby and had gear. So I thought I’d talk her into trying it out again. I’d go to see my old friend, and I’d be supporting my sister. It was a win-win situation.

I wore jeans and flip-flops, having no intention of putting on skates or participating. I’d already decided that roller derby was not my thing. I’m just not a team sport kind of person. I would just sit and watch.

I was not allowed to sit and watch from the sidelines. Donna knew I had some athletic abilities, and insisted I give it a try. It didn’t matter that I didn’t bring socks and didn’t have skates. Donna had a spare pare of socks and Kassie loaned me her skates and pads.

The skates were two sizes too big, but it didn’t matter. My competitive spirit kicked in and childhood memories of skating at the local rink and a stint of roller blading as a teen came right back. I couldn’t do anything terribly fancy, but I could skate. And I everything they challenged us to do, I was game.

Knee taps? Ok. Learning to fall? Sure! Skating as fast as possible for two minutes? Hell yeah!  Learning to stop? Not easy, but definitely something I wanted to learn. It was exhausting but so much fun. Practice was over too soon and I wanted more.

I started looking into getting my own gear, figuring out if I could afford dues… and in general, wondering, considering…

Then a set of gear popped up on Facebook Marketplace, and it was a steal. My mom bought it for me as an early birthday present. The skates were crap but they were good enough to learn basics on. I worked it out with the team to be able to pay my dues in installments.

Soon, I was coming to every practice while my sister’s attendance was spotty and soon wasn’t attending at all. It just wasn’t for her at this time. But it was just what I needed.

Having time to myself to skate as hard as I could, push myself and sweat, it was amazingly addictive. Though I was still not sure about the team, about putting my time and passion into an organized group, especially an unproven group of women, I found myself going back, again and again.

And my love of roller derby only grew from there.



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