Ah man, for the first time in quite some time, I am SO excited for roller derby practice. I currently belong to a little league with a whole lot of drama and not a lot of support. I’m not 100% sure why we can’t pull our shit together for 12 consecutive months, but we can’t. That’s that. I could point a finger and blame this person or this leader, but what good would it do? It’s a team. And you are only as strong as your weakest link…. or something like that.
I think the heart of it, the heart of any successful derby league, is good ol’ derby love. There is debate within the derby community on whether this should be more team-like or more familial and, honestly, both sides have fair points. The real point is just love. A posse of women of all ages and sizes, supporting and encouraging each other through something that is physically taxing. Somehow that support then reaches into corners of the women’s off track lives, even if unintentionally. Derby girls are fierce. They are powerful. They are also flawed and human. Sometimes that power and competitive nature comes out against one’s own teammates. Sometimes it manifests only in healthy, on-track ways. The greats, are tough beasts on the track that will knock anyone in their way on their ass. They train hard, scrimmage hard, and challenge themselves and their teammates without tearing either down. Once the bout is over, they hug skaters from both teams, pose for photos, expand their ever-growing derby family and get ready for the after party. God damn, derby can be such a beautiful thing.
Alas, my own team seems to barely be limping along. It has been one of the biggest aspects of my life for two years. Whether practicing, bouting, volunteering, training, socializing, or supporting, these were my people. I did things i had no idea my body could do. My teammates did too. We all celebrated together. I sweat more than a person would like to admit. They just took pictures and gave me high fives. They were there there for my 30th birthday and took me to a drag show.
They were there when I just barely came out as a big ol’ gay girl this summer. We went to what is possibly the world’s smallest Pride in a small Idaho town just 30 miles away. We had a blast. One of my teammates and friends also came out this summer. She went too. We were a team. Friends. Family. Support. Hell, a few of the teammates were even lovers. 😉
Those times seem to be over. Or at least on hold. With moves, injuries, new lives, marriages, babies, derby rosters have a lot of turnover. Or at least ours does. We are down to a feeble few. Tonight though, one of my dearest friends and my derby wife is coming to skate. Quite a few of the OG’s are making an appearance. It’s gonna be glorious. If nothign else, I will feel like I have a team. There will be women there who just love each other and who love to skate. I. Am. So. Excited.