Sometimes the question you may find yourself asking is not, “Is roller derby right for me?”, but it might be “Am I right for roller derby?”. Thinking back to the couple months before deciding to go to a fresh meat info session, I asked myself this question quite a bit. The only thing I knew about roller derby was that it was a sport played on roller skates, and the women looked really tough, fast and mean. I would even ask myself, how could anyone enjoy being knocked down intentionally? I was learning to skate, and I would see derby girls quite often. They were so passionate about the sport and so determined. It seemed that somehow this bumping business was fun to them. This is around the time I started asking the question “Am I right for roller derby?”.
Trying to live a healthy life style, I tried to get into and enjoy several different forms of exercise. All of which eventually fell by the way side because I lost interest pretty quickly. I needed something that would stick with me; something that would challenge me but be enjoyable with attainable goals. My birthday was approaching, so when someone mentioned roller skating from back in the day, I had to ask for roller skates. Being a fairly timid, awkward, girly girl, the last thing on my mind was roller derby. Because of course, roller derby girls are nothing like me!
I just wanted to skate. And when I did muster up the courage to go skating, and kept on skating, I got to know a few derby girls from several different leagues. The only reason I knew they were derby girls was due to the protective gear they donned, and later, because of how often they spoke of wanting to succeed at this derby thing so badly. A couple times I had the question posed to me “Why don’t you come and try out for derby?”. I hadn’t clued in yet that these girls I’d been skating with were not much different than me. Some were professionals, some students, some stay at home moms. I still had that picture in my head of a snarling, tattooed covered, badass chick out for blood (It’s those logos!). So my response was “Me?!”. But needless to say, the question did come home with me, and I wondered if I could really play roller derby.
I was very lucky to become acquainted with two derby referees, while skating. They eventually asked me the same question; “Why not try out for roller derby?”, and I asked them “Am I right for roller derby?”. The answer: if you have two legs and want to have fun, then YES!
When I finally found myself walking into the GTAR Fresh Meat info session, I was both nervous and excited. I soon realized that the other girls who showed up, felt the exact same way and we were in this together. The session was very laid back and the GTAR players so kindly showed us the basics about what to expect to learn. We all very quickly relaxed and had fun!
Since spending 3 months with the lovely GTAR players and my freshie friends, I’ve learned that this is what I’ve been searching for all this time. It’s not just a sport, it’s a family. The players took us under their wings, and have been a sea of information and encouragement. It’s been an experience I will never forget. I can truly say that this ‘getting knocked down intentionally thing’ is like nothing else!
I’m pretty sure I will always be a little timid, awkward, and girly when I’m not on skates. But I’m just right for roller derby.