Don’t dream it, be it!

Gypsy Nose-Bleed joined GTA Rollergirls in 2010, and played as one of GTA Rollergirls’ very first Chrome Mollys. In 2011, she played an excellent season with the Derby Debutantes and was awarded ‘Most Improved’ at GTAR’s season-end banquet. As 2012 begins, she is hoping to earn a spot on our new WFTDA apprentice team, The G-sTARs. Like many derby skaters, she prefers to spell Roller Derby with a capital R and a capital D. This is her Roller Derby story…

When I started telling people that I had joined a Roller Derby league, there was a lot of, “Really?  What made you decide to join Roller Derby?  Oh, you saw that ‘Whip It’ movie, right?”  LOL.

In February of 2010, I was working 60+ hours a week at my day job and then coming home to my “real job” as mum to a 17-month old.  Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of “me time” in there.  Then I had my Derby dream.  Seriously, the idea of playing Roller Derby came to me in a dream one night!  I don’t know where I picked up the basics of the game (it wasn’t from ‘Whip It’) but my dream was, as it turned out, relatively accurate.  I woke up that following morning feeling amazing.  Now, maybe it wasn’t so much the Derby, but more the fact that I actually slept through the night… But I’m attributing it to the Derby.  Even my husband noticed how much of an effect the dream had on me.  I was invigorated.  I knew then, I had to play Roller Derby.

I had no intention of playing in a bout during that first year.  I mean, I hadn’t even put on a pair of roller skates for almost 20 years.  I was just looking for something fun that I could do to get back in shape after my little man had come along.  Something that allowed me a little bit of that elusive “me time.”  Ha!  I played in two bouts that first season, the first one only three months after lacing up.

You’ll hear it a lot: Derby is addictive; Derby takes over your life; start preparing your Derby widow now!  And it’s all true, in many ways, but I think it’s more than that.  Derby empowered me.  It reminded me of the confident, never-one-to-back-down-from-a-challenge woman I was before I became bogged down in being what people think a wife/mum/responsible adult is.  Though I am all of those things, Derby has made me realize that I’m a different kind of all of those things.  Not better, not worse; just different.  And that’s the real addiction: discovering (or in my case, re-discovering) yourself, and then embracing who you are.

So why did I join Roller Derby?  Who cares!  I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter why you joined or what brought you to your first practice.  What matters is why you stay.  There’s a line that I love in the movie ‘The Family Stone’:  “You have a freak flag… You just don’t fly it.”  To me that line is all about being yourself and not caring what anyone else thinks.  Derby reminds me to keep my freak flag flying.

If you are a derby skater, come scrimmage with Gypsy Nose-Bleed at GTA Rollergirls’ next open scrimmage, March 24th.

Then, ‘Let your Freak Flag Fly’ at Tight ‘n’ Bright and Ready to Fight on March 24th at El Mocambo Tavern (484 Spadina Ave. Toronto).