Letters

Live Free. Skate Hard.

Dear Friends,

Good news, everyone! Matching Sweaters Productions is making a documentary featuring my derby league, Free State Roller Derby, and you can help make it happen. If you’ve known me long enough to remember me pre-derby, you have at least some inkling of how transformative this sport and the community have been in my life. Chances are high that I’ve tried to recruit you. Now you can find out what it’s really like (or at least get closer to the real thing) without actually taking a hit. When you’re done watching the movie, hit me up and we’ll talk about where you can buy skates. 🙂

Roller derby has completely changed my relationship with my body, my feelings about competition, my understanding of community, and my sense of connection to that community. When I started skating, I was just entering my 30s and trying to figure out what that meant for me. Our society tells women that we lose our value rapidly beyond age 20 or so, but up to that point, it really doesn’t give us much of a foothold in terms of ways women are allowed to exist and things we’re allowed to be proud of ourselves for. I didn’t want my life to be over just because I’d reached a certain age. I wanted adventure, challenge, friendships, and growth, and derby has delivered on all of that and then some.

I’m excited to see what Matching Sweaters does with the Free State story in the film, Live Free. Skate Hard. The league celebrated its 10th birthday at our game on June 1, and in those 10 years the organization has gone from a few skaters casually getting together to practice to an up-and-coming league steadily climbing the ranks. I hope the documentary will shine light on how the grassroots derby movement found its way to Free State, the motivation and character of the founding members, the structure of the league, and the impact the organization has in the lives of its members.

Roller derby has changed so much as a sport and a community since its resurgence in the early 2000s. One of the things I love about Free State in particular is that we are constantly having conversations about how to be more inclusive, supportive, and empowering to every individual who is part of our league family, whether they are skaters, officials, coaches, volunteers, fans, or family members. I believe this documentary will give a snapshot of an organization that strives to serve its community well. When people see this film, they will see a diverse bunch of humans challenging and supporting one another, growing as athletes and as friends, overcoming hardships and sometimes tough odds, and navigating wins and losses with style and grace.

I could not be more proud to be part of Free State Roller Derby, and I can’t wait to see the outcome of this project. Please help make it happen by checking out the crowdfunding page, watching the video there, and pitching in whatever you can for the cause.

May your wheels always be right for the track~

Mary

aka. Poly Wanna Crackya, #337

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