I Wanna Be a Derby Girl

Suburbia Roller Derby Suburban Brawl at ECE - 142

I am beginning a project. A very ill-advised project. I want to play roller derby.

It just looks so damn fun. The bouts I’ve watched remind me of playing on the basketball team as a kid. I never really went in for “school spirit,” but being on a team and accomplishing something with a group of friends is tons of fun to me. Plus, I feel like I’m ready for a new challenge and adventure in my life, and roller derby looks great on both counts.

It’s been a slightly rocky start. My friend Jenn and I have started skating together at a local rink, and this week, we went for a skating lesson — $5 covers the skate rental, a one-hour lesson, and the two-hour open session that follows, so we felt like we were getting a pretty great deal. Granted, we were the only adults there who weren’t accompanying children, and I was probably the worst skater in the bunch. ¬†Well, there was this one guy who looked about as comfortable in roller skates as a cat with scotch tape on his feet. I feel guilty saying this, but that guy made me feel tons better about myself until this morning when it occurred to me that the rink might have been paying him to look bad. The only down side of the skating lesson was that the instructor was a creepy old guy who kept making awkward comments about my body while giving me instructions. I’m now looking for other places to learn skating so I don’t have to be inappropriately touched by grandpa.

I have fallen twice now — once when a girl fell in front of me, and I didn’t have time to move around her, and once when I lost my balance for no particular reason and got a nasty bruise. Falling is a little embarrassing, but I figure I better get used to it if I’m going to try derby. In fact, I even like that in derby, falling is part of the sport and not something to be embarrassed about. Ok, so the goal is to fall a lot less, but I’ll try not to worry too much when I do. Jenn, on the other hand, has not fallen at all. She talks a big game about being oh-so-clumsy, but I think she’s secretly a rockstar at everything and just doesn’t like to brag.

In addition to practice, I’ve been assembling and arsenal of information about derby rules, skating skills, and the people involved in the sport. This has been my go-to internet reading for the week.

  • Roller Derby 101 on the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association web site. In fact, I intend to spend quite a bit of time on this site in the future.
  • Even the “about” page for the Charm City Roller Girls (my nearest league) is awesome. I’ve been to a couple of bouts, and everyone seems really cool and nice. Definitely looking forward to watching more games so I can learn!
  • Reddit/r/rollerderby: With the tag line “not just for fans of Whip It,” I’m afraid I need to do some serious studying before I try to talk to anyone. These girls know their stuff, and they seems like a dedicated bunch.
  • The WFTDA’s minimum skills requirements list is now my study material.
  • This Youtube series has a bunch of information on derby skating skills, which I will eventually need to learn.
  • I also started following a bunch of roller derby chicks on Tumblr because they post cool pictures and good information. Plus, they inspire me. For example…

Diary of a Derby Bunny
Inconsequential Musings (Calamity Jane!)
Derby Deets — Funny derby related gifs. Ok, so they’re not particularly relevant to training, but they make me feel like one of the cool kids.
Shit Derby Girls Say

So, now all I’m missing is some skates, pads, helmet, and … oh right, more practice!

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8 thoughts on “I Wanna Be a Derby Girl

  1. Yeeeeeeessssss. I seriously can’t wait to see your first bout! I love derby so hard but am too chicken (especially now with my fragile bones) to try out myself, but I will drink ALL the PBR while you kick ass. <3

  2. Remember the story about how I sprained my ankle getting up from my desk? Or the one about how I’ve broken my nose 5 times? Or that I’m constantly apologizing to “things” for running into them? Or that I fell down my stairs and broke my ass, sprained my sacrum, and partially herniated a disk?

    1. Ugh, fine, ok so you’ve had a few accidents. But you have been rocking the skating so far, and I think the real reason you get hurt is not because you’re clumsy but because you’re very enthusiastic and sometimes dive into things without looking.

  3. I’m super excited for you! I haven’t done any skating since I bruised my tailbone whilst skating down a hill in 10th grade. Not being able to walk or sit properly for a week is very discouraging. I hope you don’t have any discouraging falls while you’re learning.

    1. Yes! I think one of the first things I need to do (after getting skates and pads) is learn how to fall safely! I had a bruised tailbone once a long time ago, and it was terrible!

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