Derby to date
It all feels like a dream. I have this huge and amazing community in my life now that I never expected. Just over a year ago, January 23rd of 2018, I walked into a recruitment night terrified of how other people would look at me. I listened to the presentation and when it was offered for me to put on skates, I shyly declined.
The next week I fought through the voices in my head telling me that I could never fit in and joined a practice. While I still have to beat that voice back often, I am so glad that I didn't let it control what I did. After 3 months, I graduated from our Crash Course program.
The thing that surprised me most was I never had an issue with any athlete (trainer or peer) treating me as I had come to expect the would should. If anyone did misgender, it was a genuine mistake and they immediately worked on correcting themselves. I didn't have to face any of the awkward questions about surgeries or dead names. We just wanted to skate and play together. After Graduating in April, I immediately threw myself into training and getting caught up with the current strategies and skills of the league. It took months of scheduled practices, visiting our local skate rink, and skating outdoors to begin to develop the skills I needed to safely compete. I had hoped to play in our June Pride themed game but just wan't ready to take that kind of contact yet. It was the week of our August bout that I was cleared by our training coordinators for play with the stipulation of low rotation in the game. We only had 9 athletes on the bench so low rotation was a little bit subjective as I still Jammed at least every 3rd Jam. But I had fun!!!!! Every hit, getting recycled, having to get back up. I loved every minute of it. (I was awful!!!! but gave it everything). Just after this game, I Joined our Crash course training program and helped to spearhead a new Human Resources type committee. Given my corporate management background, I was able to apply many of my external to derby skills and help create a successful Skater Relations and Enrichment committee. I attended every Crash course practice I could to help train new skaters as an assistant. I realized that I was spending more and more time in this community that I fell in love with. I couldn't believe it when my team captain suggested that I try out for our Travel Team: Midnight Terror. That little voice in my head came back saying that I wouldn't fit in, I couldn't do this anymore. It paralyzed me for a couple of weeks bouncing between this amazing opportunity and thinking that I shouldn't even play roller derby. Once I stepped back I realized that I was spending so much time in Derby that I was showing early signs of burnout. Something that our SRE had been discussing with multiple skaters and internally was how to prevent this. So I stepped it back. I started to attend only the training practices I was scheduled for (between 2 and 4 a month) and focus not on fitting in, but feeling awesome about myself. In our September game, the visiting interstate team named me MVP jammer which gave me such a huge boost of confidence. What I was doing was working! With life around me slowing down, I felt confident telling that voice in my head to back off and started to take leadership in training our new skaters. In November, I was surprised to see my name come up in a nomination to become our league's Vice President. Learning more about myself earlier in the year helped give me some perspective. I took a week to think over if I had the physical and emotional bandwidth needed to help run a successful league. My family said they would support me and I eventually accepted.
December was our off-season which provided me the much needed down time to get acclimated to the VP position so that I could be effective. I'll say it was much more work than I expected but absolutely worth it. In January We restarted our Travel team and I was accepted to be one of the players! In this year I've gone from less than 3 months of experience with wheels on my feet to Home and Travel team athlete, Trainer, Human resources manager, and League Vice Presidency. So what are we going to do tonight Brain? The same thing we try to do every night. I'll tell you terrible things that you will ignore and you will then take over the world!