My 6 Derby Wins

There’s a lot to be thankful for in roller derby, despite the sometimes unavoidable frustration of not being physically able yet to nail that skill perfectly, or win that mental battle. Whenever I feel defeated, I look back at six milestones of my first year in roller derby, and I feel better.

JRG_WEB_freshmeat1- I showed up to first skate

I bought gear, I put it on and I skated. I was terrified, I didn’t know how I would perform, and if I would even like it. I thought, well if I don’t like it, can I still return all this gear? I guess my commitment to derby started as soon as I pressed the “buy now” button on Amazon. I even watched “Whip It” the night before to give me courage to skate the next day.

2- I showed up to the second practice

Despite being so nervous, not knowing anyone, and still trying to figure out if I was meant to do this derby thing. The vets scared me. They didn’t really chat me up, they just watched me from afar, and sometimes told me I did a good job. I was so intimidated. Yet I felt so much freedom. I could glide, and do stuff I never thought I could do. Derby definitely opened that door of possibilities I didn’t know existed.

3- I skated my first 27/5

I gave it my all. I didn’t make the 27 laps. I barely crossed over. But I pushed. I skated around that track for five full minutes! That was such an accomplishment. I felt lots of love that day from my fellow freshies, who pushed just as hard. I felt love from the more experienced skaters, who went through the same motions years ago. I felt like I belonged to the league, and the journey would be just a fantastic adventure.

9812e3efb94b15a9391d48db0d0b24d34- I experienced my first really painful derby injury

I heard, “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when”. My injury was the typical “freshmeat kill your tailbone by falling really hard on your ass” ordeal. I couldn’t sit down properly for a good month. I destroyed that sucker. Thank God, nothing broken. But still, it hurt. I felt that constant nagging reminder that I had voluntarily enrolled in an extra-curricular activity that would leave me limping and cringing at some point. The tailbone was the beginning. It healed and I bought better buttpads.

Injuries are part of my story even before starting roller derby. No one wants to suffer and break bones. I had to ask myself, do I want to keep going? Do I want to go through the motions of maybe experiencing an injury that will keep me off skates for a long time? I had to be sure I was ready for it. I had to face that reality.

5- I failed my minimum skills

I wrote another post on the subject which you can read here. Basically, I am grateful I failed because I wasn’t skill ready to move forward. Failing gave me the opportunity to work on my basics, and practice until I was comfortable to be out there.

dcd04fbd3613b481d85c3f8896ecdc1c6- I got hit

I held my derby stance, sucked my stomach in, and bam. I got hit. It was a hard hit. Right on my side, sent me flying and I landed straight on my ass, wondering what the heck had just happened. During these few seconds, I made sure I was still in one piece. Then, I got back up as quickly as I could, and I finished practice. I still remember that hit to this minute. It left me breathless.

These wins help me keep things in perspective. They help me stay grounded. They help me enjoy every second on my skates. They push me to be better. They brighten my day. Every time I face a challenge, I think of that moment where it was just me and the track. What did I do? I learned that taking a break to reassess isn’t quitting. I learned that my body is my weapon, and my best asset, and I must be good to myself. I learned that my mind is my biggest opponent. I learned that day by day, I improve.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your wins?



4 thoughts on “My 6 Derby Wins

  1. bram1978027 says:

    1 – I dared to strap on skates
    After watching a Dutch TV show in which a player explained you can be yourself in Derby, that last part is important to me, I choose Roller Derby over Muggle Quiddich. Let’s be honest: quad skates are way cooler than a PVC pipe between your legs needed for Muggle Quiddich!!! However, to keep it derby sportive: people who feel safe and accepted in the Muggle Quiddich world are awesome people too, as both sports are niche sports in which people who don’t fit in the conformist sports find strength and courage to be themselves.

    2 – My first training
    My first training was an introduction to roller skating and it even was fun, although sticky skating backwards was a little bit off the mark for me. With the duo’s I guided a trainster and she told me I got a need for skate speed. Learning to ice skate in a track more or less the same dimensions as the derby track helped me to pick up some forward speed.

    3 – Five butt flips in one training (and a sixth off-track)
    That was tough, it hit me mentally hard as the first one was from the dressing room to the track …. and the last one was in public *blush*. However, strapping on skates three times that week after falling just to get over and set a goal of not falling (and nailed that) was all I need to continue skating, I just had to find balance on one skate or changing from one skate to the other.

    4 – Meeting some amazing, wonderful, strong, empathic and sportive people on the planet
    No need for further explanation wink-emoticon I admire one of our skaters who trains between her cocktails of chemotherapy and another skater is coaching me I’m doing OK, showing progress over the last training and that it isn’t necessary to nail skills on a first time right basis. Sportive because once the game is over people cheer, clap, make tunnels of love, handslap and hug for the skills shown by the opponent.

    5 – 27/5
    My first was 15/5 and my second one was 17/5. Here I’d tried to focus on staying in the inner lane, putting some pressure on my legs and tried to keep the corners with pushing one leg harder than the other. The second 27/5 I became more intelligent and secure balance wise after the 27/5 (as I did crossovers after some balance trainng more or less out of the blue). My goal for the next (the 3rd) 27/5 is to tip the 20 mark as I now feel safe to do cross-overs. Can you imagine I felt proud at myself as I am capable of doing things I couldn’t imagine before?

    6 – Training extra on my own doesn’t feel like punishment
    Sometimes I can’t even wait, or I’m feeling down because of the rain, to strap on some quad skates and “hit the gas” to master skills that didn’t work in training.


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