My bff had been a fan of roller derby in Detroit for years. She would talk about their amusing monikers, their outfits, and their amazing plays. I smiled and nodded as a good friend (who knows nothing about it) would. One day, this friend got married, and by some extreme fortune and sweet-talking, the Detroit Derby Girls were kind enough to perform the wedding ceremony and a scrimmage for her reception. I was…enthralled. They looked so happy and comfortable. They were amazingly fast and fit in ways I could not comprehend.
I spent time skating when I was growing up. In fact, during my senior year of high school we went almost every weekend to the rink just for something to do. I wasn’t a great skater, but I enjoyed it. The Detroit Derby Girls talked to the wedding guests about joining and practicing with them. It was something I wanted, but could not imagine driving an hour each way several times a week to do it. Plus, I hadn’t skated in about 15 years….Surely, I would have too much to learn.
Almost a year passed when this friend said “They are forming in a league in Brighton. We should go to the informational meeting.” I laughed at her. Me? Play roller derby? I can’t do that. I was always the last kid picked in gym class. I had never been on a sports team. I couldn’t do a sit up to save my life. I am not tough enough to play roller derby. I don’t even get along with other women, for the most part! Would I have time to practice twice a week or more? I have a husband, and a daughter, and a job, and the list went on and on…But I talked to some other friends about it and they said “You should do it!”
I guess those few positive comments were all I needed. It has now been fifteen months since I attended the very first practice with the league that was to become the Brighton Roller Dollz. It has been the most amazing year of my life, filled with trials and tribulations. I have pushed myself to limits that I never knew I could reach. I have skated through pain, bad days, stuffy noses, and mental anguish. When I’m not skating, I am wishing that I was on my wheels. I was literally like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for my first (and my second) pair of skates. I’m always looking for another bout to watch. I have spent countless hours outside of practice trying to master skating skills, and I still have far to go. My evenings and weekends are busier than ever. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love my Dollz, I love the sport, I love skating. There’s a song out there called “Roller Derby Saved My Soul” and for me, it’s true. The best decision I have ever made for myself was to become a part of this team.