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Crazy Little Thing Called Derby

I like doing things. I could make a list, but I’ve tried that before and it ends up growing quite large, random and incriminating.

Back in August, I mentioned a rapidly growing, very authentic and awesome sport called Roller Derby. My girlfriend had been practicing with them all summer and when I started, I was very excited. Despite not being able to actually play, since the sport consists mainly of women’s leagues, getting to skate six hours a week with a highly organized group of athletes seemed like a great opportunity and a lot of fun.

Three months later, it’s even better than I thought it would be. The girls aren’t just skilled (and they are, finishing their season 8-1), they’re dedicated and are some of the most capable people I’ve met. Regardless of their day jobs (no paid athletes here), they give it 110% at practice and come game time, there’s nothing that can stop them.

The amount of skill it takes to play derby consistently amazes me. I’m not saying that all athletes don’t work hard and push themselves to be great, but derby is one of the few sports I’ve seen that has a minimum skills requirement before you can even try out for the team, just so you don’t hurt yourself trying to play. All sports (well, mostly) take an incredible amount of endurance, but few people have ended up with broken bones because they didn’t practice their basketball skills enough before joining the rec league. And that’s what would happen if a group of untrained people decided to strap on some skates and play derby, assuming they could even skate in the right direction (it’s harder than it sounds!)

I’ve found something special. First, skating by itself is ridiculously more fun than it has any right to be. If you’re at all like me, it’s what you did maybe once a year before you were 12 and then not at all (which is a shame, because I’d be phenomenal by now if I’d started back then). But beyond the skating or any activity, it’s the people. The Betties (and refs!) are an amazing group of people, and I’ve learned that if you don’t like the people, you won’t like being there. I know I’m not always the easiest person to get along with. I’ve made it a point to often not care what others think about me on a personal level, which causes undue friction at times. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people and I hope that they kick my ass if I start becoming a pain. And I think they will.

So while I work on learning the rules letter perfect so I can referee, I show up to every practice I can and work on my skate skills. And although I don’t come close to measuring up with them (yet!), there’s no comparison to when I started just a few months ago. The ridiculous amount of wear on my gear shows the effort I give it and realizing how much more I can learn will always keep me coming back.

Posted in Personal, Roller Derby.

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