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In November 2012, I went to my first live roller derby bout.

It was exciting. Thrilling. Sexy. Feminine and aggressive. Rugged, cute, angry-angsty fun. I fell in love immediately, and decided right then that I would play this “roller derby” and I would play it soon. I went to the skating rink soon after, and I haven’t looked back since.

Fast forward 8 months later, and I’m getting ready for my first roller derby boot camp and tryouts. Boot camp is where all the new girls go to learn the basics of roller derby – skating & blocking skills, the rules, strategy, etc. We also get to bond and all that good stuff.

Since I first entered the roller derby community as a volunteer last year, my excitement about the lifestyle of a derby girl has calmed down a lot. I think I figured as soon as I strapped on skates I would make all these new friends in my new city, and we would go skating around the streets together or something like that. What I found was that roller derby is somewhat of a private community like any other sub-culture, and it’s hard to break in from the outside. I’ve been to plenty of derby events where I’m standing alone in a corner. I have no idea how to enter that circle other than trying out, and I’m notoriously bad at kissing ass (I usually end up kicking it instead – boom) so I usually end up leaving after 10 minutes.

But I can’t lie… I think derby girls are amazing. I’ve always wanted to belong to something like a sports team, but never felt the passion to pursue anything until now. I have heard that tryouts will be incredibly competitive, with about 40-60 girls competing for about 10-15 spots. I know that I’ve put in hard work for months, and I’ve attacked derby with the quiet passion that only comes from taking something very, very seriously. I hope it shows throughout the 13-week camp and tryouts.

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