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41 weeks ago, I started volunteering for the DC Rollergirls (I know this not because I am an overly obsessed fan, but because I took a selfie at the bout and posted it on Instagram. At tthe top of the photo it says “41 weeks ago” or something like that… so don’t judge me.) As I watched my first DCRG derby bout, I thought to myself, “There’s no fucking way I’m doing this.” And when I did think about doing it, it was kind of a big joke. I would laugh at myself, and daydream a little about being a rollergirl, but mostly I just had fun painting little kids’ faces at the bouts and watching the real rollergirls kick each others asses.

Then something happened. I wish I could say that my love and need for roller derby happened because I am such a badass, but that’s just not the way it went down. It all happened because I was feeling weak in many different aspects of my life,  and I needed something to take my mind off of everything. I didn’t think it would take over my life the way it has, and I never expected to become so emotionally invested.

So here I am, 41 weeks later, and I am honestly in awe of myself. Even if this next level of DCRG is the end of the road, I am impressed and proud and I’ve changed in ways that are kinda remarkable. I’m giving myself a pat on the back.

During tryouts this past Sunday, some kick-ass derby goddess possessed my spirit and I did ALL THE THINGS. All of ’em, dammit. I was jumping over shit, taking hits, giving hits, pushing bitches, doing rock star slides, 180s and 360s, plowing like a mutha. I was so calm – it was nothing like my level 2 assessments the previous month. I still remember one of the Rollergirls telling me to breathe, you got this, calm down. I internalized her words and the words of all the other Rollergirls who were awesome enough to give me advice, and it worked.

When it came time for my 27-in-5, I took off like lightning and promptly wiped the fuck out while going around the apex on my first lap. I felt like I rolled around in anguish for a full 30 seconds. I heard a big loud “Ohhhhh shit” come from someone – this could have been me. I hopped up and hauled ass so fast, I literally felt and heard wind whistling in my ears. Finished in 4:57.

Then they did the first cut. One of my closest derby friends didn’t make it, and I felt like crying a bit. She was one of the women who I first started volunteering with those long 41 weeks ago, which seems like almost a lifetime away. I kind of couldn’t believe it, but in the next moment we were lining up on the track for Part II of tryouts – pack skating and contact.

This part blew by, and all I know is that I tried my best. I even jammed, and they actually told me I did a good job! I really love jamming, it reminds me of playing hide-and-seek when I was younger. I literally skate super low to the ground, so low that the opposing team couldn’t see me coming up behind them. I even heard their pivot saying “When the jammer comes around, wall up and blah blah blah.” By the time she finished her sentence I was skating past all of ’em. I felt really bad-ass 🙂

After tryouts were over, it was an excruciating wait until the next day when they alerted us to the tryout results. I’m still moving into my new place, but quickly realized I was too sore to do anything. I had a grand total of 2 bruises, a busted lip, and a 2 1/2 inch skate wheel abrasion of some sort on my right shin – not to mention all my aching muscles. I could barely walk or move my arms, but I just stretched a whole lot and this eventually subsided.

I got my email the next morning saying that I made it, and I’ve been invited to practice with the league for a few weeks, during which I’ll have interviews with the 4 groups of team captains (Majority Whips, Cherry Blossom Bombshells, Scare Force One, and DC Demoncats) and take a rules test.

I observed my first practice last night, and it was really intense. They scrimmaged against one another… there were 3 times when everyone had to take a knee because someone got knocked down hard. This is terrifying – I have never been injured in my life.

This Friday will be the first DC Rollergirls practice I participate in. It’s something called an “endurance” practice. I don’t know what the fuck this means, but I’m sure it has something to do with kicking my ass. Until next time…

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