There’s a million stories out there on the internet about rollerderby.
They range from technical stuff telling you what the game is, how to play, rules etc, through to the sensationalised bigoted reports that make out that it’s violent, aggressive, stereotypically butch and altogether bad and dangerous. Yeah, whatever people!
Then there’s the more personal touch where girls just like you and me talk about their own experience with derby and how it has changed their life in so many ways. That’s the stuff I like to read. Because rollerderby is huge. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world and it has touched the lives of so many people in the process.
First and foremost, rollerderby is fun!
Who can resist putting on the skates you loved when you were growing up and getting back out there and feeling the wind in your hair and the speed, effortless speed as you go around and around… then add into that being able to hit people, block people, dodge people and you’ve got the ultimate sport!
It’s hard work. Training til you’re ready to drop, pushing yourself just that little bit harder to be that little bit better. Getting knocked down over and over again, but getting up each time and getting straight back into it, because that’s what it’s all about.
Behind the sport is the girls, the guys and the whole community.
That’s probably one of the biggest drawcards after the actual skating part!
Rollerderby seems to attract all those women who didn’t quite fit in to traditional sports.
It’s an amazing family to belong to, a worldwide sisterhood where you can find like-minded people wherever you go. Don’t get me wrong, there’s all the usual bitchiness you find in any group of women and then some, but there’s something that holds it all together despite the internal politics. A friend once commented that whoever invented derby must’ve been insane – who on earth would invent a team sport for strong-minded independent women?? But somehow, it works.
The derby community may look scary and different with lots of tattoos, piercings, bright coloured hair, out there clothes, black black, more black, etc etc, but they’re the most loving, generous and truly accepting people in the world. They accept you for who you are, there’s no pressure to be anything other than yourself. Sometimes there’s issues between individuals, but on the whole, you can walk into a derby league on the other side of the world, put on your skates and train with them, and know that they won’t question you, just accept that you’re a derby girl just like them.
For myself, rollerderby has played a huge part in the last few years of my life.
I started derby in September 2009 and just loved it.
Along with finally getting a bit of fitness back (after four kids, I needed that, lol!) it was an opportunity to get to do something for me. For two nights a week, I could forget about being mum and just get out there and be me.
It helped me to rediscover who I am.
Reminded me that I didn’t need to put up with the bullshit of people trying to make me into something I’m not.
That I didn’t need to take on someone else’s problems as my own.
Gave me the confidence to stand up and say I’m not going to put up with this shit any more.
So many of the people I met along the way have stood by me and have been there as everything has fallen apart. They’ve helped me to stand tall and proud despite all the difficulties and picked me up and kept me going every time I felt like I just wanted to give up and stay down. Even when I’ve been offskates for the last eight months, the derby community has been there behind me. I’m itching to be back out there on the track again!
There’s probably thousands of stories out there just like mine.
There’s probably any number of things other than rollerderby that have been the catalyst for other people.
But this is my story
and for me, rollerderby gave me back myself
and no matter what else happens, I’m truly thankful for that.