Before I talk about derbyCRUSHes, I have to first talk about my love affair with the addicting sport of roller derby. I know what you’re going to say… “okay, here comes the cliché reference to Whip It” Okay, yes, I am going to refer to Whip It, but only to let you know that I didn’t think much about the movie until after I discovered the game for myself. In all honesty, finding roller derby was a total fluke. Fortunately, the power of Facebook combined with the strong desire to get out of the house during a visit from a family member lead me to one of the major loves of my life…roller derby.
It was around 6:30 PM when I jumped on Facebook, which was an avoidance technique at that moment, and noticed a post by someone I went to high school with years ago. The Facebook cupids really did their job that night, as the mention of a local roller derby recruitment meeting by someone who probably didn’t really even know who I was in high school, popped up in my newsfeed. I remember making a split decision at 6:35 PM to hop in my minivan and head to a warehouse in Longview’s industrial area to hear about this thing called roller derby.
As I walked into the dark warehouse, I stumbled out of my comfort zone and into an intimidating land of unknowns. Oh wait, everything wasn’t completely unknown, as I immediately recognized two of my students (high school English teacher). They were skating around in short shorts and fishnets while I awkwardly walked in wearing zero tattoos and black velour track pants ala J.Lo (I had recently lost 50 pounds –hence my derby number–and apparently thought I could pull them off). I panicked a little inside, as I asked myself, “WTF?” Regardless of the annoying feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb, I found a seat and sat through the presentation. I took my Fresh Meat packet home and read through the entire thing a couple of times.
It was a few weeks before I ordered my GT-50 Rookie package from Roller Girl Skates and another two weeks before I received a giant box of unfamiliar gear that would represent an unexpected future. Once I received these foreign objects I wasted no time in putting them to use. I recall testing the skates out in my family room and realizing that some 11 year-old Skate World skills still remained in my thirty-something year-old body. In an attempt to justify making my next move, I began repeatedly asking my husband if I should go to practice that night, as I was now aware that showing up to a practice…with gear in my hand would feel more like skydiving out of my comfort zone this time. After asking again and again in an attempt to be convinced of something I knew was inevitable, I hopped in the swagger wagon with my shiny new gear and drove once again to the mysterious warehouse deemed the Taco Shop, the birthplace of my love affair with a sport that would shatter all previous expectations for my life.