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A few things you should know about derby girls...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

About eleven months ago I got a full-on introduction to roller derby, when I decided (quite spontaneously) to join the Sulphur City Steamrollers freshmeat training program. I was new to the continent and looking to try something different.

Despite the longstanding affection I held for Bliss Cavendar (and her Whip It cohorts)... I didn't really know much about derby or the women that make it cool. And like me, most of the people that read this blog (hi mom & dad), are relatively uneducated in the ways of derby. So let me tell you a few things that may surprise you about derby girls.

Number one: Derby girls are organized and professional
Our derby team is run more efficiently than almost any organization I have been a part of. This was perhaps the biggest shocker.
I don't know what I was expecting... but it certainly wasn't organization and professionalism. As it turns out, the ability to hit other women to the ground is just one component in the equation, when it comes to a successful derby league.

I planned events for several years at the University of Texas Medical Branch... and let me just say, (from my semi professional and super bias perspective) Slam Rock 2014 was a stellar event. Here is an abridged list to give you an idea of the time and energy that goes into putting on a bout... get a vision, pick a theme, recruit an opponent, reserve a venue, apply for funding, get uniforms, find raffel prizes, design poster art and programs, PUT POSTERS EVERYWHERE AND TALK TO MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, do interviews, take photos, sell tickets, coordinate lots and lots of volunteers, organize a half time show, sell merch, find an MC, secure refs, first aid and non skating officials... feed everyone during the event, set up VIP tables, tape the floor, man the lights, bring the gear... and then, after all of these details are taken care - gear up and skate your heart out.

This event was made possible by the extensive volunteer hours and creative leadership abilities of a handful of derby chicks that sit on our leadership committee (of which I am not a part... making this blog boast all the more acceptable) AND the generous community support they garnered from individuals and local businesses. 

Number two: Derby girls are loyal
Do not pick a fight with a derby girl. She may not seem tough on her own merits... but you can "bet your bottom teeth" she comes with a pack of wolves that will "mess you up" if you get out of line. I am sort of kidding... but not really. Derby girls are about as loyal as they come. Even though there are a lot of collective differences among us - we love each other dearly. It has been a pleasure joining a sisterhood of remarkably tough women.

Number three : Derby girls are even tougher than you think
The current series at our church is "Small Things Big Difference" (yep, you heard me right... I play derby and pay attention in church). Derby girls understand this truth in an immediate and necessary way. If we don't perfect our derby stance, strengthen our muscles, work on our endurance, practice our stops... come game day, we might have the pleasure of visiting the local hospital.

It is commonly said in derby circles that "anyone can play, as long as they are willing to work hard and keep at it." I am not sure I would believe this statement with such vigor, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. One of the loveliest girls on our team started freshmeat training with me... on the first day, she could barley stand on her skates. Every single week she came back and did her best... and guess what (two weeks before our first bout) she completed the last component of her WFTDA minimum skills requirements by skating 27 laps in under 5 minutes. It was awesome.

Derby girls are tougher than you think... not because they smash people on game day.
They are tough because they know that good things take tenacity and hard work.

Photo credit goes to Kelly Jane Photography
Number four: Derby girls are team players
No one in their right mind wants to be a one-man show in derby. It just isn't smart. We need each other for protection, communication, and moral support. A showboat skater can mess things up for everyone.

It has been an honor and unexpected delight to be part of a team again... especially this one. Three cheers for the undefeated, remarkably attractive, highly organized, and surprisingly witty Sulphur City Steam Rollers. Go team! 

Photo credit goes to Kelly Jane Photography

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