I know, I know, I know... I'm all about the derbs lately. But there is a reason!! You guys (girls) really!! You need to watch, join, volunteer, get in and around Roller Derby because there is absolutely nothing like it. Every day I read more and more stories about women who found Roller Derby, and through it they found confidence, an outlet, their voice, peace, not to mention a group of women who accept each other just as they are. We joke that Roller Derby is cheaper than therapy, but I'm fairly sure most of us aren't actually joking. Because it isn't cheap. But also, it really is as good or better than therapy.
I think it's pretty funny that I have felt such a transformation before I have even passed my minimum skills test. And that's the thing, it's not about achieving greatness. It is all about finding the strength within yourself to take risks, endure pain, get back up, and keep working. Its about women encouraging women. Its even about men encouraging women. Our league is surrounded by husbands, friends etc who are men. And you know how I know they are strong men? Because they truly dig seeing women succeeding and being strong, athletic, bad-ass beasts.
I think that many times we feel emotional pain, and because it is different that physical pain, we begin to question our ability to tolerate it. It seems most often that these difficult times come at a time in our life when we have had a little too much space from the physical feats of our youth. We begin to forget the strength inside of ourselves. We begin to feel overwhelmed as the obstacles we face pile up, and without confidence in our inner toughness, we start to believe that the best we can do is to ride it out.
And then something spectacular happens. We get a glimpse of a sport that sparks something deep within ourselves. Maybe we don't even know why. And for whatever reason we decide to take the leap. Maybe desperation for something in our life to call our own. Maybe boredom, angst. Maybe just that every other diet/exercise plan has failed us because it is based on work, not fueled with enjoyment. For me it was time to find something to call my own. A risk to take because I missed the thrill of doing things that scare the bejeezus out of me.
The first day you put your skates on is hard. Your lower back and thighs burn like never before. You want to give up, but when you look around, expecting to see a bunch of people who assume you are going to fail, instead there are a group of smiling women cheering you on. Telling you that they remember when they were in the exact same place. Telling you that you can do it! And no matter how hard that first practice is, you find that when you start unlacing your skates- as quickly as you can so that you can find feeling in your feet again- your heart feels light. You feel exhilaration through the exhaustion.
The next few practices you learn that you can fall and still get up. This feeling seeps into the rest of your life. You know that when you meet an obstacle, you can over come it, and that even if it knocks you down, you are strong enough to get back up.
Ahh the derbs. I have already learned so much about myself. I can't wait to see how it continues to change my life from the inside out. And maybe some day I'll even pass my skills test and be able to really compete. But for now, I'm happy busting my butt, competing with my own self, and learning how strong I can be!