This time last year I made a decision that changed my life. I joined a roller derby team.
A few years back, I was doing some light research for a graphic design project I was working when I stumbled across pictures of the Charlotte Roller Girls, and I fell in love. I immediately looked into what it would take to join them, but quickly realized there was a big problem: I couldn’t skate, and practices would have been an hour and a half round trip. So, this new hobby was pretty much out of the question then.
See, not only was the drive time an issue, but both my husband and I were volunteering with our church’s high school ministry. And that requires a lot of time, and days of the week need to be available in order to just hang out with students. I was not able to commit then to the amount of time derby would take out of my life.
But last April I found out a new team had recently formed, and they were much closer to me! The night I found out, I messaged them on Facebook, and was watching one of their practices later that week. And within about another week I was trying my best to stay upright on my new eight wheels.
G*Force was great! They welcomed me with open arms, even though I hadn’t skated since about elementary school and I didn’t know any of the rules. That’s why I love these ladies (and fellas) so much. There is almost an instant bond between skaters, a new family. Sometimes skaters from other teams will even visit as they travel for work, and they’re welcomed right in. We all come from different walks of life, different beliefs, different values, yet on the track those don’t matter and we are one.
I knew I needed derby in my life when I realized I had formed a little comfort bubble around myself. We had moved to the south in 2008, shortly after that I began working for the church we also attend. Our outside hobbies were…volunteering in the student ministry. I didn’t grow up here, I didn’t go to school here, I didn’t have a “corporate” job here, all the people I had met so far went to the same church as me. I needed to expand my sphere of friendships.
Another big reason I decided to dive right into derby was the fact that I needed a distraction from all the infertility junk that was going on. It was my place to kind of get away from thinking, worrying, and stressing about all of that.
Which is why it’s so frustrating right now. Because of infertility treatments, my doctor said that I can’t do roller derby right now. He said it’d be best not to scramble my eggs. I hate it when people tell me I can’t do something, especially when those things are helping me stay sane.
I haven’t been able to skate since the beginning of the year, but my derby family is still there supporting me. Mainly, I feel left out, because I can’t be there to skate, and I miss my new friends. I feel like I’m falling farther and farther behind in my skills as they keep getting better and better, and I’m staying stagnant (if not getting worse). Most of the skaters that I’ve really connected with have been fabulous at keeping in touch with me. And since I help with the graphic design team and help NSO (a non-skating official) at home bouts, I still feel like part of the team. And I’m thankful for that. But I miss skating, and I miss hitting girls.