When I reflect upon my two and a half seasons in derby, there have been highs and lows. We’ve won games with wide margins, we’ve hosted successful tournaments, we’ve even road-tripped with 15 league members in a van for seven hours with no loss of life. But on the other hand, we’ve said goodbye to teammates we love and once we saw someone’s leg bone snap right through their skin.
My first season, the team was pretty new, a mix of a few vets and a lot of freshies, and we lost every bout. Last season, our A team won half its games. (YAY!) We’ve seen each other struggle to hold the opposing jammer and we’ve cheered loudly when our jammer jumped the apex.
My life has had its highs and lows, too. I joined derby almost three years ago, needing to make new friends and develop a hobby outside of work and grad school. I was married, had just bought a house, and adopted a new best friend, my dog Bailey.
I quickly made new friends and learned to challenge myself both physically and mentally.
Physically, I needed to skate faster, hit harder. Mentally, I had to push myself and not compare my performance to anyone else’s.
There were many practices I found myself thinking, “Oh, I suck!” Like many of us, I was harder on myself than anyone else was. When tryouts came my first season, I was nervous to learn what team I would make. Getting the email that said I would be a blocker on the Triple Deck-Hers, WoRD’s A Team, was one of the greatest, most glorious days.
In August of 2017, I decided to separate from my husband. We made the decision on a seven hour plane ride on our way to a vacation in Europe. We decided we had fun as friends, but weren’t right for each other as a couple. We still enjoyed our vacation, but then reality hit when we got back home: I started dating and my ex didn’t take it well.
This was a low time for me. Bailey and I were alone in our house, my ex was angry and confrontational, but I knew I still had derby to look forward to every week. I had my friends to laugh with; I had a place where I could only focus on myself. Skate faster, hit harder.
My teammates were always there for me. They were (and are) always supportive of me, both on and off the track. We are supportive of each other. We’ve seen each other go through highs and lows, and we’ve gone through highs and lows together.
That’s what roller derby is: it’s highs and lows, it’s friendship, it’s support and advice and camaraderie. Worcester Roller Derby is my family and it’s the highest of highs.