Okay I have to take a break from the regularly scheduled griping about learning how to play roller derby to mention ….
… That Oni Press‘s Derby Anthology, JAM! is out in stores today!!! Woop woop! Written by rollergirls, drawn by comickers, it’s the perfect blend of everything … well, that I’ve ever wanted!
Comic lovers – Get out there and hug a derby girl!
Derby girls – We’ve conquered another media outlet!
I have a l’il eight page story in the book about when I was first learning how to skate … (which was seriously not that long ago … we’re talking end of 2008 – eek!) It’s crazy to think how much has happened since then. Rest assured I still feel awkward, still make shrill bird noises when I fall, and still wonder what the hell I think I’m doing out there. But now I feel a part of this world and no longer on my tippy toes, craning to get a look inside. Yay!
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So when you join a roller derby league, it is required that you participate in one of the many roller derby committees. These committees range in scope from governance of the league, to bout production, to merchandise, to grievance, etc. etc. By participating, every skater takes an active role in the development of the league, and the league becomes truly skater owned and operated.
So this is awesome. What is not awesome, is spending a huge amount of your free time and skipping practices in order to do said work on the committee. It takes a shit-ton of work to make a roller derby league run like a well-oiled machine. And considering that the skaters on the league vary from full-time students holding down part-time jobs to working mothers with multiple jobs, it’s a wonder any of us have time to play derby in general. So when you add in all the practicing, running and skating in bouts, making appearances at local events … it starts to add up.
And I’m pretty bad at time management (apparently). I want to do everything all of the time. I don’t want to miss out on anything. I want to be able to do all the things I enjoy doing, and help out wherever I can. Is that so unreasonable? Unfortunately, this has been WAY easier said than done and now I’m struggling. Luckily we have a wave of super awesome fresh meat coming in, and their enthusiasm can help replenish the vets and the not-so-vets (like me – not even been in derby a year yet) from feeling so overwhelmed and burnt out.
I hope so anyway. Woof.
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A couple weeks ago my derby life came full circle — I got to volunteer at tryouts for the new crop of fresh meat. It was surreal – 9 months ago I was on the other side of the fence, sweating and feeling overheated in my helmet and vomitous in my stomach. Every drill instantly put me out of breath because I was so nervous. The drill I dreaded most — the 23 laps in 5 minutes, pass or fail — luckily was the second thing we did. After that, and after the blessed rollergirl counting my laps told me I’d passed, I could enjoy the rest of the tryouts with minimal vomitousness.
Revisiting tryouts AS a rollergirl was incredibly validating. Not only did I finally feel like I’d improved, but I knew it was possible for each and every one of these girls to one day make it as a rollergirl. They might not realize it yet, but I did. I loved seeing how nervous and excited they all were and how hard they were willing to try. This time around we got a HUGE number of girls who were interested, and a large percentage of them made the league. I’ve been to a couple practices with the freshies and been appointed a big sis to one of them. Plus, a good friend of mine has recently nabbed an interest in derby and is following along in very similar footsteps as I did to get ready to play.
Derby is everywhere. More and more women are getting interested in it. We’ll take over the worrrrrlllllddd!
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