Thinking about what to put in my draft packet statement led me to write this, and it sums up a lot of why derby has become such a big deal for me, over the past year. I could go on for pages and pages about how derby has changed me, and about my life and my history prior to it, but I think it’s already bordering on TL;DR territory, so I’ll just leave it at this. 😉
I think a lot of people who know me expected that roller derby would be an easy thing for me to take on, in the beginning. I did martial arts for over 6 years before joining RCR, so it seemed like I had advantages going in, but that wasn’t enough to make being on wheels “easy.” In fact, derby has easily been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in my life.
What a lot of people don’t know is that, before the winter of 2003, I’d gotten up past 230+ lbs., and I’d been mediocre-at-best at anything athletic even when I was smaller. I wasn’t even that good at kung fu while I was doing it, but I got in shape, and did things I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. I didn’t take myself seriously as an athlete, though, and I think I was almost afraid to aim for First Place. I just didn’t believe that was possible for me.
I never expected derby to become such a big deal to me when I joined Wreckers in the summer of 2010, but when I made it onto Fresh Meat, things got serious, and much, much harder. There was no shortage of physical challenges during those first few months on Fresh Meat, and I had a lot of hard, painful, and demoralizing days, but something kept me coming back. I’m happy that I did, because derby has changed my perspectives about myself and the world around me, more than I ever thought possible in such a short time.
Derby didn’t just give me challenges to overcome, it also gave me the resources and opportunities I needed to overcome them. Derby came with a community of people that gives a shit about the sport and about the people in it. Derby has gotten me to stop stressing out about pounds and inches, and focus on what my body can physically do. Derby has taught me that I really can accomplish anything. Derby taught me how to look at what I want, say Yes, and go after it.
I don’t know what my derby future holds, but I do know that I’m having a great time playing this game, and I’m excited to keep learning, doing, and becoming more. I feel like anything and everything is possible, not just in derby, but in the whole of my life. That’s a pretty damned awesome feeling.