Back in May, I joined Roller Derby.
I’m still not sure exactly how it happened. I was with Wendy and Rob at an art gallery that had photographs from a bout, and we all started joking that I should join. The idea of creating an alter-ego and designing a whole look and persona for her is definitely something that is me. I’ve always loved being creative with costumes for Halloween, or for any other sort of theatrical productions. It was not surprising that my closest friends saw my essence in those pictures.
My first thought was that I was too old. Somebody from the league overheard that and told me that they have lots of girls older than me (which is very true). I think at that point I filed it away as a fun thing to do some day. I didn’t take it very seriously, and we didn’t really talk about it any more.
It was soon after that I discovered my recurrence and had to go back into chemo. I think there’s something about being stuck heavy limb’d and fatigued on the sofa that makes you day dream about gliding on wheels. I really started thinking about it at that point and began to research it on the internet.
I also realized I needed a therapeutic outlet. Smashing into people fits the bill for that quite nicely.
I then found a local league and joined.
I hadn’t been on quad skates since I was about twelve. It took me a good two weeks to be able to just balance. And two more to learn how to stop.
I was one of the slower, less skilled of the new girls, but there were others far worse off than me.
Then I had my medical issues and had to miss about a month of practices. I still came to watch so that I knew what they were doing, but I didn’t get to try it myself.
So yesterday I felt really out of it when I tried to keep up with their drills. Everybody was talking about how later that day would be our first practice on the obstacle course that is part of the test we need to pass before we can be drafted to teams. I debated whether to even do it. I literally had not been on skates for a month and had barely gotten comfortable on them before that. I had all but resigned myself to the idea that I was probably just going to repeat the beginners class (the Cherry Posse) in the fall.
Turns out it was the best thing I could have done. While my time was slower, I was able to do everything, and even did things better than several of the other skaters. That was exactly the confidence booster I needed. Speed is just practice. I can totally do that, and now I think I’m still a contender for passing this test next month.