One of my lifelong dreams has always been to be a roller derby girl. I will admit, the first thing that attracted me to this sport was how tough and sexy these women looked. When I was little I pretty much roller skated everywhere I could. This might have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was in 6th grade, but that’s a whole other story. When my family left Oregon and moved to Maine I stopped roller skating. Mainly because it is really hard to skate down a gravel road. There is a serious lack of pavement and sidewalks in rural Maine, for those of you wondering.
About a month ago I discovered that some of Maine’s retired derby skaters have started a program called Derby Lite. Derby Lite is a ten week course that helps women develop the skills necessary to play derby. It is advertised as “roller derby for women old enough to know better.” They had an open house in August where you could come and watch a practice and see what it was all about. So, on a whim, I went. Women of all ages and all sizes showed up. As I watched them putting on their protective pads and lacing up their skates, I knew. I could just feel it. This was the start of something amazing. So I signed up.
I am three weeks into Derby Lite and I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is. It is a full body workout. Believe me when I say this. I leave there soaked in sweat and feeling like the most bad ass woman in the world. The very first lesson we had was on how to fall correctly (did you know there was a correct way to fall? well, there is. knees first, if you were wondering) and how to get up from a fall and keep on skating. Not to sound cliche, but there was a definite deeper lesson there. Sometimes we fall on our faces, but the important thing is to recover quickly and keep on skating and kicking ass all over the place. There is so much empowerment in it. It’s not just about striped socks and witty names, although that helps. It is about being a stronger, tougher me. So, even though it has been over 30 years (holy shit, 30 years?!) since I cruised around my neighborhood on my white skates with pom poms, I am skating again and I am loving it. This journey has only just begun.